Top 3 Individual Matchups
2 – Stevie Johnson vs. Corey Webster – Johnson is feeling as good as he has in weeks with his nagging groin injury, but he’s facing New York’s best man-to-man corner in Webster. Webster doesn’t make a lot of plays on the ball, but doesn’t surrender many big plays either.
Bills Top 2 Advantages
Good advantage – 3rd down defense – Though Buffalo has been just average in stopping opponents on third down they’ve faced two of the better conversion teams in football in New England (4th) and Philadelphia (6th) the past three weeks. Against a Giants offense that’s been in a lot of third and long situations and ranks 29th in conversions, Buffalo should have the better of play in these situations.
Best advantage - Run game – The Bills say they use the pass to set up the run, but their ground attack has been very productive thus far with Buffalo averaging almost 140 yards rushing per game.
Bills Number 1 Must
Run after catch – The Giants pass rush is one of the most formidable the Bills will see this season and with a rookie left tackle getting his second career start and first in a road atmosphere Buffalo will need to rely on a quick passing attack to set up the run. The Bills have a lot of good run-after-catch receivers and getting those yards after short passes will be critical to sustaining drives as well as finishing them with points.
Run game off the rails
Giants football has long been identified by a solid rushing attack, but with Brandon Jacobs nicked up, the team’s thunder-and-lightning tandem of Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw has been lacking some punch. New York is averaging less than 84 yards a game on the ground, which ranks 28th in the league. As a team they’re averaging 3.2 yards per carry, which has led to a lot of…
3rd and longs
Part of the reason the Giants rank 23rd in time of possession (28:48) is because they’ve had trouble staying on the field on offense. All too often Eli Manning and company have been facing third and longs as was the case last week. Against Seattle the Giants offense faced 3rd-and-9 or longer six times. Only three of New York’s 15 possessions lasted more than seven plays.
The Giants had a changing of the guard up front. Gone are veteran interior linemen Rich Seubert and Shaun O’Hara. The left side of the Giants’ line has a new face at every position with William Beatty at left tackle, David Diehl moving inside to guard and free agent signee David Baas at center.
The right side remained the same with Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie, but Snee is questionable after suffering a concussion last week and Baas is coming back after missing last week’s game with a neck stinger. Diehl has struggled inside and Beatty is still learning on the job. The new group has yet to jell heading into Sunday’s game.
The Giants still have one of the most potent pass rushing defenses in all of football, but the Seattle Seahawks may have exposed them a bit. Seattle used some no huddle during the course of their Week 5 game with New York and it helped to keep the Giants from substituting in their blitz personnel packages.
Seattle was most effective with it on their seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that put the Seahawks up for good with 2:37 remaining (29-25). There are reports that Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell may have his entire defensive unit outfitted with play call wristbands to enhance communication between the players should the Bills try to employ some no huddle as well this week.
One thing the Giants have done well is hit the big play in the passing game. New York is tied for fourth in the league with 14 pass plays of 25 yards or more. At the center of those figures is emerging receiver Victor Cruz. The former street free agent had a career-high eight catches for 161 yards including a 68-yard touchdown last week. He’s averaging over 20 yards per reception this season and has five of the Giants’ 14 big pass plays, good for fourth best in the NFL.
The Giants may or may not have Justin Tuck in uniform on Sunday as he’s dealing with a groin injury that at best will keep him on a strict play count this weekend. If Tuck can’t go Jason Pierre-Paul would start at left defensive end as he has the past couple of weeks. Pierre-Paul has had his way with opposing offensive tackles registering 6.5 sacks in five games this season, and is the primary reason the Giants lead the league in sacks with 18. The long-limbed pass rusher has arguably been New York’s most consistent defensive lineman thus far.
Quote of the Week
“We just have to be aggressive on offense, that’s it. They got a good defense, they attack, they send some blitz, they got some athletic guys out there but we have to be aggressive as an offense.”
--WR Stevie Johnson
Stat of the Week
The Bills and Giants offenses are ranked first and second in red zone touchdown percentage in the NFL. The Bills lead the league with a 75 percent success rate, while the Giants lead the NFC with a touchdown scoring rate of 71.4 percent once they cross the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Milestones in reach
Fred Jackson needs 29 rushing yards to pass Wray Carlton (3,368) for fifth-most in team history.
The Bills lead the league in sacks allowed holding opposing defenses to just four through Week 5.