- Match-up: New York Giants (0-0) vs. Detroit Lions (0-0)
- Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
- Date: Monday, 08 September 2014
- Time: 07:10pm ET
- TV: ESPN/WatchESPN
This will be the 40th time the Giants and Lions have faced off against each other with the Lions holding the overall series lead as 21-17-1. Detroit is 12-7 against the Giants at home. The last time these two teams played each other was in 2013 with the Lions losing to the Giants in overtime 23-20.
The Lions defense vs. the Giants offense. The Lions shouldn’t struggle to put up points against the Giants defense. While Jason Pierre Paul is finally healthy, this is a Giants team that lost Justin Tuck and Linval Joseph in the offseason. Therefore, it will be up to the Lions defense to shut down the Giants lackluster offense (Eli Manning threw just one touchdown in the preseason). This is a Giants team that has a lot of question marks on offense. The Giants signed Mario Manningham and Trindon Holliday in the offseason to bolster their offense, but both players will not be with the team as they were placed on injured reserve. Rookie first round pick Odell Beckham Jr. has been hampered throughout training camp and the preseason with a nagging hamstring injury and won’t play. David Wilson attempted a comeback from a severe neck injury, but was forced to retire after it became apparent that it just wasn’t safe for him to play anymore. That leaves Eli Manning with Victor Cruz and not much else. If Detroit fails to hold New York in check on offense, it could be a sign of very bad things to come for the Lions.
Players to Watch
For the Detroit Lions, Darius Slay and Tahir Whitehead will be players to watch. Slay is getting his first chance at facing off against a very solid wide receiver in Victor Cruz. This will be a good matchup to watch to see just how well Slay does against a fast and shifty wide receiver in Cruz. Tahir Whitehead will get the start in place of Kyle Van Noy, who was placed on the injured reserve with designation to return. Whitehead has played well in the preseason, so well in fact that he beat out Ashlee Palmer for the start. However, this isn’t the preseason anymore and it will be interesting to see how Whitehead plays against NFL starters instead of NFL backups.
For the Giants, Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will have to shut down Calvin Johnson and company in order to have a chance to win. Also, keep an eye on Jason Pierre-Paul as he returns from a down season last year in which he fought off nagging shoulder and back injuries. When healthy, Pierre-Paul is one of the premiere defensive ends in the league.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this at all: the Lions should win this game and win it handily. The Giants have a respectable defense, but one that Detroit should score more than enough points to win on. Meanwhile, Detroit’s defense should be able to stop a Giants offense that simply doesn’t have much to offer. And did I mention that this game is on Monday night in front of what will be a raucous Lions fan base with the town abuzz due to the Tigers and Royals playing across the street for the AL Central lead? If the Lions somehow lose this game, it will be cause for concern early on in Jim Caldwell’s tenure as Detroit Lions head coach.
Detroit Lions 35
New York Giants 14