Big Blue and Predominantly Orange will trade turkey day blows at Invesco Field this week. Both the Giants (6-4) and the Broncos are the only teams in the league to go through a four game skid and still have winning records. The only difference is the Broncos are still trying to climb out of their grave. The Giants snapped their losing streak by beating the Atlanta Falcons in a thrilling overtime game last week. This game isn’t going to be *insert pun* gravy for either team. The Broncos and Giants have showed their split personalities this season, yet both teams are in playoff contention. There isn’t a better way to recover on the couch after a large meal than by watching these two great teams duke it out in what will hopefully be a competitive game. My Prediction: Broncos 24 Giants 21
Broncos - Talk about offensive struggles. A dreadful 3 points against the Chargers can be explained by four failed trips into the red zone which included a fumble. During their losing streak, they’ve gotten into the red zone 6 times, and have only come away with a TD once. By comparison, during their first six games, they got into the red zone 19 times and found the endzone 9 times. The Broncos are now ranked 16th in rushing and 19th in passing. This is going to be an incredible test against a fierce Giants defense, specifically their pass defense. Brandon Marshall, while doing a good thing by grasping a leadership role, has got to go about it another way. Rather than yell at his teammates, he’s got to lead by example. I would focus in on the Orton-Marshall connection, and when the secondary focuses on him, spread the wealth to the other receivers. Getting an effective running game going will help balance the offense against a Giants defense that is capable of falling into a slump of their own. The Giants gave Matt Ryan and Co. three TDs in four 2nd half drives.
Giants- The Giants have been running the ball at least 30 times per game this season. Leading rusher, Brandon Jacobs, injured his leg against the Falcons, but says he’ll be ready to go on Thursday. Even if he’s not 100%, they still have Ahmad Bradshaw to help carry the load. The Giants have a balanced running attack. They don’t favor a particular side of the field which makes in hard for opposing defenses to know where to send extra help. By having an effective running game, a lot of pressure has been taken off Eli Manning in the pocket. Despite lacking a big-name receiver, the Giants’ Steve Smith is ranked 6th in the league for receiving yards, and Mario Manninham in the top 25 for receiving yards. That’s one hell of a well rounded offense. They are 7th in rushing and 8th in passing. It was the offense that bailed the Giants out of their defensive skid last Sunday, and with a Broncos defense that appears lost during this losing streak, they could surrender a lot of points to Eli and Co.
Broncos - Going up against a run heavy defense is not good news for the Broncos. The Broncos are 6-0 when opponents have run the ball under 29 times this season. When they’ve run more, they’re 0-4. That means the Broncos are going to need to put a stop to the Giants running game early on in the game. During their last four losses, the Broncos have given up at least 125 yards on the ground, and at most, 203 yards. When a team has their ground game going, it drains you physically and mentally. The defense gets tired, time is eaten off the clock, and the offense turns cold. If that’s not a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what is. Brian Dawkins says he’ll be ready to go on Thursday despite leaving in the 2nd quarter of the Chargers game. The Broncos are ranked 18th in run defense and 3rd in pass defense. The turnover margin has killed the Broncos in their 4 losses. It’s up to the defense to create turnovers like they were doing in the first half of the season.
Giants- The Giants are 2nd in defending the pass and 11th in defending the rush. That’s scary considering our offensive woes. After their defensive let down last week, you can bet the Giants will be out for blood. The Giants haven’t been playing consistent defense throughout their games, so if a let down happens, the Broncos will need to take advantage of it. The Giants have been in man-to-man match ups late in the game, which has enabled opposing offenses to beat them. If they go that route in Denver, the lack of oxygen will surely get to them late in the game, and that’s when the Broncos can break for big plays. Leading the Giants in tackles is Antonio Pierce. Terrell Thomas has 3 INTs and Kenny Phillips has 2. Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Mathias Kiwanuka are the trio of sack machines the Broncos offensive line must look out for. If they can pressure Kyle Orton, this game is theirs.
Broncos - The return game defense has been doing a great job as of late. They held Darren Sproles to a 2.0 yard average on 3 punt returns last week. Matt Prater has been connecting when he gets the chance. The good thing here is that our special teams isn’t losing games for us.
Giants- Return man Domenik Hixon can be dangerous when given a hole. Although Lawrence Tynes leads kickers in scoring, he has made just 80% of his kicks. There’s nothing too special about the Giants special teams, and let’s hope it stays that way.
Broncos - Josh McDaniels won’t be saying a word to the New York Giants on Thursday. He learned his lesson last week after telling the Chargers, “We own you” before the game. The only thing the Broncos owned was their fourth loss of the season. McD had a short week to prepare his guys, so non-focused practices weren’t an option. That could help this team break it’s streak.
Giants- Tom Coughlin’s coaching was questioned during the Giants four game skid, but the bye seemed to have helped them at least on the offensive end. Coughlin is a tough guy coach who’s won a Super Bowl. He’s got much more experience than McD, but then again, who doesn’t? He’s capable of making adjustments to the Giants’ game if the Broncos start off hot. A lead is not safe with this guy steering the ship.
Go Broncos and Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw Antonio Pierce Brandon Jacobs Brandon Marshall Brian Dawkins Denver Brocnos Domenik Hixon Eli Manning Josh Mcdaniels Justin Tuck Kenny Phillips Kyle Orton Lawrence Tynes Mario Manningham Mathias Kiwanuka Matt Prater New York Giants Osi Umenyiora Steve Smith Terrell Thomas Tom Coughlin