Injured head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints watches the action against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on November 13, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
The New York Giants are in the Big Easy tonight to face the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football. The 6-4 Giants, clinging to their playoff lives, know that the task before them when they hit the field at the Mercedes Benz Superdome will be anything but easy.
The 7-3 Saints have won two straight, lead the NFC South and have a high-powered offense led by quarterback Drew Brees. The Saints are 4-0 at home this season. Let's take a quick look at exactly what the Giants are up against Monday night.
New Orleans, of course, has Brees (3,326 passing yards, 23 TD, 11 INT). The Saints rank first in in the NFL in both passing yards per game (319.4) and total yards (436.9) and standing second in points scored (31.3). The Giants were tied for the league-lead in sacks entering Week 12 with 31, but Brees has not been sacked in the last two games.
New Orleans has given Brees plenty of weapons to work with in tight end Jimmy Graham (62 receptions, 873 yards, 6 TD), wide receiver Marques Colston (42 receptions, 589 yards, 3 TD) and newcomer Darren Sproles (60 receptions, 3 TD). Sproles also leads the Saints with 348 rushing yards and shares carries with rookie Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas. The Saints are 13th in rushing with 117.5 yards per game.
The Giants have struggled all season to get their running game on track, and on paper this looks like a game where they might be able to do just that. New Orleans ranks 19th in the league against the run, surrendering 121.5 yards per game. The Saints are 31st in the league, though, in yards per carry, surrendering 5.2 per running play. The Giants have to run successfully, at least somewhat, to keep Brees off the field and keep the Superdome crowd quieted.
Safety Roman Harper (69 tackles) actually leads New Orleans with seven quarterback sacks.
Largely, this game will come down to something that was pointed out by SB Nation's Saints website, Canal Street Chronicles. CSC wrote:
"Which Giants team will show up? The one who beat a Tom Brady-led Patriots team in Foxboro to a script reminiscent of their recent Super Bowl meeting? Or will it be the team who struggled at the point of attack against the Seahawks, Rams, and Eagles?"
Well, Giants fans are wondering the same thing.