Giants vs. Saints: Three key matchups in Sunday's game

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

A look at some of the key matchups Sunday between the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints.

The New York Giants face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at MetLife Stadium in a meeting between two teams with high-scoring offenses. Here are some keys to the game:

Giants' defense vs. Saints' offense?

The last two times the teams played, New Orleans zipped through the Giants' defense like it wasn't even there. Last season the Saints laid a 49-24 beating on the Giants. In 2009, New Orleans dropped a similar 48-17 whooping on the Giants, who entered that game 5-0. That began a tailspin that saw the Giants end up 8-8 and missing the playoffs. That, in case you don't want to do the math, is 97 points in two games.

Drew Brees passed for 363 yards and four touchdowns in that game, and ran for another. Mark Ingram averaged 6.2 yards per carry and the Saints totaled 577 yards of offense. At one point in that game New Orleans got touchdowns on four straight possessions, including drives of 73, 80 and 88 yards.New Orleans had six drives in the game of 70 yards or more. So, yes, the defense was helpless.

Jason Pierre-Paul and his defensive teammates had better find their "dog mentality" and slow New Orleans enough to give the Giants' offense a chance to win the game.

Giants' offense vs. Steve Spagnuolo

The Giants and Saints have scored an identical 321 points this season, so on paper you would think they can. The Saints statistically have the worst defense in the NFL and the Giants need to be able to take advantage of it. They need touchdowns, not the field goals they have settled for far too often this season, and they need better field position than they had Monday against Washington, never starting a drive past their own 24-yard line.

Former Giants' defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, now running the Saints' defense, apparently has that group improving. So, how the Giants' offense fares Sunday will be interesting.

Giants' coverage teams vs. Darren Sproles and Travaris Cadet

The Saints have a pair of dangerous kickoff return men. Sproles averages 28.7 yards on 14 returns, and Cadet averages 28.8 yards on 17 returns. Sproles also handles punt-return duties, averaging 8.7 yards per return.

One of the reasons the Giants lost on Monday to the Washington Redskins was field position. They can't allow Sproles and Cadet to give the Saints the advantage there on Sunday.

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