(Sports Network) - While the defense has gotten most of the headlines during New York’s two-game win streak, the offense came through with its best showing of the season in last week’s shellacking of the Texans. The Giants scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions to build a comfortable 21-0 lead and got a sharp effort from Eli Manning (1302 passing yards, 8 TD, 8 INT), with the highly-paid quarterback completing 27-of-42 throws for 297 yards and connecting on three scoring strikes. Second-year wideout Hakeem Nicks (33 receptions, 409 yards) enjoyed his best day as a pro, establishing career bests with 12 catches and 130 yards against a beleaguered Houston secondary and hauling in a pair of touchdowns, giving him six in five games this year. Pro Bowler Steve Smith (28 receptions, 1 TD) gives Manning a reliable target on the opposite side of Nicks, with third receiver Mario Manningham (14 receptions, 1 TD) providing a deep threat despite being held without a catch over the past two contests. New York has displayed good balance as well, with the hard-nosed Ahmad Bradshaw (449 rushing yards, 3 TD, 12 receptions) ranking second in the NFC in rushing yards as the featured back and former starter Brandon Jacobs (172 rushing yards, 2 TD, 4 receptions) averaging nearly five yards per carry as a physical complement. The offense has been sloppy at times, however, as the Giants have committed 15 giveaways in their five games and Manning has been picked off eight times already this season.
Look for the Giants to try to establish the run against a Detroit stop unit that’s given up unhealthy averages of 133.2 yards per game on the ground (26th overall) and 4.8 yards per rush for the year and allowed three individual backs to surpass the 100-yard barrier. The Lions have had major issues at linebacker, with sophomore DeAndre Levy — the intended regular in the middle — having sat out all but one game with a lingering groin injury and veteran strongside starter Julian Peterson (29 tackles, 1 sack) having been benched by Schwartz at one point earlier in the season. It’s doubtful that Levy will be available for this week’s test as well, and backup Landon Johnson’s (14 tackles) status is also in question after he incurred a concussion against the Rams. Detroit’s rebuilt defense has done some good things, however, with rookie tackle Ndamukong Suh (18 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT) and high-motor end Kyle Vanden Bosch (22 tackles, 1.5 sacks) leading a strong pass rush that’s generated 14 sacks so far and Alphonso Smith (16 tackles, 3 INT, 3 PD) playing at a high level since being inserted as a starter at cornerback. The ex-Denver washout has garnered an interception in three consecutive games.