The slumping, injury-ravaged New York Giants face the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday in a game the Giants need to remain in the thick of the NFC playoff picture. The 6-4 Giants have lost two straight, fallen out of first place in the FC East and would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today.
A few weeks ago this game against the Jaguars at New Meadowlands Stadium looked like it might be a breather in the middle of a stretch of three games in four weeks against NFC East competition. No more. The 6-4 Jaguars have won three games to surge into a tie for the top spot in the AFC South with the Indianapolis Colts. Jacksonville has put itself in the AFC playoff race with successive victories over Dallas, Houston and Cleveland.
Just a couple of weeks ago the Giants were 6-2, riding the wave of a five-game winning streak and were thought by many to be the best team in the NFC. Now, they have lost two division games in a row, have seen their offense decimated by injuries and are fighting to stay in the playoff race.
The Giants will be missing starting wide receivers Steve Smith (partially torn pectoral muscle) and Hakeem Nicks (Compartment Syndrome in his leg). Backup wide receivers Ramses Barden, Victor Cruz and Domenik Hixon are on IR. The Giants will start Mario Manningham and Derek Hagan at receiver. Hagan was just signed a week ago. Michael Clayton, just added to the Giants' roster today, could well be the third wide receiver on Sunday.
The Giants are likely to be missing starting offensive lineman Shaun O'Hara and David Diehl, as well. Neither has played for several weeks, and while Diehl planned to try doing some running today to test his injured hamstring his status is uncertain at best.
Still, statistically, this game would seem to favor the Giants. The Giants, third in the league at 389.6 yards per game, will try to take advantage of a Jacksonville defense ranked 27th in the league in yards allowed per game.
Jacksonville summary stats:
Team Stats - Game Averages
|Off||22.0||335.6 (20th)||200.3 (25th)||135.3 (6th)|
|Def||27.0||376.8 (27th)||264.6 (28th)||112.2 (19th)|
Giants summary stats:
Team Stats - Game Averages
|Off||25.3||389.6 (3rd)||251.3 (7th)||138.3 (5th)|
|Def||22.0||282.4 (2nd)||192.9 (3rd)||89.5 (4th)|
Jacksonville's offense is led by quarterback David Garrard and star running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
|2010 - David Garrard||9||98.5||145||214||67.8||1694||188.2||7.9||17||10||35||140||15.6||4||2||21||151|
|2010 - Maurice Jones-Drew||10||209||878||87.8||4.2||24||4||24||263||26.3||11||75||2|
Both teams have been turnover-prone. The Giants are -8 in takeaways/giveaways, 28th in the league, and Jacksonville has been even worse, 31st in the league at -11.