(Sports Network) – Though Eli Manning (1486 passing yards, 11 TD, 5 INT) had a rough day last week, he’s been good more often than not over the course of this season. The highly- scrutinized quarterback enters Sunday’s tilt third among signal-callers in yards per attempt (9.1) and fifth in passer rating (102.3), and did put up 420 yards and three touchdowns in spite of his four-turnover game against Seattle. He’ll once again be working with a talented group of receivers led by the physical Hakeem Nicks (28 receptions, 412 yards, 3 TD), who showcased his skills with a 10-catch, 162-yard output against Arizona two weeks back, while counterpart Victor Cruz (19 receptions, 386 yards, 3 TD) has also emerged as a dangerous weapon as of late. The undrafted second-year pro has notched at least 98 receiving yards in three straight games, highlighted by a career-best eight- catch, 161-yard breakthrough in the Seattle loss, and is averaging a splendid 20.3 yards per grab on the year. Tight end Jake Ballard (10 receptions, 2 TD) has made a recent contribution as well, with the massive 275-pounder hauling in a touchdown reception in two straight weeks and providing an unforeseen downfield threat. The Giants’ greatest problems on offense have been in running the football, as the team ranks just 28th in rushing yards (83.8 ypg) and is averaging a subpar 3.2 yards per carry, the second-lowest mark in the league. With noted bruiser Brandon Jacobs (116 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 3 total TD) possibly out a second consecutive game with a swollen knee, lead back Ahmad Bradshaw (286 rushing yards, 17 receptions, 3 total TD) will be called upon to handle the majority of the work on Sunday.
The Bills have given up yards in bunches this season, with the team’s last four foes all surpassing over 450 total yards, but their 30th-rated defense (421.8 ypg) has compensated by being incredibly opportunistic. Buffalo has garnered a league-best 12 interceptions, with standout strong safety George Wilson (47 tackles, 5 PD) leading the way with three picks in addition to being the club’s top tackler, and has scored a defensive touchdown in three straight tests. The secondary, which gets back veteran corner Terrence McGee from a four-game absence caused by a hamstring injury this week, has still permitted over 280 passing yards (26th overall) and 10 touchdowns via the air so far, and the Bills have managed an NFL-low four sacks on the year as well. Containing the run has been another issue, with Buffalo allowing 138.4 rushing yards (29th overall) per game and a porous 5.5 yards per carry, and Wilson and Barnett (42 tackles, 2 INT, 3 PD) have had to make too many stops well beyond the line of scrimmage.