The Detroit Lions have a chance to tie their own record with 24 consecutive losses on the road — a mark they’d obviously prefer to leave to a previous Lions team. Jim Schwartz has this program going in the right direction and a win on the road — any win on the road — would be huge. For the Giants, though, a loss would be hideous. After two dominant wins over good teams, they believe they are a true contender. A bad loss at home to the woeful Lions would be very damaging.
Keys for the Giants
• Don’t turn the ball over. They are better than the Detroit Lions in every phase of the game, and if they don’t hand out gifts, they should win in a rout. The problem is the Giants have been in a gift-giving mood this season. Their minus-4 turnover ratio is second-worst in their NFL. So are there 15 turnovers, including a remarkable eight interceptions thrown by Eli Manning. That has to stop.
• Keep the pressure on. Shaun Hill has done a nice job as the Lions quarterback, but let’s face it, he’s not an upper echelon signal-caller. And if Calvin Johnson can’t play, it’s not like Hill is surrounded with dangerous weapons. The Giants have 13 sacks in the last two games. They need to force Hill to rush his throws, which will undoubtedly lead to mistakes.
Keys for the Lions
• Run the football. They don’t do it well, with only 82 yards per game (27th in the NFL). Rookie running back Jahvid Best, a first-round draft pick, is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Some of the problem, of course, is that Detroit is often playing from behind and forced to throw the ball. In this game, the Lions have the seemingly impossible task of moving the ball on a defense that just shut the No. 1 rushing attack in the NFL (the Texans) down to 24 total rushing yards.
• Take advantage of the Giants on special teams. The Lions beat the Rams last week in part due to a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Stefan Logan. They can’t count on doing that again, but the Giants remain vulnerable to big returns, especially when they’re punting. The more the Lions can tilt the field in their favor, the better chance they’ll have at pulling off the upset.
The Lions are heading in the right direction and will eventually win a road game, but this is too tough a task. The Giants are rolling; they’ve got a dangerous offense and a defense that will not allow the Lions to move the ball on the ground. Unless the Giants throw it away with turnovers, they should cruise. Giants 30–17.