2019 Game Day Week 7 - Giant vs Cards 10/20 Oct 19, 2019 10:29:43 GMT -5
Post by Roosevelt on Oct 19, 2019 10:29:43 GMT -5
10 things to watch by Dan Salomone
1. Giants playmakers cleared for Sunday. After a 10-day layoff between games, the Giants medically cleared Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram and Wayne Gallman for return to action. Barkley has not played since he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 3, while Engram (knee) and Gallman (concussion) missed last Thursday’s game in New England. Sterling Shepard and rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine have both been ruled out due to concussions.
2. Rookie QB matchup. When Daniel Jones and Kyler Murray take the field, it will be just the ninth game since the 1970 merger in which rookie quarterbacks selected among the first 10 choices in the draft will start against each other. Under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury, Murray is averaging 277.3 yards passing per game with a 64.3 completion percentage. The No. 1 pick has thrown seven touchdowns, including three last week, to four interceptions in six starts. He is also averaging nearly 40 yards per game on the ground.
Quarterbacks have rushed for 31 touchdowns during the 2019 season, surpassing 2002 (28) for the most rushing touchdowns by quarterbacks through the first six weeks of a season since 1970. Nine quarterbacks have multiple rushing touchdowns, including Jones and Murray, who each have two.
3. Jones enters second month as starter. Teammates, coaches, opponents and media members have sung praise for Jones, who has a month of starting experience under his belt. The rookie quarterback, however, has been much more critical of himself. He has more turnovers (six interceptions and three fumbles lost) than touchdowns (five passing and two rushing). The 10 days between games gave him a chance to do some self-scouting.
“I think it’s been, looking back on the month, kind of up and down,” said Jones, who won his first two starts but lost the last two. “I’ve been inconsistent overall. I’ve been good and been bad. I think there are certainly a lot of things to learn. When you look at the scheme or some of the decisions, some of my habits or bad habits, I think there are a lot of things to learn.”
4. Consistently inconsistent. As a whole, the Giants have seen their share of ups and downs this season. They started 0-2, won their next two games, and dropped the two after that. The Cardinals, meanwhile, come off back-to-back wins over the Bengals and Falcons after their 0-3-1 start.
5. Stats to know. Arizona allows a league-high 6.90 yards on first down. The Cardinals also allow passes of 4+ yards on 68.2 percent of first downs with a passer rating of 139.5, both the highest in the NFL. The Giants average 6.18 yards on first down, fourth-best in the league.
Arizona has turned the ball over just four times (four interceptions, zero fumbles) this season, tied with Chicago and Tennessee for the fewest in the NFL. On the other side, the Cardinals have just three takeaways (three fumbles, zero interceptions). Only Jacksonville and Miami have fewer with two apiece.
Barkley has a chance to tie Edgerrin James (16) for most games with 100+ scrimmage yards through a player’s first 20 career games in NFL history. He is currently tied with Eric Dickerson with 15 through 19 career games.
As a whole, NFL clubs have combined for 167 rushing touchdowns. Only the 1979 and 1976 seasons had more in NFL history entering Week 7.
6. Cardinals connections. From 2015 to 2017, James Bettcher served as defensive coordinator in Arizona before he took over the same post with the Giants last season. Bettcher is just one of the handful of defensive connections to the Cardinals. From Arizona, the Giants also brought over safety Antoine Bethea, outside linebacker Markus Golden and defensive lineman Olsen Pierre. Former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is now the Cardinals defensive coordinator.
7. Golden opportunity. Golden’s five sacks are his most since recording 12.5 in Arizona in 2016. The former Cardinal suffered a serious knee injury the following year and is working to return to his old form, if not better. He has recorded at least a half-sack in five consecutive games for the Giants.
8. YAC attack. In his second game back from suspension, wide receiver Golden Tate had a 64-yard touchdown reception while eclipsing 100 yards for the first time with his new team. He still leads the league with 4,118 yards after catch since he was drafted in 2010. The former Seahawk will play in his 10th career game against the Cardinals on Sunday. In his last matchup with the Arizona, which came while he played for the Lions in 2017, Tate had 10 catches for 107 yards.
9. Peterson back. Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson returned to the Cardinals this week. The three-time All-Pro selection was suspended the first six games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. While he was away, Cardinals opponents had an average passer rating of 121.8, the second-highest in the NFL.
10. Game absolutist. The 2-4 Giants enter Week 7 just one game back of the .500 Cowboys and Eagles, who square off Sunday night in Dallas. “That’s true, I am a game absolutist,” coach Pat Shurmur said in his weekly interview with Giants.com. “I think it’s important that, because it’s such a long season, you just have to play each game and really try to overcome the challenges that each game presents. Then, at the end, you add them up.”
The other side by Darren Urban
K1 Versus Danny Dimes (And James Bettcher)
The first two quarterbacks drafted in 2019 will face each other Sunday. Kyler Murray had become the obvious choice at No. 1. Daniel Jones not as much when the Giants grabbed him at 6. Murray was the starter from the moment he stepped into the Cardinals’ facility. Jones briefly waited for a few Eli Manning starts before the Giants made their inevitable decision to change. Jones has had some good moments, and it’ll help to get guys like Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram back on the field. But Murray is coming off the best two games of his young career. Former Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher is doing the same job in New York, and how Bettcher goes after Murray – and Bettch always did like to blitz, which hasn’t changed – will be fun to watch as Murray grows into his position. Murray will have the chance for some big plays through the passing game if the Giants can’t get to him first, which has become much more difficult of late. - (Does that mean Justin Pugh is playing well? - Rosie)
How Much Can A P2 Help With An E2 And A Saquon?
Patrick Peterson is back in the Cardinals’ secondary. That’s a big deal, because Peterson is a Pro Bowl player being dropped into a defense that needs more talent down-in and down-out. There is little question defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will be able to make some calls he hadn’t been able to previously. But there is also the reality the Giants are getting back two big pieces of their offense this week, players Peterson isn’t directly involved with. One is running back Saquon Barkley, already one of the best backs out there and a threat to run and to catch. The Cardinals have to be able to stop the run to force passes and make Peterson more of an advantage. The other is tight end Evan Engram – and the Cards know what ugly words “tight end” have become this season. Peterson might allow the Cardinals to put another defensive back on the tight end, maybe Tramaine Brock perhaps, or even safety Budda Baker. But those are two players for which the Cardinals must account, Peterson or not.
Three In A Row, Or Capitalizing On Opportunity
The Cardinals have two straight wins and have not won three in a row since December of 2015. This is a good opportunity to get there again, with the Giants holding a 2-4 record and playing a rookie quarterback and with a defense that has been up and down. (Actually, a remarkably similar description to the Cards.) But it’s still a cross-country trip and a 10 a.m. Arizona start time. Those can be difficult. Also difficult: The Cardinals have the second-hardest schedule in the league from this point on, topped only by what the Falcons are facing. The Cards still have five games left in the NFC West, arguably (or maybe not even an argument) the toughest division in football. They have a trip to New Orleans. They have to go cross-country to play the Buccaneers. The Browns and Steelers are still on the schedule. This is a chance at a win. The Cards have to take advantage.