3 keys for the New York Giants to beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 1

new york giants, daniel jones, saquon barkley
Aug 11, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) hands the ball off to running back Saquon Barkley (26) during the first half of a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will be kicking off the 2022 regular season with a matchup against the Tennessee Titans this Sunday. Starting the season off with a win will set the Giants up for success in head coach Brian Daboll’s first season. But the Titans are no matchup of which to scoff. The Giants will need these three keys to achieve victory over the Titans in Week One:

Run the ball effectively

Saquon Barkley has a lot to prove this year. After a historic rookie season in 2018, Barkley’s career has been plagued with injuries resulting in massive disappointment. Saquon Barkley has only played in 28 of the Giants’ last 49 games. Saquon is entering a contract year, so it’s now or never for the tackle-breaking machine.

The Tennessee Titans had the NFL’s best run defense in 2021. They allowed a league-best 83.5 rushing yards per game. However, the team ranked in the bottom half of the league during the 2022 preseason, allowing 103 rushing yards per game.

The Giants’ rushing attack generated 110 rushing yards per game in the 2022 preseason while leading the NFL with a total of 382 total offensive yards per game. Saquon Barkley was not given much playing time in the preseason as the Giants aimed to preserve him for the regular season. However, Barkley has been a standout performer throughout the summer. Finally healthy, many believe a huge bounce-back season is in store for the 2018 second-overall draft pick.

Limit Derrick Henry

The Tennessee Titans defense allowed the least rushing yards per game in the 2021 season. But ranking second in the NFL was Wink Martindale’s Baltimore Ravens. Martindale, the Giants’ new defensive coordinator, coached his Ravens unit and allowed only 84.5 rushing yards per game in 2021.

Challenging the New York Giants run defense will be the 2020 Offensive Player of the Year, Derrick Henry. In the 2020 season, Henry ran for a league-high 2,027 rushing yards, cracking the exclusive two-thousand-club. Henry’s 2021 season, though, was cut short by an injury after just eight games. In those eight games, though, Derrick Henry managed to pound his way in for 10 rushing touchdowns. Henry nearly topped 1,000 rushing yards in those eight games, reaching a total of 937 yards (117.1 yards per game).

Derrick Henry is one of the best players in the NFL. Slowing him down will be crucial for the New York Giants as they attempt to walk away from the season opener 1-0.

“He’s a physical guy that can be one cut and go. He can be whatever he wants to be at certain times. He’s a very talented back. He’s like our modern-day Jim Brown. He’s just that much different when he has the ball. He’s a challenge every time he touches it.”

New York Giants’ defensive coordinator Wink Martindale on Derrick Henry via GiantsWire

Red Zone efficiency

The New York Giants’ red zone offense was pitiful in 2021. They ranked dead-last in the NFL in red zone conversion percentage, scoring a touchdown on only 44.74% of their trips to the scoring area. New head coach Brian Daboll has worked hard to improve this situation. Daboll served as the offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills from 2018 to 2021. Last season, the Bills’ red zone offense had the highest conversion percentage, scoring a touchdown on 66.28% of their trips.

Scoring in the red zone is a major key for the Giants to find victory this Sunday. The Tennessee Titans possess a rugged defense. When the Giants march down in the red zone, they will need to be efficient and put touchdowns on the board, rather than settling for field goals.