The New York Giants have a tumultuous task ahead of them with the Pittsburgh Steelers to open their season on Monday night. Facing off against a dominant defense led by TJ Watt, Bud Dupree, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Giants will have to find creative ways to overcome this strong unit.
With an entirely new coaching staff and group of players, it will take time for the Giants to gel on the field. A revised training camp and preseason didn’t allow them the proper reps to gain momentum going into the regular season, but nonetheless, they have a game to play and will put their best effort forward.
There are a few things we can assure — one is that the Giants will bring maximum effort for their new head coach Joe Judge. In what is a statement game for a Big Blue and their newly pieced together organization, starting off strong against a great team is one way to build confidence within their ranks.
It all starts with Daniel Jones at quarterback and the offensive line. With a dominant pass rush for the Steelers, who tallied 54 sacks in 2019, Jones’ protection has to be stellar. While I don’t expect Andrew Thomas to be a rock at left tackle to start his career, he will have help from TE Evan Engram, which should hopefully give Thomas support.
Watt, who logged 14.5 sacks last year, is a fantastic speed rusher with an inside hook that does significant damage. He will primarily line up across Cam Fleming, who has experience in the NFL at both tackle spots and in Super Bowl games. Thomas will have to limit Dupree, who recorded 11.5 sacks last year and Is a strong pass rusher who can also utilize his speed.
Beating the Steelers will come down to multiple factors, notably Saquon Barkley and his ability to succeed in the running game, and Daniel Jones winning the turnover battle. The Giants simply can’t afford to lose any interceptions or fumbles from their quarterback, who lost 11 in 2019 and fumbled a total of 18.
How the New York Giants can sneak out a win:
The defense also must rattle Ben Roethlisberger early. Coming off shoulder surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2019 campaign, they can take advantage of his lack of live-action recently. Getting him on the ground and putting immediate pressure on him in the pocket will be a necessity, and without All-Pro right guard David DeCastro, the Giants might have a better time accomplishing this task.
If Big Blue can keep the score low, I believe they can sneak out a win, and with both offenses unproven with Big Ben returning and Daniel Jones going into his second year, I believe the score will be 24-17, Giants.
There are just too many “ifs” in this game for the Giants, with the Steelers having the clearly better team. However, I think the Giants will develop and grow from this performance and keep it competitive, which is all we are looking for.