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The Cheat Sheet: Can the Lions turn this season around against the Giants?

New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions game preview and prediction.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

To say the last few weeks have been a bit of a mess for the Lions would be an understatement.

First, the Lions narrowly lost to the Green Bay Packers, with a heavy assist from some questionable calls late in the game. Next, they lost multiple starters to injury against the Vikings last week—including Darius Slay and Kerryon Johnson. And then the front office shocked fans and players by trading away starting safety Quandre Diggs earlier this week.

All of that has driven fans’ confidence is at a season-low.

But as hopeless as it seems, the Lions have a good shot to turn the ship around this week.

The Giants are struggling to score points and stop teams from scoring against them. That’s not a good combination.

On the offensive side, the Giants are averaging just 18.9 points per game this season and have averaged only 15 points per game over the last three games.

On defense, the Giants are giving up the sixth-most points per game at 26.7.

Arizona Cardinals v New York Giants Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Opponent snapshot

The Giants (2-5) were never going to be playoff contenders this year, and while Daniel Jones provided an initial lift after he was named the starter in Week 3, the team just isn’t talented enough across the board to compete week in and week out.

They’re also coming into this week on a three-game losing streak.

Buffalo Bills v New York Giants Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Giants’ biggest threat

Saquon Barkley

Barkley is an absolute freak of nature. If there’s one player that could single-handedly destroy the Lions hopes of winning on Sunday, it’s Barkley.

He’s helped the Giants have the league’s eighth-best average explosive run rate at 14 percent and he’s averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

Only nine teams have given up more explosive runs than the Lions (21) this season, and the Lions have given up fifth-most yards per game (139.2). After letting Dalvin Cook run all over the last week (142 yards), the Lions will need to tighten up the run defense on Sunday.

New York Giants v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

Giants’ weak link

Pass defense

The Giants are not a good defense—especially against the pass. They’ve given up 30 explosive pass plays this season with an average explosive pass rate of 13 percent. Only Oakland (15 percent) and Miami (15 percent) have a worse rating so far this season.

That should be good news for Matthew Stafford. The Lions have the second highest average explosive pass rate in the NFL. Be on the lookout for some big pass attempts from the Lions on Sunday.

Bottom line

The Lions should be able to put up points against a struggling Giants team. If the Lions want any shot (however remote) to make the playoffs this season, they absolutely must take care of business at home against the Giants.


Lions 28 Giants 17

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.