The 3-6 Detroit Lions have won two games in a row but the 7-2 New York Giants are waiting for them in the Big Apple for a Week 11 NFC battle. The good folks over at DraftKings Sportsbook have already set the opening line for this game and are favoring the Giants by 3.5-points.
The Giants run their offense through running back Saquon Barkley for a myriad of reasons. Most notably, he is looking very much like the Barkley of old, showing plenty of burst, speed, and power in his game. Against the Texans last Sunday, Barkley ran the ball a career-high 35 times for a total of 152 yards on the ground. With injuries at the tight end position—they currently only have three healthy tight ends on the roster and they are all UDFA rookies—they deployed six, seven, and sometimes eight (!) offensive linemen in an effort to control the ground.
Additionally, besides production, they prioritize heavily involving Barkley because not a lot of other offensive players are producing. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney, a former first-round pick, was traded away, while prized free agent Kenny Golladay returned from injury only to be benched over lack of production. Instead, they turned to a receiver they claimed off of waiver just two weeks prior. Ouch.
So why have the Giants been so successful?
Basically, they have made—sometimes literally—one more play than their opponent and have been closing out games. All seven of their wins have been one-score games.
“This is what your New York Giants are,” Ed Valentine of Big Blue View (SB Nations Giants site) wrote. “They are a team with some obvious deficiencies, but one that continues to — more often than not — make more plays at the end of games than their opponents.”
Bottom line, if the Lions want to win this game, they’ll need to corral Barkley—the Seahawks did this, holding him to 62 total yards, and beat the Giants—and then be the better team at “closing out the game,” which is something that has been a major positive for the Lions in their last two wins.