Posted Wed Nov 25th by Monty
Breaking down each week’s Broncos‘ opponent from the Football Outsiders‘ perspective. Recall that lower (negative) percentages are good on defense, bad on offense and special teams.
Pass Offense: 33.6% (10th)
Rush Offense: 0.3% (15th)
The Giants are known for their punishing running game, but their passing game is underrated, and they will try to attack the Broncos in the air. WR Steve Smith entered Week 11 as the league’s 5th-ranked receiver, and Mario Manningham exploded for big, game-changing gains while the Falcons sold the farm to stop Smith. The league’s other Steve Smith — who is making a case to be the Steve Smith this season — still broke free for a 51 yard bomb (he was held to 28 yards otherwise). QB Eli Manning is up-and-down, but the Broncos can’t afford to allow him to have an up day, or it will be a long day.
The Giants won’t have RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and Brandon Jacobs has only been averaging around three yards per carry of late, but the Broncos haven’t been stopping anyone’s ground game lately. Jacobs has been recovering from a right leg injury but wasn’t even listed on the team’s injury report. New York’s offensive line is one of the best in the league; Denver’s front seven needs to be ready.
Pass Defense: -2.9% (10th)
Rush Defense: -2.5% (19th)
The Giants’ defense has been a bit banged up, but is hitting its stride at the right time. Middle linebacker Antonio Pierce has been ruled out with bulging disc in his neck (an injury that came totally by surprise — freaky), but the G-Men were happy to get cornerback Aaron Ross, linebacker Michael Boley and defensive tackle Chris Canty back in the last few weeks.
The Giants are fast and physical up front. They may have the best four-man defensive line in football, and the memory that the Broncos nearly had defensive end Justin Tuck still keeps this Broncos fan up nights. They were able to hold Atlanta to three yards per carry despite missing Pierce (Michael Turner did not play), and Matt Ryan‘s success against them in the fourth quarter had a lot more to do with Matt Ryan than Giants defensive woes. They got after the second-year quarterback.
Special Teams: -3.0% (28th)
The Broncos will get a long look at one of their own, Domenik Hixon, who serves as the Giants’ primary return man. Hixon’s career in Denver was cut short far too soon after a nasty hit in Buffalo in 2007 left him sidelined and ultimately waived.