OPPOSING VIEW: Paul Schwartz of the NY Post says Giants are in trouble with Calvin Johnson

Posted Dec 21, 2013

Paul Schwartz says it’s been “Mission Impossible” for the Giants not to turn the ball over this year

This week's Opposing View comes from Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. Schwartz has been the paper’s Giants beat writer since 1994. He's on Twitter: @NYPost_Schwartz

The numbers are what they are, but what's been the underlying problem behind Eli Manning's struggles this season?

Schwartz: Eli’s struggles started with his very first pass of the season, which was intercepted by DeMarcus Ware. It has been a myriad of things. The offensive line lost two starters, Chris Snee and David Baas, and has been unreliable most of the season and Manning has not been comfortable in the pocket. The running game was non-existent in the first half of the season. Hakeem Nicks in a contract year was expected to be the top receiver but he’s had a very disappointing season. Add all that into the fact that Manning has simply not thrown the ball well most of the season, missing passes he’s made in the past. The Giants were behind in games almost every week and there’s no doubt Manning has forced the issue with the offense in comeback mode. Thus, you have a 25-interception season.

What's concerns the Giants most about this Detroit Lions team?

Schwartz: Here’s a shocker but it’s Calvin Johnson. The Giants have actually done a decent job this season limiting big plays down the field but they come into this game short-handed at cornerback. Prince Amukamara is their top corner and he’s physical enough to battle Johnson, but the Giants do not put shadow the top receiver and so Amukamara will only see Johnson some of the time, The other times, the Giants could be in trouble. Trumaine McBride likely won’t play because of a groin injury, leaving seldom-used Jayron Hosley, who is pint-sized, to deal with Megatron. The other huge concern is blocking Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. The Giants offensive line was overmatched last week by the Seahawks and two starters, David Diehl and James Brewer, missed time this week dealing with injuries.

Calvin JohnsonWR Calvin Johnson (Photo: G. Smith/Detroit Lions)

What do you see as the Giants' biggest advantage this week?

Schwartz: There is really no personnel advantage whatsoever for the Giants. The Lions are only ranked 23rd against the pass but the Giants will play their first game this season without Victor Cruz, who underwent knee surgery on Thursday. It would be surprising if Manning has much time to throw and if Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan can do much damage in the passing game. The only advantage for the Giants night be that their pass rush, led by Justin Tuck, might be able to get some heat on Matthew Stafford and if that happens, Stafford is prone to turnovers. Safety Antrel Rolle is among the league leaders with six interceptions and is the only Giants player having a Pro Bowl season.

Who is one player Lions fans might not know who could impact Sunday's game?

Schwartz: Rueben Randle is a second-year receiver from LSU and he leads the Giants with six touchdown receptions. He will start in place of injured Victor Cruz and he has excellent size and enough speed to break for some big plays. He averages 15.4 yards a catch and he does have the ability for yards after the catch. If the Lions opt to roll their coverage toward Hakeem Nicks, Randle is capable of getting down the field.

The Giants will win if ...

Schwartz: They do not turn the ball over, which has been Mission Impossible for them, as they have at least one turnover in every game this season, adding up to a ghastly and league-leading 39 turnovers. Their defense can keep them in games but not if the offense is giving the ball away and putting the defense in difficult situations.

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