LIONS INSIDER

Scouting this week's opponent: New York Giants

Posted Dec 18, 2013

Tim Twentyman takes an early-week look at the scouting report on the New York Giants

Antrel RolleS Antrel Rolle (Photo: AP Images)

OFFENSE

The Giants have struggled mightily on offense this season.

One of the big reasons has been the play of quarterback Eli Manning and a non-existent rushing attack.

Manning has thrown a league-high 25 interceptions, as the Giants are No. 1 in the NFL with 39 giveaways. The Lions are No. 2 with 31, by the way.

Manning has played three games this year in which he hasn't thrown an interception. According to giants.com, in Manning's 10 seasons as the starting quarterback, the Giants are 37-12 when he is not intercepted and 46-54 when he is.

How much has New York struggled on offense you say?

They've trailed by as many as 23 points in each of their last two losses to Seattle and San Diego.

The running game hasn't been much better, as the Giants rank 28th in the NFL with an average of 83.5 per game. Their leading rusher is Andre Brown with 441 yards. Their lowest season average in terms of rushing yards for the Giants before 2013 was 76.9 yards a in 1945.

They have a league-low three runs longer than 20 yards this season.

The Giants are explosive at the receiver position, however. Victor Cruz (73) and Hakeem Nicks (50) each have at least 50 catches this season. Cruz has only four touchdowns, and Nicks doesn't have one, but Nicks does average 15.9 yards per catch, and Cruz can score from anywhere on the field.

Receiver Ruben Randle leads the team with six touchdowns, which gives Manning three legitimate receiving weapons on the outside, all with at least 500 receiving yards.

The New York offense has allowed three interception return touchdowns and three punt return touchdowns this season.

The Giants rank 30th in points scored, 28th in total yards, 28th in rushing and 19th passing.

DEFENSE

The Giants have already given up 13 more points than they allowed all of last year (344) with two games remaining, but that also includes those returns mentioned above on offense.

The unit does have playmakers.

Safety Antrel Rolle's career-high six interceptions tie him for the NFL-lead with Seattle's Richard Sherman and Detroit's DeAndre Levy. He also leads them with 86 tackles.

The Giants will bring him in the box in a lot of situations and use him as an extra linebacker. That's helped New York be pretty stout against the run. Starting running backs have averaged just 57.3 yards per game (3.28 average) the last 11 games.

"They have always been good upfront," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "(Justin) Tuck's got nine sacks. They have some talent up there. They're top ten in the NFL in overall defense."

Tuck has 6.5 sacks over New York's last three games. The Giants as a team have recorded four sacks in a game five times this season.

The Giants are 5-0 this year when their defense allows 20 points or less.

They rank 13th in points allowed, 10th in total defense, 12th against the run and 11th against the pass.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Coverage units have been a bit of a problem for New York, especially punt coverage. They've allowed three punt-return touchdowns this year and teams are averaging 13.9 yards per return, third most in the NFL.

Kicker Josh Brown is 18 of 20 kicking field goals.