With the Giants coming off a major high by going on the road and beating the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday, they now have to travel out to the west coast to play against a team deemed to be mediocre at best.
The Giants best be ready as the Cards won’t lay down for them.
So, without further ado, let’s look at five things to watch for.
- Will Justin Tuck and/or Osi Umenyiora play, and if so, how effective?Well, both Tuck and Umenyiora made the team flight to Arizona, which should indicate they are ready to play in Sunday’s game. Their presence on the field together, even if they are not 100-percent healthy, can be a boon to a team that has been snakebitten by injuries. Along with the ever-so-improving Jason Pierre-Paul, the pass rush should be in full effect causing havoc on Kevin Kolb. The return of Umenyiora, who has repeatedly let it be known he is playing with a chip on his shoulder, could spark the club and add another dimension on the field.
- Can Eli Manning keep up his momentum?After a miserable start, Manning is finally settling into a groove. With a full compliment of receivers at his disposal this week (Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham should play), and with the Cardinal’s secondary far from intimidating, Manning has a clear path for continued success. It will be interesting to see if Manning continues to look in the direction of Victor Cruz, who had a breakout game in Philadelphia, even though Nicks and Manningham should be healthy for this game. The last time Manning played in Arizona, he passed for 240 yards and threw for three touchdowns with zero interceptions.
- Will Beanie Wells play for Arizona?Wells has become the focal point of the Cardinals rushing game now that Tim Hightower is out of the picture. However, Wells is dealing with a lingering hamstring issue which kept him out of last week’s game vs. the Seahawks and is questionable heading into the Giants game. Although every game is important, with the Cardinals looking at a 1-3 start if they don’t win this game, I think they will do all in their power to make sure Wells gets on the field. Wells was off to a running start, amassing 183 yards rushing and two scores in his first two games. If Wells plays, the Giants will have their hands full; if not the onus is on a cagy vet like Chester Taylor or an unproven commodity like Alfonso Smith to carry the load, and that will not strike any fear in Giant defenders. Wells presence (or lack thereof) will make a huge impact in this game.
- While the passing attack is coming along, Giants must ground and pound their way to victoryIt’s tried and true, it’s the Giants bread and butter, call it what you will, but it can’t be said enough: The Giants have to remain committed to the run. The main reason the Giants won in Philadelphia last week is because they established a physical in-your-face style running game. This enabled Manning to effectively connect with his receivers. So, while the temptation is to keep on passing, don’t forget to remember what got you here. You listening Kevin Gilbride?
- We know (or should admit to knowing) that Larry Fitzgerald will get his, but how will Arizona’s secondary receivers be guarded?While they are no household names, Arizona’s other receivers Early Doucet and Andre Roberts have a lot of upside. If Giants corners, who are an already undermanned group, don’t respect their game, or somehow come out uninspired, thinking only Fitzgerald can beat them then they can get easily burned. It’s not just Fitzgerald that the Giants have to respect. If given time, Kolb can easily connect with Doucet and Roberts.