ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — To be honest, it’s not too difficult to beat the New York Giants.
Now, Denver Broncos’ head coach Vance Joseph will never admit it, in fact saying multiple times this week the Giants are “a good football team,” but the truth is, in 2017 New York has zero wins in five attempts, losing in a myriad of ways—only scoring three points in a game and giving up 434 yards of offense in another loss.
The book on how to beat the Giants is more of a New York Times best-selling novel that can be checked out at your local library than it is a few secret tips, but here are five magic numbers for the Broncos to get the job done against the Giants on primetime Sunday Night Football.
The Giants’ greatest indicator of success lies directly with their run defense. Since the beginning of last season, when New York allowed 104 or more rushing yards in a game they went 1-8. However, when they allow less than 104 yards on the ground they went 10-2.
In 2016, the Giants had the fourth-best rush defense, only allowing 88.6 yards per game on the ground, thus leading to a playoff berth. 2017, however, has been a different story as they are currently the fifth-worst run defense through the first five weeks of the season giving up 139 yards per game on the ground contributing to their 0-5 start.
Fortunately for the Broncos, they have the third-best running game in the league so far, averaging 143 yards per game. If Denver can pound the rock and just surpass 100 yards on Sunday, history would say they’ll win the game.
Since the start of 2016—when the Giants went 11-5 in the regular season before losing their first game in the postseason—New York went 2-4 in games that quarterback Eli Manning threw for more than 250 yards, including 0-2 this season with one of those games in which he threw for 366 yards.
After the Broncos’ Week 4 win over the Oakland Raiders, Joseph said teams can give up rushing yards and still win games, but the passing game was more indicative of success, “The pass game is where you make your chunk yards and where you score points.”
However, in the case of the Giants, when Manning is forced to throw the ball a lot, New York actually finds less success. What this means is simple: don’t be afraid to let Manning pass early and often.
The key to beating the Giants is relatively straightforward: run the ball and stop the run. Since the start of 2016, the Giants have gone 4-8 when rushing for 91 yards or less. When they eclipse 91 rushing yards they are 7-3.
This season, the Giants have the third-worst rushing attack in the league, only averaging 77.8 yards on the ground. Unfortunately for the Giants, Denver has by far the league’s best run defense, only giving up 50.8 yards per game.
They say football games are won in the trenches. If this holds up on Sunday night, the Giants will have an incredibly difficult uphill battle to come away with a victory in the Mile High City.
Since the start of 2016, the Giants are 0-9 when they’ve given up 24 or more points in a game. New York is 2-1 when they’ve allowed exactly 23 points in a game and when they’ve held opponents under 23 points they are 9-1 in that time period.
Last season, the Giants were built on an elite defense—only giving up 17.8 points per game, the second-fewest in the league only to the New England Patriots. This season, however, the Giants have relied on their defense for success, much like they did last year, but they haven’t been able to get the job done— giving up 24.4 points per game, the ninth-most in the league.
In 2017, the Giants have held their opponents to under 24 points just once in which their offense only put up three points. What it all boils down to is if Denver can score more than 24 points, they’ll walk away from Sunday’s game 4-1. If not, the Giants have a chance.
Before the game even starts on Sunday night, the Giants are doomed—missing all three of their starting wide receivers. In the Giants’ Week 5 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, New York lost starting receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard to injury as well as backup receiver Dwayne Harris.
All four of the receivers have been ruled out for their Week 6 matchup against the Broncos. With only Roger Lewis on the Giants’ 53-man roster last week, Manning will be in for a very difficult matchup with his new receiving core going against the Broncos “No Fly Zone.”