EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After a Week 1 win at the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants are looking to build momentum this Sunday in their home opener. A 2-0 start to the year certainly won’t be easy, especially against a high-octane offense led by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. But two wins to start the year would vindicate the massive spending from the Giants to revamp their defense. It would also get a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011 a little confidence, something that might carry over into the rest of the year.
Last week, the Saints dropped a 35-34 home game to the Oakland Raiders.
Three things to watch for in Week 2:
1. Brees is still the best
The Saints' loss last week did not fall on the shoulders of Brees, who sparkled in throwing for 423 yards and four touchdowns. Even at 37-years-old, he remains one of the best - if not the best quarterback in the league. There is a lot of talent in the receiving corps for the Saints but it is a young unit and one that still isn’t clicking yet, which is a scary thought for defensive coordinators throughout the league.
“I think there’s a lot to be said about the system and the foundation that we’ve built within the system. There’s a lot of nuances to this system. It takes a lot of time on task, which we’ve spent,” Brees said. “We spent a lot of time this offseason and really the past couple off seasons really getting into and fine-tuning the elements of this offense together. With new pieces added, you just have to spend time. You have to build that confidence. It’s all about chemistry.”
2. Young secondary
This offseason, the Saints revamped and re-worked their secondary, including a group of cornerbacks that makes the unit among the youngest in the league. Last week they struggled against the Raiders and second-year quarterback Derek Carr.
“They're learning on the job right now and there's a lot of snaps a week ago, things that we've got to correct, technique that we've got to correct. All 11 on defense, to help the cornerback play, we need to be better at rushing the passer,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said. “To stop the running game on early downs and getting into more favorable down and distances. I think for the early part, even midway through, into the third quarter, before the fourth quarter last week, we did a lot of those things and yet, not well enough to finish.”
This could be a major advantage for the Giants, who did a good job last year in a 52-49 loss at the Saints in passing the ball. Quarterback Eli Manning had 350 passing and a career-high six touchdowns.
3. 2-0 means something
Slow starts have hurt the Giants in recent years, relegating them to play catch-up throughout the regular season. The last time the Giants started a season 2-0 was 2009 when they won their first five games of the season and ironically, their first loss that year was 48-27 at the Saints. Last year, the Giants didn’t get their second win until Week 4. A win against the Saints on Sunday won’t be easy but it would mean a lot towards the Giants ambitions of making the playoffs and winning the NFC East.