The New York Giants found a bit of coal in their stockings on Christmas day after a heartbreaking, nail biting loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Eve. The mistakes this team has not made all season long showed up at the worst possible times in the Christmas Eve showdown with the Vikings.
Fast forward to January 15th and the sting of Justin Jefferson’s 12 receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown along with an ill timed fumble from Daniel Bellinger and an interception thrown by Daniel Jones is still present. At the time, New York needed a win to wrap up a wildcard playoff spot. That win would come a week later against the Indianapolis Colts.
But as fate would have it, the New York Giants are looking at a 4:30 eastern time kickoff in what should be a very competitive but winnable rematch with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Keys to a Giants Victory
What do the New York Giants need to do in order to walk out of Minneapolis and U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday with a Wild Card victory over the Minnesota Vikings?
1. Exploit the Vikings Passing Defense
The Giants will need to take advantage of a historically bad Vikings defense. The Minnesota Vikings are the first team in NFL history to win 13 games and have a negative point differential. A large part of that is a passing defense that ranks dead last in the NFL. The Vikings have allowed 4515 passing yards this season and 23 touchdowns while allowing opposing QBs to complete 66% of their passes. Daniel Jones and his much improved wide receivers will need to exploit a Vikings passing defense that has been a major weakness all season.
2. Adoree Jackson Needs to Play
The Giants secondary is getting healthy at just the right time. They will need to find a way to shut down a Vikings passing game that torched them during week 16. More specifically they need to shut down Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson who combined for 25 receptions, 242 yards and 3 touchdowns. A returning Adoree Jackson will have his hands full limiting the damage that Jefferson will ultimately do on Sunday. Jackson is currently 19th in the NFL with a 51% pass completion percentage when targeted. Jefferson caught 75% of the passes thrown his way in week 16. Jackson will need to at least match his season average pass completion percentage covering Jefferson.
3. Eliminate the Mistakes
The Giants will need to prevent the game killing turnovers that plagued them when these teams played in week 16. Daniel Bellinger fumbled the ball right outside the red zone. Daniel Jones threw an interception in the 4th quarter while the Giants were in field goal range. Minnesota also turned a block punt into a short field and an eventual touchdown. These unfortunate mistakes simply can not happen again.