Detroit Lions at New York Giants: DJC Writer Predictions

Sep 8, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is pressured by Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 8, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) is pressured by Detroit Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (94) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

The power to clinch the NFC North isn’t solely in the Detroit Lions’ hands this week but a win over the New York Giants would be huge. Will they get it?

The Detroit Lions are set to take on the New York Giants in a week 15 game with major playoff implications for both teams. Here is what the Detroit Jock City staff sees for the game ahead.

Erik Schlitt (7-6) – These two teams are very similar. From their records, to their streaks, and even in how they succeed statically, both teams rank within a few spots of each other in most major categories. Neither team has had success running the ball, and are stout against the run on defense. They also both have multiple receiving threats and their defensive backs create timely turnovers.

So with so many things in common, where are they different? While Eli Manning has two Super Bowl rings, there hasn’t been a more clutch quarterback in 2016 than Matthew Stafford. Lots has been made about how Stafford could be bothered by his glove/protection for his finger, but when game time rolls around, I don’t think he will let it be an issue. I expect Stafford to be ready to outduel Manning in this one.

Look for these key situations, that the Lions will need to be successful at, in order to leave New York with a victory: 1) Win the turnover battle; 2) Pressure Eli Manning; 3) Don’t allow Odell Beckham Jr to get big plays (keep his impact to shorter routes). I expect this one to be another close heart-check type of game, but one I think the Lions will win. Lions 16. Giants 13.

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Colton Wesley (7-6) – The Giants are the best team the Lions have faced in a parity-filled NFL this season. New York’s season parallels Detroit’s in some ways: the Giants started 2-3 before winning seven of their last eight, but they’ve also beaten the NFC’s best team—Dallas—twice.

The Giants are a pass-first team. Odell Beckham is perhaps the most talented receiver in football right now and will be a tough matchup for Darius Slay, who is dealing with a hamstring injury and has gotten beat a couple of times in recent games.

Neither the Giants nor the Lions run the ball well and with rainy and windy conditions expected for Sunday, the ground game might prove important. The Lions will likely be without both Travis Swanson and Theo Riddick, so running the ball might be more difficult than normal.

Matthew Stafford’s finger is not expected to hinder him, but Sunday will be his first full-game test post-injury. Landon Collins has been a revelation, and the Giants’ pass defense unit is better than most the Lions have seen this season.

The Giants are a good team, they’re playing at home, and the Lions are hampered by injury. Those things give New York the edge in a close game and the Lions will need to wait one week to have another chance to clinch the division. Giants win, 23-21.

Matt Pelc (6-7) – Everything points to this being a loss for the Detroit Lions, with cold weather, Matthew Stafford’s ailing finger, Theo Riddick likely out, Travis Swanson out, and playing a road game against another good team. Yet, this Lions team has continued to hit back when people question their resolve. Just two weeks ago, the defense was awash in injuries, no one gave the Lions a shot on the road, and they gave Drew Brees his worst game of the season.

With most football fans outside Detroit, and some here as well, fully expecting the Lions to fold down the stretch to make way for the vaunted Packers, I feel the team responds, and responds today. The Giants have a good defense and a lousy offense. The Lions offense will probably also struggle and will once again be a close game until the closing moments. Lions 13, Giants 10.

Zac Snyder (6-7) – There may not be a Detroit Lions fan more nervous about them missing the playoffs entirely than me. The Lions will have plenty of opportunities to close out a division championship over the next three weeks but it’s hard to ignore these next three games as the toughest three-game stretch in their whole schedule. Add in a Packers team playing their best ball of the season and even falling back on that week 17 home date with the Pack isn’t very reassuring.

Hopefully my worrying will be proven to be for nothing, but I’ve been a Lions fan long enough to know that worry is always justified. It doesn’t take a long memory to recall previous week 17 disasters against the Packers and I’m not all that interested in another with that possibility. Any hope for a Wild Card fallback plan starts with a win over the Giants, a Wild Card favorite at the moment. I’ve been wrong picking against the Lions in recent weeks and I’d love to be wrong again, but I just don’t see it. Come on folks, there’s plenty of room to join me on the worry wagon. Giants 20, Lions 17

Matt Snyder (4-9) – The Lions could clinch the division this week if the results go the right way. Unfortunately, they have three very tough games remaining and missing out completely is still a possibility. I think they’ll ultimately make the playoffs, but since when have the Lions ever made things easy for us fans? Giants 20, Lions 10

Next: Playoff stakes are high for Lions and Giants

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