New York Giants
2002 Record: (6-4) 11.24.02 | 3:15pm
November 21, 2002
Giants Stomp Into Houston
by Jimmy Mohr
The Texans host the New York Giants this Sunday in an attempt to break a three game skid and also defeat an opponent with a winning record for the first time this season. The Texans record stands at 2-8 after falling to the Jaguars in another hard fought contest Sunday.
The Texans played their second consecutive game in which they were driving for the tying score late in the fourth quarter, only to come up short. On the positive side, the Texans surrendered a season low four sacks and were penalized only five times for the game. More importantly, these miscues accounted for a loss of only 74 yards, a total usually surrendered on penalties alone. The Texans will need to do as well or better this week when they entertain the Giants.
The Giants enter this week’s game on a roll. They have won three games in a row to improve their record to 6-4 and are a game behind the Eagles for first place in the NFC East. They are a respectable 3-2 on the road this season and need a win to keep a half-game lead over the Falcons in the NFC Wild Card race.
The Giants posses a top five defense and a mediocre offense, at best. Quarterback Kerry Collins is having an off year by his standards, tossing 11 interceptions versus 9 touchdowns in the Giants’ 10 games this season. The Giants can ill afford to turn the ball over and play from behind. Collins is not known for his prolific passing. He is more of a finesse-type QB, completing a high percentage of his attempts for a small amount of yards per catch. Fortunately, their defense has held opponents to an average of 16.7 points per game, third best in the league.
When the Texans have the ball…
The running game has hit rock bottom. David Carr led the team in rushing with 33 yards and two touchdowns against the Jags while running backs Jonathan Wells and James Allen combined for 45 yards on 20 carries and zero touchdowns. Carr needs to be turned loose or this team is going to finish the season with 2 wins. Last week, Carr completed 22 of his 30 attempts (73%) for 228 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The only problem is the Texans face a Giant defense that’s ranked 5th overall; 3rd against the pass and 21st against the run. If the running game fails again this week, Carr may have trouble getting it done through the air.
When the Giants have the ball…
The Giants offense is very conservative, preferring to allow their defense to win games for them. This is reflected in their 15.7 points per game average, 4th worst in the league. Their primary weapons are RB Tiki Barber and WR Amani Toomer, but rookie TE Jeremy Shockey is beginning to make a case for Rookie of the Year honors. Shockey went nuts last week, catching 11 passes for 111 yards, so the Texans better keep someone on him at all times. Barber is the Giants’ leading rusher and receiver, so another LB will need to keep tabs on him as well. 1. Improve special teams play
Jermaine Lewis has to gain his confidence back, especially after being pulled in favor of Jabar Gaffney late in the Jaguar game. The Texans have a hard enough time keeping games close without handing the ball over on a punt return. Maybe he feels the pressure to make things happen in order to help a floundering offense but for $4.5 million per year, he needs to at least catch the ball.
2. Contain Tiki, Amani & Shockey
Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey will require the full attention of two linebackers. If the Texans’ defense fails to account for either of them, one or both could have a field day. And the Giants are beginning to use Amani Toomer more now that Fassel is calling plays.
3. Turn Carr loose
The running game is dead and buried and it is not going to change from now until the end of the season. Last week, Carr threw the ball 17 times in the second half (not including when he was sacked). The end result was turning a 24-7 deficit into a near comeback victory. The Texans need to mix in the run to keep the Giants defense honest, but the running game will not win the game for them. Sure, the Giants’ defense is third in the league against the pass; but what better way to see how far Carr has come this year then to test him against one of the best?
TE Jeremy Shockey vs. OLB’s Kailee Wong/Keith Mitchell
Fassel loves to call Shockey’s number. Shockey is a prototypical tight end, standing 6’5" and weighing in at 255 pounds. He has caught 38 passes this season, but 11 came last week against Washington. Was his performance against the Skins a fluke or is he starting to get better? This week’s game will be his first chance to make a case that it was just the beginning of a Hall of Fame career.
RB Tiki Barber vs. MLB’s Jamie Sharper/Jay Foreman
Foreman and Sharper share the honor of being the Texans’ leading tackler with 84 each. Tiki Barber is the leading rusher and receiver for the Giants. Collins is very efficient when throwing the short pass, and Barber is his favorite target. Sharper and Foreman will have to limit Barber’s effectiveness and force Collins to spread the field and throw to his receivers. This is when he is most vulnerable to throwing interceptions.
HoustonProFootball.com’s hard working… working staff weigh in with their predictions for this week’s game.
Bob: Mr. Carr, meet Mr. Strahan… after the game. Texans 17, Giants 13
Dave: Like the Brady’s, Tiki leaves the Texans feeling cursed. Giants 21, Texans 17
Jimmy: The Texans keep another one close, but come up short again. Giants 27, Texans 17
Keith: Giants win in spite of Mr. Angie Harmon. Giants 22, Texans 20
Ric: Why not? The Giants aren’t that good. Texans 21, Giants 17
Warren: Carr better hope Ryan Young puts a damper on Michael Strahan’s homecoming. Giants 27, Texans 17
2002 Regular Season Records Bob 6-4; Dave 4-6; Jimmy 5-5; Keith 8-2;
Ric 7-3; Warren 5-5
TEXANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/IN Carr 271 148 1797 8/11 TEAM 273 150 1841 11/11 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Wells 118 367 3.1 1 TEAM 273 932 3.4 4 REC NO YDS AVG TD Bradford 34 592 17.4 6 TEAM 150 1841 12.3 11 GIANTS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT Collins 346 217 2552 9/11 TEAM 346 217 2552 9/11 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Barber 181 736 4.1 5 TEAM 298 1061 3.6 6 REC NO YDS AVG TD Barber 49 433 8.8 0 TEAM 217 2552 11.8 9 PRESEASON 8.05 GIANTS 17-34 8.10 @ Saints 13-10 8.17 @Chiefs 9-19 8.24 DOLPHINS 3-24 8.30 BUCCANEERS 13-17 REGULAR SEASON 9.08 COWBOYS 19-10 9.15 @ Chargers 3-24 9.22
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review