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Overview, predictions, what to watch

A preview of Sunday’s Giants-Lions game at MetLife Stadium.

Marquee Match

Lions C Frank Ragnow vs. Giants NT Dexter Lawrence

Talk about a high level battle. Ragnow is the fourth highest rated center in the NFL by Pro Football Focus with a rating of 76.8. Lawrence is the No. 2 ranked inside defensive lineman, with a 91.1 rating. Only the Chiefs’ Chris Jones is higher, and Lawrence ranks slightly ahead of Quinnen Williams and the one and only Aaron Donald. A pass to nose tackle, lined up directly across from center, sparked a push for Lawrence, who already has five sacks and 16 quarterback hits, both career highs in just nine games into the season. Ragnow is listed as doubtful with a foot injury but is expected to play.

Frank Ragnow and Dexter Lawrence

Paul’s choice

Preventing big plays will be key here – easier said than done against the Lions’ versatile attack. It’s hard to imagine the Giants doing much in the passing game, which could be an overreliance on Saquon Barkley. Jared Goff is hard to fire and he can throw it. At some point, Daniel Jones will have to do the same.

Lions 27, Giants 23.

four bottom

Rookie Watch: Aidan Hutchinson became No. 2 overall for the Lions in the 2022 draft and it looks like he may have been underdrafted. How is he not a more feared defender than Travon Walker, who became No. 1 for the Jaguars? Hutchinson has 28 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, four tackles for loss and one interception, production that eclipses that of Kayvon Thibodeaux, taken No. 5 by the Giants. In two games less, Thibodeaux has 18 tackles, one sack, three quarterback hits, no tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Maybe seeing another young frontrunner on the field will spark a big play or two from Thibodeaux, who was much more solid than spectacular in the first year.

Big game gap: Everyone who takes an occasional interest in the Giants understands what they are and, conversely, what they are not. What they are not is something like an explosive passing attack. They have just 12 passing plays of 20 or more yards, which ranks them last in the NFL. The Lions? Glad you asked. They are No. 3 in the league with 36 explosive passing games, behind only the Chiefs and Dolphins. Nine Lions players have received 23 or more yards this season. The Giants have six players with a hold of 20 or more yards. Factoring in the running game, the Lions have three players with 50 or more rushing yards. The Giants have one: Saquon Barkley. The long-range advantage goes to the Lions.

Hitman: Daniel Jones has missed the final six games of the 2021 season with a neck injury, but there has been no hint of a problem with that this season. He’s been a rock at quarterback, and even after being kicked out of the Week 4 win over the Bears with a sprained ankle, he was back in the next game. Jones took a hit in the fourth quarter last week because he didn’t slip on an 11-yard run on third-and-10. ‘Yeah, he made it on the first down,’ the head coach said Brian Daboll. “Hopefully he’ll take care of himself, but there’s also an element of being competitive and making sure we get the first down.” Jones understands his value to the team. “I think if it wasn’t for the third try, maybe I would have gone down a bit faster,” he said.

Anticipate: A second straight home game for the Giants before an impending NFC East clash four days later — at the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, the first of four straight divisional games — makes this a dangerous place. Daboll was masterful in keeping his team focused. It’s quite a challenge. “We know that next streak for us, we played a divisional game,” said safety Julian Love. “We have these next five coming soon. We can’t ignore the Lions by any means, but of course it’s in the back of your head that you know you have to play your best football going forward. ”

New York Post

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