COMMENTARY | Maybe the bright lights of Monday Night Football will bring out the best of the New York Giants, who are still searching for their first win of the season.
At this point, the G-Men will take a win on any day of the week, but it'll take big performances from some key players to get it. Here are five Giants to watch when they host the one-win Minnesota Vikings at MetLife Stadium on October 21:
QB Eli Manning -- Manning has thrown a league-high 15 interceptions, but he'll be facing a soft Minnesota secondary which has given up 308.0 passing yards per game, the fourth-worst rate in National Football League, and 13 touchdowns. Furthermore, since the Giants have no running game, Manning will be slinging the ball all night long. He should have time to throw it, for a change, as the Vikings have only 10 sacks this season (only three teams have fewer).
WR Victor Cruz -- Cruz has been New York's steadiest player with 35 catches for 541 yards, including three 100-yard outings, and four touchdowns this season. But Cruz has done the salsa only once since Week 1 (he has three TDs against the Dallas Cowboys). That could change against the Vikings, whose defensive backs have been horrible. Plus, starting safety Harrison Smith has been ruled out for this game. Keep in mind, Cruz has nine career touchdowns of at least 68 yards.
WR Rueben Randle -- Randle and Manning haven't been on the same page this season, as evident by the wide receiver's wildly inconsistent game log: three games with at least 75 receiving yards, including a 101-yard showing against the Cowboys, and two other games with under 20 yards. But the enigmatic receiver has three TDs in his last two contests, and we've already been over the Vikings' woeful secondary. Big Blue's season may be lost, but Randle is playing for his future on the team.
LB Jon Beason -- The Giants have allowed 123.3 rushing yards per game, and now they must deal with the incomparable Adrian Peterson, who is averaging 122.8 yards per game since the beginning of last season. However, New York's defensive line has improved, and Jon Beason has bolstered the linebackers position, giving the Jints a glimmer of hope. Last week, in his first game with the team, Beason had seven defensive stops and graded a +2.9 against the run, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
RB Peyton Hillis -- It's anybody's guess what the former Madden cover boy has left in the tank, but the Giants are desperate for help in the backfield with David Wilson out, Brandon Jacobs banged up and Michael Cox seemingly not ready to contribute. They're hoping Hillis, who rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns three years ago, can provide a spark. Incidentally, the Vikings are allowing 110 rushing yards per game.
Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- New York Giants
- Minnesota Vikings
- National Football League
- Eli Manning
- Victor Cruz
- Jon Beason