The New York Giants will open the 2022 regular season on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
It’s a rough first game for the Giants, who last won an opener in 2016. And in order to break their recent string of losing to begin a season, they’re going to need to do several things right.
Giants Wire previously went over three offensive keys to victory, so here’s a look at three defensive keys to victory.
Stack the box
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Wink Martindale’s defense is built to be fast and aggressive, and to dictate the pace of the game. However, down some key players due to injury and a recent change at inside linebacker, it may behoove the Giants to play it safe and focus on stopping the run.
Derrick Henry is the league’s most dominant back and with rain falling on Sunday afternoon, the Titans are likely to hand it to him early and often.
“There is a reason why they call Derrick Henry ‘The King.’ He’s on the Iron Throne,” Martindale told reporters on Wednesday. “They just gave him a raise to be the highest paid running back and I still don’t think they gave him enough.”
The Giants know they can’t completely stop Henry, but they could focus on limiting him. Make every yard difficult and force Ryan Tannehill to beat you down the field in the rain with lackluster receivers.
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A persistent issue for the Giants in recent years has been poor tackling. Far too often their defenders have missed tackles in the box or in the open field, giving up free yards to the opponent.
With so many wrinkles to iron out on both sides of the ball, New York can ill afford to be giving the Titans and Derrick Henry free yards, first downs or touchdowns on Sunday.
Players like cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, who have been inconsistent tacklers, must shore things up. The defensive line also has to do a sound job of limiting Henry by taking him to the ground immediately.
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“Force turnovers” sounds like a basic key to every single game — and it is. It’s usually a lazy bulletpoint to add but it will be especially important for the Giants’ defense on Sunday.
Offensively, the Giants will be featuring a brand new system. There are bound to be kinks, especially considering the lack of rapport between quarterback Daniel Jones and his top receivers. Mistakes and giveaways seem inevitable.
In order to balance things out and give the team a chance, the defense must win some battles and come away with a couple takeaways. The offense will need as many chances as they can to put points on the board.