Game Scout: Vikings-Giants

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Minnesota Vikings (1-4) at New York Giants (0-6)
Monday, 8:40 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. TV: ESPN
*TV announcers: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
*Keys to the game: If you like pitcher's duels, tune into the World Series. Neither team qualifies for the defense billboard in 2013, giving up a combined 44 touchdowns while failing to sort out fatal flaws offensively. Turnovers are haunting the Giants at an epic clip. They have an NFL-worst 32, but because of wobbly blocking and a subpar rushing attack, QB Eli Manning must stay on the offensive. He's constantly playing from behind -- often because of offensive errors -- and the strength of the team lies in its outside receivers, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. The Vikings are soft in the secondary with ballhawking FS Harrison Smith (toe) out and could be in for a long night if LCB Chris Cook remains slowed by a nagging groin injury. QB Josh Freeman has the arm strength deposed starter Christian Ponder lacked to attack downfield. He should bring out the playmaking potential in rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and will quickly learn to trust Greg Jennings when he needs a completion. The Giants, with only five sacks, are conjuring up more blitzes to get to the quarterback.
*Matchup to watch - Giants LT Kevin Boothe: At 6-5, 320 pounds, Boothe has played more at guard and needs support to contend with Vikings DE Jared Allen on a down-to-down basis.
*Player spotlight - Giants RB Brandon Jacobs: From the scrapheap to the scripted play-call sheet of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, Jacobs moved the chains and plowed for two touchdowns at Chicago Oct. 10, his first start since 2011. His 3.5 yards-per-carry average doesn't awe any defense, but Jacobs' consistency hiked up the confidence and competence of the Giants for extended stretches against the Bears.
*Fast facts: Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has 483 rushing yards through five games. Last season, when he rushed for 2,097 yards, he had 420 yards in the first five games. ... Manning has thrown at least three interceptions in four of six games this season.
National TV brought the Giants' best effort in Week 5. With Minnesota reshuffling deck chairs and shaky in the secondary, the time is right for the Giants to notch their first victory of the season.
*Our pick: Giants 27-24

What to Read Next