Week 2: Broncos-Giants matchup analysis

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Denver Broncos (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
*Keys to the game: The Giants need a big game out of DEs Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, who labeled his Week 1 performance as "terrible." Denver's ground game rotates in three running backs, each of whom had a difficult time generating any momentum against Baltimore. If the Giants can back Peyton Manning into constant third-and-long situations, Tuck and Pierre-Paul will have an opportunity to protect the secondary by applying pressure on Manning. Given time to throw, however, Peyton Manning simply has too many weapons for the Giants to account for. With WRs Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker on the outside, Wes Welker working the underbelly of the defense and TE Julius Thomas emerging as a big-play threat, Manning can spread the ball all over the field and keep the Giants off-balance. New York needs to run the ball to own time of possession and protect its defense, but the backfield is in disarray with RB David Wilson benched after a pair of fumbles last week. He'll get an opportunity to redeem himself, with recently-signed Brandon Jacobs likely to take over short-yardage duties. The key for the Giants' offense is the line play - Denver's pass rush became more effective as the game progressed in the opener. The Giants would receive a boost if C David Baas (knee) can return to the lineup.
*Matchup to watch - Broncos CB Chris Harris vs. Giants WR Victor Cruz: Harris practices against Welker, so he's used to shifty receivers. Cruz is a bigger downfield threat than Welker, and Harris will need strong support from his safeties as well.
*Player spotlight - Giants LB Mark Herzlich: Coming off a poor performance in the loss to Dallas, Herzlich is thrust into the starting lineup with Dan Connor placed on season-ending injured reserve.
*Fast facts: Demaryius Thomas has more receiving yardage since Week 13 of the 2011 season (2,043) than anyone but Detroit's Calvin Johnson. ... Eli Manning has thrown for 716 yards in winning his past three home starts.
The Manning brothers prepare to square off for the third time in their distinguished NFL careers. Both offenses should be able to move the ball, but the Giants' defense has more weak spots for Peyton Manning to exploit.
*Our pick: Broncos 34-30

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