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Scouting the enemy: New York Giants

The Denver Broncos host the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football. Mile High Report’s Christopher Hart takes a deeper look at this weekend’s gridiron battle.

NFL: New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos and New York Giants will face each other under the bright lights on Sunday Night Football. It will be the thirteenth time the two franchises have met historically. The overall series is dead even at 6-6, but the Broncos have won three of their last four meetings with the Giants — who may have the ultimate bragging rights in the head-to-head series based on their 39-20 victory in Super Bowl XXI.

Denver enters Sunday’s affair relatively healthy and sports an impressive 3-1 record, while the Giants are a desperate 0-5 team that has been devastated by injuries. The Giants’ top four receivers on their depth chart to begin the season won’t be playing on Sunday. Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris were all placed on injured reserve earlier in the week — and second-year pro Sterling Shepard won’t be suiting up either. That should make things much easier for the No Fly Zone and you can expect them to hold Eli Manning and the depleted Giants offense to minimal yardage through the air.

Just when Giants fans thought it couldn’t get any worse, their injury report developed to something akin to an infirmary list. New York will also be without their starting center Weston Richburg, starting running back Paul Perkins and several other players. It’s never easy to come into Mile High and exit with a victory, and that task will be even harder with all the aforementioned key players on the sidelines for Sunday’s game.

If the Giants were a healthy team, I would be worried. However, they aren’t and I have relatively few concerns about the Broncos’ ability to defeat them. Even though New York is desperate for a victory, they are in complete disarray and seem to be a sure-fire bet to earn the top selection in next year’s NFL Draft if their dumpster fire of a season continues to endure. I suspect it will on Sunday.

Key Match Ups To Watch

Von Miller and Shaquil Barrett vs. Bobby Hart and Ereck Flowers

In four games this season, Miller and Barrett have combined for five sacks. That doesn’t seem that impressive, but they have had a ton of pressures and routinely graded out as some of the team’s best defensive players each week. Each of them have favorable match ups this weekend going against Hart and Flowers, who have graded out as one of the worst tackle tandems in the NFL.

In short, Miller and Barrett could have their best games of the season and rack up some eye-popping stats with great performances going up against sub-par tackles. Don’t be surprised to see both of them have multiple sacks against a team who has already given up 13 sacks to date. For perspective, Manning was only sacked 21 times in a full season last year. It’s time for Miller and Barrett to eat!

The No Fly Zone vs. The Giants’ Revamped Wide Receiver Corps

As previously mentioned, Manning will be without his top four receivers for this game. That will undoubtedly impact chemistry on the field and I expect a lot of miscommunication and issues to arise from that. Having all that firepower dormant is already a huge obstacle to overcome, but going up against the league’s best secondary in the No Fly Zone just compounds the problem into an almost improbable mountain to summit. Expect the Broncos’ secondary to make some big plays against a young and inexperienced receiver corps the Giants will be fielding this weekend.

Hart’s Prediction

I have no concerns about the Broncos imploding on Sunday. The only question I have is how well the offense will do against a porous Giants defense. The Broncos’ defense have been stalwarts against the run all season long, and with no viable weapons in their receiving game, I don’t see how the Giants are going to score enough points to beat Denver on Sunday.

This game could get ugly real quick. With the Broncos having an extra week to prepare off their bye week, I believe they will be firing on all cylinders in all phases of the game and earn a big victory. My bold prediction: touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams!

Broncos 34, Giants 13.