The NFC is wide open in terms of playoff spots, and the Detroit Lions have now signed themselves into the mix for a wildcard after dominating the New York Giants 31-18 for their third straight win.
It was a cold and windy day in East Rutherford, NJ, so the Lions beat the Giants at their own game: running the football. Jamaal Williams was the man who sped down New York with three touchdowns, a career high, in his 17 carries for 64 yards, mostly at the goal line.
However, Justin Jackson led the rushing with 66 yards on nine carries, while D’Andre Swift capped the win with a touchdown run.
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With the Giants, Saquon Barkley was the polar opposite of productive. He ran for more than 100 yards with more than 30 carries against the Houston Texans last week, but Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn knew exactly how to stop him on Sunday.
Barkley had nowhere to go and finished the game with just 22 yards on 15 carries. The Giants tried to turn things around by including quarterback Daniel Jones in the run as he had seven carries for 50 yards and the game’s first touchdown in the first quarter.
But ultimately, the Lions wanted Jones to beat them by throwing the ball, and the Giants were forced to do that. Jones couldn’t get the job done.
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He had the second-longest streak in the NFL of pass attempts without an interception that game, but he threw two picks to break them, and one of those was a total game changer.
The Giants led 6-3 after the first quarter (Graham Gano missed the first of his two botched extra point attempts the day after Jones’ precipitous goal), but the tables were turned when Aidan Hutchinson, the Lions’ second overall, turned the tables flipped Pick, who was a stud all season despite his team record, snuck back into coverage and took out Jones to create a chance for Detroit in the red zone.
Jared Goff and the Lions conceded when Williams scored his first touchdown of the game to make it 10-6. Williams would score again on the Lions’ next drive after the Giants were forced to stab and boos were heard from the crowd as Big Blue slammed into the dressing room 17-6.
But even more draining for the Giants was an easy nine-play drive for the Lions early in the second half, in which Williams counted his touchdowns in the end zone with Goff, throwing up three fingers and creating a deficit that would be tough for the Giants come back from
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Six of the Giants’ seven wins came through comebacks in the fourth quarter, and Jones made things interesting as he drove down the field and saw Matt Breida rush home the team’s second touchdown to make it 24-12 after Gano had missed his second point after a try.
Detroit poked at the next drive, but the killer of a potential comeback is always bad time turnover, and that came from wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who fumbled and Hutchinson regained it.
The Lions would benefit again when Swift got his touchdown. And although the Giants scored on the next drive on a 9-yard shot from Jones’ Richie James, there wasn’t enough time to avoid the upset.
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To make matters worse for Big Blue, cornerback Adoree’ Jackson was shut out in the first half after sustaining a knee injury on a punt return — a hot topic this week as the Giants are thin at cornerback. And Wan’Dale Robinson, who had a breakout play with 100 receiving yards in nine catches, clung to his knee after his last catch in the second half and was also shut out.
Jones would finish with a season-high 341 through-air yards on 27 for 44 with a touchdown and two interceptions. Kenny Golladay had as many catches this game as he had all season, catching two for 29 yards.
Goff didn’t have to throw too much thanks to solid running game, going 17 of 26 for 165 yards, with Amon-Ra St. Brown as always his favorite person to throw at with seven catches and 76 yards.
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Both teams have Thanksgiving games ahead of them against impressive opponents. The Lions will get the early game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday and the Giants will travel to Dallas for a key matchup between NFC East and the Cowboys.