Manning, wideouts on high alert Sunday

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
5:19
PM ET
The Buffalo Bills lead the NFL in turnover differential (+11) and interceptions (12) this season -- meaning the Giants better be extra careful with the ball Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

"Outstanding football team, playing very well," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin of the Bills on Wednesday. "They are doing a lot of really good things, and deserve to be 4-1."

The Giants (3-2) are coming off an extremely disappointing 36-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, in which they committed five turnovers, including three Eli Manning interceptions. Both Coughlin and Manning stressed Wednesday that the quarterback and his receivers have to be on the same page Sunday.

"You've gotta have great communication between quarterback and receiver," Coughlin said. "It's gotta be decisive."

"They're very sound on defense," Manning said. "We just gotta make sure we're careful with the ball. Receivers watching it all the way in, myself throwing it in the right spots and being accurate, and making great reads."

Second-year wideout Victor Cruz has heard a lot about ball security this week, after a critical fumble against the Seahawks, plus his tipped pass that ended up being intercepted and returned for a touchdown to effectively end the game.

The tipped pass wasn't all Cruz's fault -- he slipped while making his cut on the play -- but the fumble was inexcusable.

"I just gotta make more of a conscious effort to keep the ball high and tight," Cruz said. "And make sure once I can't get any more yards to just get down and move on to the next play."

Fellow wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is definitely well aware of the Bills' tendency to create turnovers. "They fly around a lot, they got guys that are hungry and look like they wanna make plays," Nicks said. "We have to focus on our side of the ball, to make sure we're running our routes at the right depth, making sure we're down with the timing with Eli this week specifically."

Look for Cruz to be extra careful if and when he gets his hands on the ball Sunday. "We understand they are very aggressive and they like to jump routes, and not only jump them but get their hands in there and like to rip the ball out as soon as you catch it," Cruz said. "We have to make a point of emphasis of catching it and tucking it away as quick as possible."

If the Giants, who only had four turnovers in their first four games of the season prior to last week's loss, can protect the ball on Sunday, they should be in pretty good shape. Buffalo's defense is relinquishing 421.8 yards of offense per game, third-worst in the NFL.

"There'll definitely be big plays to be had," Nicks said. "It's just a matter of taking advantage of those big plays when the opportunities present themselves."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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