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Saturday, September 25, 2010
Giants defense has something to prove

By Ian Begley

Which Giants defense will show up against Chris Johnson and the Titans on Sunday?

Will it be the unit that limited Carolina's dangerous rushing combo of Jonathan Stewart and D'Angelo Williams to 74 yards on 21 carries in the Giants' 31-18 Week 1 win?

Or the group that allowed the normally pass-happy Colts to rush for 163 yards in an embarrassing 38-14 loss last Sunday night?

Linebacker Michael Boley stopped short of calling Sunday a statement game for the Giants defense, but he knows they have to right the ship against the run to be successful.

"I don’t want to say, 'Make a statement,' but definitely [we want to] show everybody we're better than we were last week," Boley said on Friday. "We let a team like Indy, who predominantly throws the ball, to come in and rush for above 150 on us. When you put that on film, other teams look at that and say, 'Oh, they ran the ball. Maybe we can run the ball on them.'"

You can bet that's what the Titans are thinking.

Johnson was held to just 34 yards on 16 carries last week against Pittsburgh, ending a streak of consecutive 100-yard games at 12. He'll certainly be hungry to start a new streak against the Giants, who after two games rank 24th out of 32 teams in rushing yards allowed per game (124.5).

Linebacker Jonathan Goff said the team didn't learn of any technical advantages to employ against Johnson from the Pittsburgh game.

"They just came in and played real physical football," Goff said of the Steelers.

And Goff knows the Giants have to be just as physical and disruptive if they want to slow Johnson, who set an NFL-record with 2,509 yards from scrimmage in 2009, including 2,006 on the ground.

Goff, like Boley, looks at Sunday as an opportunity for the Giants defense to establish an identity.

"Anytime game day rolls around, that’s an opportunity," Goff said on Friday. "It’s an opportunity ... to showcase your talents as a team and to establish yourself and your identity. We want to play Giant football and Giant defense."