- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The results of the early games in the NFC East were not great for the New York Giants, who now need to win this game against the Saints in order to maintain their division lead. Their best-case scenario for coming out of this week is a one-game lead over both the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, each of whom won with final-play field goals. And while the first half has been halting and frustrating at times, the Giants scored on an Eli Manning touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon just before halftime to take a 21-13 lead into the locker room.
It's been a weird game. The Saints scored a touchdown on a 73-yard interception return by Elbert Mack. David Wilson ran the ensuing kickoff back for a Giants touchdown. The Saints have turned the ball over twice, and thanks to that and Wilson's 227 kick-return yards, the Giants' average starting field position is the New Orleans 49-yard line. So while the 21 points are nice, you can't escape the feeling that they could and should have had more. The Giants are just 1-for-5 on third-down conversions and have four penalties for a total of 30 yards.
The Saints (six penalties for 50 yards to go with their two turnovers) are doing what they can to help out the Giants, but New York has only 13 rushing yards on eight carries and needs to find a way to extend drives and control the clock if it wants to put away this home game against a sub-.500 team. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw left the game at one point with a knee injury but returned, as did wide receiver Victor Cruz in spite of what looked to be a shoulder injury. So they have their players. They just need to get the offense going. The touchdown drive that ended the first half could indicate that that's what will happen.
One other note: Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes entered the week as the leading field goal kicker in the NFL. But he missed a 43-yarder in the Giants one-point loss in Washington on Monday night, and he missed a 36-yarder in the second quarter of this game. Tynes is a Super Bowl champion whose made the biggest kicks imaginable, but you don't like to see a trend like that starting at this time of year.