the Giants are in all sorts of trouble heading into Monday night's game in the Superdome.
The Saints, behind Drew Brees, have an ultra-powerful offense, which can only be helped by the fact that linebacker Michael Boley will miss his second game with a strained hamstring. And offensively, running back Ahmad Bradshaw has been ruled out again with that cracked bone in his foot.
Add that to another line shift caused by LT Will Beatty's detached retina, and there's going to be a lot of rattling around on both offense and defense in New Orleans.
Mostly on defense, though. With fast Darren Sproles and a strong tight end in Jimmy Graham, whose career-high six touchdowns, second-ranked 62 catches, and fifth-ranked 873 receiving yards puts him ahead of some very good wide receivers in the league.
Again, it will be left for Mathias Kiwanuka and his rookie linebacking mates -- Jacquian Williams, Mark Herzlich, Spencer Paysinger, and Greg Jones to close off those seam and under routes.
"That’s a tough matchup for us," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "Our young linebackers have to grow up real fast. We’ve been emphasizing that to them all this week. The speed of the play, the speed of the game, the way we think and the way we approach them, we have to play at a very fast and high level of football in order to be successful."
One should also remember that nickelback Michael Coe is out, which will place more emphasis on Prince Amukamara to step up. And with Justin Tuck still struggling with his neck and groin, Osi Umenyiora and the rest of the front will have to do a better job pressuring Brees than they did last week against Vince Young.
Offensively, Brandon Jacobs will have to step up, if only to allow the Giants to control the ball and keep Brees off the field.
A track meet is something the Giants can ill-afford.
"You’re going to play out every game as it unfolds," offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. "If it turns into that, then hopefully we’ll play in a way that allows us to keep pace.
"But I have confidence that our defense will be competitive and will slow (Brees)down and keep the game in a style that we find manageable. And we can contribute to that, too, by holding onto the ball and doing it a little bit more effectively than we did last week, hopefully more like we did in San Francisco, where we did a phenomenal job of holding onto the ball."