The Saints may be coming to MetLife Stadium averaging 34.6 points per game, but the Giants think they have one big edge to slowing them down.
Sunday will be the Saints’ first outdoor game this season after opening with two at home and beating the Falcons in Atlanta under a closed roof in Week 3. Even with a forecast calling for a perfect fall day with sunshine and temperatures in the 60s, the Giants feel like playing outside will be an ally.
“They’re a different team when they’re away,” safety Landon Collins said. “Their home-field advantage is taken away. They love being in that dome, it’s hard to win in that dome, and when they’re outside of it, it gives the other team a little advantage.”
The last two meetings between the Giants and the Saints speak to that disparity. In 2015, the Giants went to the Superdome and lost, 52-49, in an epic shootout that saw a number of offensive records fall. A year later, the Saints came to New Jersey and the Giants won, 16-13.
The numbers suggest that the Saints and Drew Brees play better indoors, whether at home or in someone else’s dome. In 121 games outdoors, Brees is 65-56 with 200 touchdowns and 107 interceptions. In 132 climate-controlled games, he is 79-53 with 296 touchdowns and 121 interceptions.
Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins said there is a noticeable difference “quarterback-wise, Brees, as far as throwing the ball and accuracy and all that” when he is under a natural sky as opposed to a roof.
Pat Shurmur, who coached the Vikings in a dome the last two seasons, downplayed the disparity.
“Some people have said that, they’re more explosive at home in the dome and all that,” he said. “I don’t know. They’re pretty explosive on offense … and you’re dealing with a guy that’s Drew Brees, who is one of the best.”
The geographical home team has won 10 of the past 11 meetings between the Giants and Saints going back to 1997 (the Giants, technically the visiting team, won at Giants Stadium in 2005, when the Saints were displaced by Hurricane Katrina).
Collins, who grew up in New Orleans, said he isn’t certain why the Saints are so much more difficult to beat when they are at home.
“I don’t think it’s the fans, I think it’s the atmosphere,” he said. “They’re at home, they know their stadium, they know the feel of their field and stuff like that.”
This week, though, the Giants will have that advantage.
Notes & quotes: LB Olivier Vernon was limited in practice Wednesday, his first action since suffering a high ankle sprain Aug. 26. He participated in individual drills during the portion of practice open to the media … The Giants had a long list of players who did not practice: CB Eli Apple (groin), DT Damon Harrison (knee), LB Connor Barwin (knee), TE Evan Engram (knee), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), WR Cody Latimer (knee) and RB Jonathan Stewart (foot) … RB Saquon Barkley was a full participant in practice but wore a sleeve on his right knee. He missed several snaps in Sunday’s game after taking a hit on that knee.