EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Recent history suggests that the Week 2 game between the New York Giants and the visiting New Orleans Saints is destined to be a scoring shoot-out, considering that the winner has never scored fewer than 48 points in the series.
But this is a new year with both teams having made some significant changes on the defensive side of the ball.
The Giants of course went on a massive offseason spending spree to upgrade their defense from back to front.
The Saints meanwhile changed defensive coordinators, hiring Dennis Allen to replace Rob Ryan.
They also lost cornerback Delvin Breaux to broken leg, which means they will have to turn to an inexperienced trio of cornerbacks that include second-year cornerback P.J. Williams, and rookies Ken Crawley and De'Vante Harris.
Despite the elements seemingly favoring the home team Giants, both head coach Ben McAdoo and the players stressed that last year is last year and is in no way an indication of what's to come on Sunday.
"You play the game as it unfolds," McAdoo said. "Offensively, they're very productive in their explosive plays. They have a lot of explosiveness. Over 15 percent of their plays defensively, they're over 14 percent of their plays they give up explosives on. We're going to play the game as it unfolds. It's about execution in all three phases."
Added wide receiver Victor Cruz: "You never know how these things turn out. Obviously, last time we played them it was definitely a shootout, so we just want to go out there and be efficient offensively and make sure that we are making the most of our possessions because, as you know, they can score and they can score in bunches."
One of the biggest challenges for the Giants will be trying to stop the ageless Drew Brees from generating big passing yardage against them.
A strength of Brees' has been getting the ball out of his hand quickly. Last season, the Saints allowed the eighth fewest sacks in the league (32) tying them with the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals.
This year, the Saints allowed one sack, but that didn't stop Brees from throwing for 423 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-34 loss at home against Oakland.
"Drew is a very talented player, very smart," McAdoo said. "He uses all his players and the whole field wisely. He does some things to challenge you schematically and in empty formations. He distributes the ball well. You have to defend the whole field.
"They have all shapes and sizes at the skill positions. They have speed, size, they can finesse you and play with physicality. They do a nice job with their skill players."
Brees also depends a great deal on timing patterns with his receivers, something McAdoo conceded is one way to stop the Saints' aerial attack.
"There's some different things you can do to disrupt timing and that's one of them," he said.
"They've got some options (at receiver), but I think we in the Giants defensive secondary feel like we can match up," added cornerback Janoris Jenkins. "We got Eli Apple and (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) and I think we can match up across the board with anybody so long as we play within the system and play within the scheme."
On the other side of the ball, the Giants, who had to have been pleased with the 150 yards of production they got from receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard, must be licking their chops at the thought of facing the Saints' inexperienced depth in the secondary.
If they are, they're playing it cool.
"The youth at corner -- they're scrappy, young players," McAdoo said. "We like our receivers and we feel that we match up very well there. Again, we need to respect them. We need to go through the week of practice and we need to be able to handle anything they throw at us schematically."
The key, according to Cruz, is to respect the opponent, regardless of their experience.
"They got drafted and they are in this league for a reason," Cruz said. "They have some talent, so you have to be able to understand that and prepare the same way that you would prepare for any other team."
So how do the Giants receivers approach the Saints young corners?
"Just be disciplined in our route running," Cruz said. "Not getting too excited because they have a lot of young guys playing this week, not getting too conscious or focused on that and just going about your business the way you do every week.
"Just going out there, executing your routes, making sure your route running is crisp and up to par and the rest will take care of itself."