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Lex: Giants (5-1) Week Six MVP; Week Seven Will These Three “Step It Up”?

The Giants have gotten some strong performances, which has helped the team jump out to its 5-1 start. Here are three players to watch in this weekend’s matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Let’s also give some credit to last week’s rookie who shined to help Big Blue to secure the victory.

One surprising player from week six against the Baltimore Ravens is a rookie tight end, Daniel Bellinger. During last week’s win over Baltimore, Bellinger caught all five of his targets for 38 yards and a touchdown. Bellinger was on the field for 94 percent of the offensive snaps (61 snaps) and earned a 76.0 overall grade, including a 74.5 mark on 28 run block plays.

“He’s got a knack for getting open, finding space, and making key plays for us,” Jones said. “He deserves a lot of credit. We’ll continue to try to get him the ball and let him make those plays.”

Giants Players to Watch For in Week Seven

“I think that’s the beauty of our staff is that it’s a melting pot staff from a bunch of different teams and have a ton of experience,” said Kafka. “The collaboration part of that is – you might see a look, present it to the staff and someone might already have experience in that and kind of know maybe the bones are buried on the play, whether good or bad. Then, you can prepare, show, or add something from someone else. That’s been the best part about this staff is these guys are super creative and they’re really collaborative as far as the knowledge and breadth of football they know.”

Saquon Barkley

The Giants‘ offense has looked solid this season, and a big reason why has been because of Barkley’s breakout start. In 119 attempts (most in the league), Barkley has rushed for 616 yards (second in the league), with four touchdowns and only one fumble to his name (which wasn’t lost).

Saquon has provided Jones with a great set of hands out of the flat and has embraced his safety-outlet receiving role, leading the team in targets (26) and receptions (21) for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

This week G-Men is facing one of the toughest run defenses he’s come across this season. To give you an idea, the Jaguars are third in rushing yards allowed per game (89.3) and third in rush yards per play (3.57). Besides the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers, no other defense in the league is better at stopping the run than the Jaguars.

Following a dreadful performance against the Eagles in Week four, where they allowed 210 rushing yards on the day, the Jaguars’ run defense has fared significantly better. In their loss to Houston in Week 5, they conceded 116 yards before delivering an even better performance against a Jonathan Taylor-less Colts offense last Sunday, where they gave up just 45 rushing yards and made Matt Ryan throw the ball 58 times.

Saquon Barkley will need to produce his best work if the Giants stand a chance to win on the road.

Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal

Ever since allowing a season-high in pressures against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 (27), the Giants’ offensive line has improved significantly, particularly their offensive tackle tandem in Andrew Thomas and rookie Evan Neal.

In week three against the Cowboys, Neal allowed five pressures, which included three sacks. Since then, he’s allowed as many pressures and only one sack throughout the last three games.

On the other hand, Thomas has been resilient following the Giants’ loss against Dallas and didn’t allow a single pressure until last Sunday (he conceded two). In addition, Thomas has also yet to allow a single sack on the season.

“I think our guys are playing great up front,” said quarterback Daniel Jones when asked how he feels the offensive line is doing so far. “We’ve played a lot of really good rushes, a lot of good players, a lot of good edge rushers, and done well. We’ve got a lot of confidence in our guys to handle them.”

When Daniel Jones said them, he was referring to the fearsome pass-rushing tandem both Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal need to contain in Josh Allen and the first overall pick, rookie Travon Walker. Josh Allen has 23 pressures and three sacks, while Travon Walker has 12 and one sack on the season, each posing dangerous one-on-one matchups for the Giants’ two tackles.

“They’re really good,” said Jones. “Really talented and can affect the game. Can get to the passer and stop the run as well. Those are two really good players, and we’ll have the plan to handle them.”

Dexter Lawrence

The hottest player on this Giants’ defense is none other than defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. The 24-year-old has lived up to his potential this season, leading the team in both sacks (4) and pressures (22).

His dominance was exemplified last Sunday when Dexter Lawrence steamrolled former Giants guard Kevin Zeitler for his fourth sack of the season.

This week, Dexter will be tested again against a formidable Jaguars offensive line that is 5th in the league in pass-blocking efficiency (88.9) and has only conceded five sacks. This Jaguars offensive line has all the tools they need to bottle up Lawrence and could make it tough for him to keep up his hot start.

Amongst the interior of their offensive line, the Jaguars have All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff, a familiar foe from his time with the Washington Commanders. Since Week 1 against his former team, Scherff hasn’t conceded a single sack and could be tasked with keeping Lawrence in check on Sunday. If so, Dexter Lawrence will need to deliver similar performance, if not better than last week, if he aims to keep his sack streak intact.

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Giants Gridiron Affiliate Reebok

“It's fun coming to work every single day” Ride along with Wink Martindale 🎥: — New York Giants (@Giants) October 20, 2022



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