The Giants are refreshed and ready to go after enjoying their bye week away from the field, but now they’ll get ready to hit the stretch run of the NFL season this weekend against the Houston Texans.
New York may have suffered a loss to the Seattle Seahawks before the bye week, but they’ve gotten off to one of their best starts in quite some time at 6-2. The Giants remained quiet at the trade deadline and have essentially stated that if they make the postseason it will be with the roster they have now, give or take some minor tweaks.
The Texans are a team that the Giants are expected to be able to beat. However, nothing has been a given this season and the Giants have relied heavily on late-game rallies to pull out wins.
Here are three keys to the Giants’ game on Sunday against the Texans.
Houston Texans (1-6-1) at New York Giants (6-2)
- Location: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
- Time: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
- Channel: Fox
- Radio: WFAN 101.9 FM/660 AM, WADO 1280 AM (Spanish language)
- Spread: NYG -4.5
- Over/Under: 41 points
- Moneyline odds: HOU +195, NYG -230
The loss of Xavier McKinney
The Giants lost an important piece of their defensive unit over the bye week when Xavier McKinney suffered a hand injury in an ATV accident while on vacation. McKinney took responsibility for the situation during a media session on Tuesday, but on the field, the Giants will have to fill the void. McKinney is an important player on the defensive side of the ball serving as a signal caller and one of the team’s captains.
Dane Belton and Jason Pinnock are expected to step into McKinney’s role while he is out for at least the next four weeks. Julian Love will take over the signal caller role in the meantime as well.
“We have guys that can play, and we feel confident in,” head coach Brian Daboll said.
McKinney wass coming off a game against Seattle where he came up with a big sack on Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. He has 38 total tackles this season for the Giants, two tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, and four pass breakups.
The ground game
The Giants’ running game didn’t exactly light it up in their loss to the Seahawks and they’ll need that element in their game this Sunday against the Texans. New York’s success has been a credit to how well Saquon Barkley has played this season, but that being said he struggled a lot his last time out on the field with just 53 yards on 20 carries. The Texans are the perfect opponent for Barkley to rebound against since they’ve surrendered a league-high 180.6 rushing yards per game.
The success on the ground has become of paramount importance for the Giants, who are still operating with limited passing options for QB Daniel Jones.
On the flip side, New York will need to put forth a better effort at containing the Texans on the ground. The Gians’ 137.3 rushing yards per game against this season is the eighth highest in the NFL and Seattle running back Dameon Pierce is coming off a game where he rushed for 139 yards against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The receiving options have been a bit sparse for Jones this season. Still, the Giants have managed to pull together a very successful year so far. New York will get some receiver help back this weekend with Kenny Golladay expected to be back in the lineup after being since Oct. 2.
Now Golladay has not had the season that you would have liked to see out of him, but the extra receiving option for Jones isn’t a bad thing and this could be the game the wideout goes off. Houston isn’t exactly the best pass defense and with Darius Slayton the team’s top receiver, Golladay should be able to get plenty of catches in,