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Five things to know about the New York Giants

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs with the ball during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

The Washington Commanders are heading to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Giants in their second NFC East matchup of the season. Here are five things to know about the Commanders' next opponents.

1. Their starting QB remains unknown.

Regarding their lineup for this Sunday's matchup at MetLife Stadium, there's still a blinking unanswered question: Tyrod Taylor or Daniel Jones? 

Daniel Jones has been recovering from a neck injury since the Giants' game against the Miami Dolphins, and his recovery time has been in the air. He failed to practice last week and didn't play in the Giant's loss to the Buffalo Bills, but there's yet to be an update from the team on if he'll make an appearance in this Sunday's game. 

Last week, the Giants pulled in Taylor, who had a fair game with 200 yards on 36 completions. However, a few critical mistakes cost the Giants several opportunities that could've made a difference in a 14-9 loss. 

Jones was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday, so the Giants haven't completely ruled out the possibility of him playing on Sunday. Jones has been a problem with his arm and legs in previous matchups with Washington, so the Commanders will need to prepare as if they could see either him or Taylor. 

"They're both very qualified quarterbacks, but you also prepare for what they do and how they do it," said head coach Ron Rivera. "In our minds, we always expect to see their best. We're going to prepare for what they do the best.

The Washington Commanders got back to work on Wednesday as they began preparing for their Week 7 matchup with the New York Giants.

2. O-Line is making some changes.

The Giants' attempts at gluing together a breaking offensive line is almost as important as their quarterback questions. Two of their offensive tackles, Matt Peart and Andrew Thomas, missed last week's game and did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Starting center John Michael Schmitz Jr. is dealing with a shoulder injury, leaving Shane Lemieux to fill the shoes, and Evan Neal is nursing an ankle.

After waiving Jalen Mayfield and placing Joshua Ezeudu on IR, two spots opened on their 53-man roster. With all these critical injuries going into week 7, the Giants are scrambling to add the next line of depth to their offensive roster.

The Giants acquired guard Tyre Phillips off the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad. Phillips spent time with New York after two years with the Baltimore Ravens before joining the Eagles. Regardless of how much he plays, it will at least provide the Giants with some depth.

The Giants have also picked up tackle Joshua Miles from the Atlanta Falcons, who was a seventh-round pick for the Arizona Cardinals back in the 2019 draft. He spent three seasons with the Cardinals and appeared in a total of 17 games but failed to see any field action with the Falcons in 2022.

Due to the quick nature of these trades, New York isn't left with much time to acclimate Phillips and Miles to the team before Sunday's game. And while that leaves the Giants at an unpredictable crossroads come this Sunday, it should be a disadvantage the Commanders can capitalize on.

3. Darren Walker is a solid portion of their offensive playmaking.

Despite the overall lack of receiving and scoring drives for the 1-5 Giants this year, tight end Darren Walker has proven himself as an important asset.

Walker accounts for over 20% of the team's targets (41), yards (282) and red zone targets so far this season, which shows how much he's relied upon by the Giants' quarterbacks, regardless of who is lined up under center. Almost half of his yardage this season (110) has come after the catch, and he lead the team's pass-catchers in first down conversion.

With four receptions of at least 20 yards, Waller is certain to be part of the Giants' offensive gameplan, and if the Commanders hope to build on the success they had against the Falcons, they'll need to have an answer for him.

4. Injury, on injury, on injury.

Quarterback and offensive line aren't the only positions on the Giants' roster that have struggled with injuries.

Just as the Giants seem to pull together a healthy lineup and establish momentum as a team, another injury comes along and leaves coaches and players scrambling. All these changes leave little room for adjustment in a lineup and continue to worsen as the status of so many players remain in the air until gameday.

Without even watching Giants games, it's still abundantly clear they're seriously aching in the scoring department this season. In Week 6, the Giants had 18 players on their injury report, representing 34% of their active roster. This week's list is not as extensive, but 15 players is still a concerning number. Nine of the injured players are on offense, and kicker Graham Gano is also dealing with a left knee injury.

The frequent injuries and changing in lineup places them with a significantly low scoring average at just 11.8 points per game, second to last out of the entire league. Heading into this Sunday's game, the Commanders must emphasize the sense of inconsistency and underscoring that remains on the Giant's side of the ball.

5. It's a coin toss defense.

Like most other parts of the Giants roster, New York's defense is all over the place regarding what they can manage to execute weekly. Their defense is ranked 29th in the league, compared to Washington's spot at 20.

Despite having a higher ranking, the actual test will come down to who shows up more determined to win that day. The Giants have had games where they've let up 40 points but also managed to hold off the Buffalo Bills for a substantial portion of the game last week.

While the Giants lost to the Bills 14-9, the Commanders lost 37-3 to the same team just three weeks earlier.

New York and Washington are similar in terms of turnovers and yards allowed, meaning it will likely be another close matchup between the division foes. The Giants have given Washington problems for most of their games in the last four seasons, and last year's games ended in a tie and just an eight-point victory. If the Commanders want to come home 4-3, they must push an early strike on offense and hold sound defense through the fourth quarter.

Last week, Washington saw success with the repeated phrase "Do Your Job" throughout the practice facility. And while it seems like a clear message, it resonated with players enough that they came through with their 24-16 road win against the Atlanta Falcons.

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