Giants: 2nd-year safety has huge opportunity in Week 18

New York Giants safety Dane Belton (24) intercepts a pass intended for Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (15) during the second half at MetLife Stadium
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will be shorthanded in the secondary on Sunday after shutting down their starting safety ahead of the regular season finale. Jason Pinnock’s absence from the lineup paves the way for second-year safety Dane Belton to play a more prominent role on Sunday, giving him a huge opportunity to prove his value before the offseason.

Dane Belton is in line to start for the Giants in Week 18

After a breakout Week 17 performance, Belton has an opportunity to build on his strong outing this weekend. Last week, Belton snagged two interceptions and recovered one fumble while adding two tackles against the Los Angeles Rams.

Despite being on the field for only 22% of the Giants’ defensive snaps this season, Belton has managed to make his presence felt. He’s received limited playing time through the first two seasons of his career, having been on the field for only 621 total snaps (39% in 2022). But whenever he is on the field, Belton finds a way to make an impact.

Belton has a knack for getting his hands on the football. He’s already recorded four interceptions and three fumble recoveries in his career as the 23-year-old defensive back is always in the right place at the right time.

In a starting role in Week 18, Belton will have no shortage of opportunities to get his hands on the football again. Belton will receive increased playing time this weekend and have a chance to prove to the coaching staff that he deserves to play a larger role in the defense next season.