Giants prepared to get one key defensive piece back for Wild Card game

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New York Giants cornerback Adoree' Jackson (22) recovers the ball on a Carolina Panther turnover during an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in East Rutherford. Nfl Ny Giants Vs Carolina Panthers Panthers At Giants

The New York Giants‘ defense has not been the same without starting cornerback Adoree’ Jackson on the field. Jackson has been out of the lineup since suffering a knee injury in Week 11. The Giants’ secondary has struggled during Jackson’s absence. With one meaningless regular season game left on the schedule, the Giants are starting to turn their attention toward the postseason. Thankfully, Adoree’ Jackson is likely to make his return just in time for the Giants’ Wild Card game.

Adoree’ Jackson is the key to the Giants’ defense

Adoree’ Jackson returned to practice in a limited fashion last week but ultimately did not play in the blowout victory over the Colts. There is a chance Jackson is ready to return in Week 18, however, with a playoff spot already clinched, the Giants may opt to rest their starters. Considering Jackson is still recovering from an injury, the team would be wise to keep him sidelined until the postseason begins.

The Giants have been without Adoree’ Jackson for six games. During that stretch, the team went 2-3-1. Jackson is the team’s primary cornerback and one of the leaders on the defense. When describing Adoree’ Jackson to the New York Post, wide receiver Darius Slayton said, “I don’t think it can be overstated how much he means to our team, even beyond being a player, just a personality out there. We miss him for sure, and hopefully he’s able to go soon.”

Jackson started the first ten games of the season for the Giants. He did not snag an interception during that time, but he did record seven passes defended, 51 combined tackles, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. He was also having a career-year from a coverage standpoint.

In 10 games this season, Adoree’ Jackson was targeted 60 times. He let up only 31 receptions (career-best 51.7%) for 398 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, Jackson missed only three tackles, posting a career-best 5.6% missed tackle rate.

In comparison, the Giants’ top cornerback since Jackson left the lineup has been Fabian Moreau. He has let up a 59% completion percentage, 553 yards, and five touchdowns in 11 starts this season.

No matter who the Giants face in their Wild Card matchup, they will need Adoree’ Jackson to line up against a dynamic receiving option. In all likelihood, the Giants’ first playoff matchup will be against the Minnesota Vikings, led by the NFL’s leading receiver Justin Jefferson. If the Giants face the 49ers, then Jackson will still need to man-mark an elite weapon in Deebo Samuel (if he is healthy and plays) or Brandon Aiyuk. Having Adoree’ Jackson back in the lineup will be crucial for the New York Giants this postseason.