The New York Giants traveled to London, England today in preparation for their Week 5 matchup with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday morning. The 3-1 Giants will face off against the 3-1 Packers at 9:30 a.m. EST. As the Giants look to improve their record to 4-1, they will need to focus in on five key factors to secure the victory over the Packers.
Let Saquon Barkley feast
The MVP of the New York Giants’ season so far is undoubtedly superstar running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley carried the team to victory in Week One with a stupendous performance featuring 194 total yards from scrimmage and one touchdown. The Giants’ running back currently leads the NFL in rushing yards (463) and total yards from scrimmage (570).
If the Giants want to fly away from London 4-1, they need to feed Saquon Barkley. In the Week Four win over the Chicago Bears, Barkley received a career-high 31 carries. Continuing to run the offense through Saquon will give the Giants the best chance at victory.
Apply pressure to Aaron Rodgers
Last week, the Giants got a boost in the pass-rushing department as Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari returned to the lineup. Ojulari was ruled out for this week’s matchup, but the Giants are getting a boost this week as well as Leonard Williams seems ready to play against the Packers. Williams is listed as questionable but there is optimism that he suits up.
Dexter Lawrence has been a dominant pass-rusher on the interior for the New York Giants. He recorded eight pressures and two sacks against the Bears last week. On the year, Lawrence has totaled 15 pressures. If his dominant level of play continues, Dexter will make an impact in the team’s Week Five matchup against the Packers.
The Green Bay Packers’ wide receivers have been struggling this season, making life tough for Aaron Rodgers. The last thing the Giants want is for Rodgers to have all day to stand in the pocket, delivering passes to wide-open receivers. Considering the lack of talent that the Packers have in their receiving corps, the Giants should force the ball out of Rodgers’s hands quickly, forcing his wide receivers to make tough, untimely, and contested receptions.
Slow down Aaron Jones
A bright spot on the Green Bay Packers’ offense this season has been star running back Aaron Jones. He has rushed for 327 yards on 48 carries with one touchdown. He has also made an impact as a receiver out of the backfield with 12 receptions for 81 yards and one touchdown.
The New York Giants’ defense has done a solid job slowing down opposing running backs this season. For example, Derrick Henry was limited to only 82 rushing yards in the Giants’ Week One Win. Pressuring Aaron Rodgers will force the Packers to run their offense through Aaron Jones instead. The New York Giants need to ensure that Jones is held in check and does not have a breakout performance to propel his team to victory.
Utilize the tight ends
Despite an injury suffered in last week’s matchup, Daniel Jones is expected to start this Sunday. Jones has not had an impressive season statistically thus far. He has only totaled 631 passing yards and three passing touchdowns this season (though, he has added 84 yards and two touchdowns on the ground). Two of Daniel Jones’s three passing touchdowns were caught by tight ends.
Daniel Jones demonstrates a particular comfortability when targeting tight ends. Daniel Bellinger has started the year as TE1 after being drafted by the Giants in the fourth round of this year’s draft. So far, he has been targeted nine times, catching eight passes for 79 yards and one touchdown. Bellinger has been solid as a receiver and as a run-blocker. A breakout performance could be on the way.
Open lanes for Saquon and protect Daniel Jones
The New York Giants’ offensive line has been woefully inconsistent this year. Across the line, the team has dealt with injuries, rookie growing pains, and flat-out poor performances from their veterans. Of course, Andrew Thomas is exonerated from such negative criticisms, as the Giants’ third-year left tackle has dominated the 2022 season. Thomas is the highest-graded player in the NFL by PFF this season with an overall grade of 92.1, allowing only six pressures and zero sacks through four weeks.
Other than Andrew Thomas, the New York Giants’ offensive line has struggled immensely. Daniel Jones is already hobbled with an ankle injury, so protecting him is of the utmost importance. In the running game, the front line also needs to improve. Saquon Barkley’s 2022 season is off to a historic start. However, the offensive line has done little to help Barkley achieve his feats. According to PFF, Barkley has rushed for 342 yards after contact this season. Saquon is making plays happen, but the New York Giants’ offense will run more efficiently if the offensive line can help create yardage for Barkley.