The New York Giants will play their first regular-season game of the 2020 NFL season next Monday. The Giants will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in this highly-anticipated Week One matchup.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is entering his second NFL season, coming off of an impressive rookie campaign. As impressive as Jones was as a rookie, he made plenty of mistakes. There were peaks and valleys for the Duke alum, his biggest flaw being his fumbling issue. Jones fumbled the ball 18 times in only 13 games (one game being one drive that ended in a fumble).
The Giants did everything they could do fix this problem this offseason. They hired an excellent quarterbacks coach in Jerry Schuplinski, a wise offensive coordinator in Jason Garrett, and totally revamped the offensive line. Additionally, Daniel Jones worked hard himself to improve his ball security, even adding nine pounds of muscle.
All eyes will be on Daniel Jones during the Giants’ primetime matchup with Pittsburgh. Daniel will go up against a tough Steelers defense that will challenge him and put him to the test to start his sophomore season.
A Challenging Steelers Defense
The Pittsburgh Steelers had the NFL’s sixth-ranked defense in 2019. They forced a league-high 38 turnovers last season. In order for the Giants to win this game, they need to keep the ball out of harm’s way.
There are a few playmakers on that Pittsburgh defense. T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick are the two biggest standouts. In 2019, T.J. Watt was a first-team All-Pro, as he had a career-year in his third professional season. Watt played in all 16 games, racking up a dominant 14.5 sacks and a league-high 8 forced fumbles.
Watt’s knack for poking the football loose is troubling news for Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense. New York needs to slow down T.J. Watt if they want to start the season off with a win. The best fumble-forcing edge rusher in the NFL is going up against the most fumble-prone quarterback. This could be a recipe for disaster if Daniel Jones does not demonstrate the improved ball security that has been promised.
Minkah Fitzpatrick is the other turnover machine on the Steelers’ defense. In 2019, the Steelers acquired Fitzpatrick via trade with the Miami Dolphins. Minkah started 14 games for the Steelers and was an absolute ballhawk. Minkah forced 6 turnovers in 2019, including 5 interceptions and 1 forced fumble. He even scored 2 defensive touchdowns, one on a pick-six and the other off of a recovered fumble.
Interceptions were not a huge problem for Daniel Jones in his rookie season. Jones threw 12 interceptions, which is an average of one per game. Of course, Jones would like to lower that average further, but for a rookie, that was a respectable number.
Daniel Jones faced some tough defenses in 2019. He will face another one to kick off the 2020 season. It will be a tough test for the second-year gunslinger, but if he can protect the football, it will bode well for the team’s season.