Coming off an up-and-down Week 1, the New York Giants take their preseason act on the road in Week 2 when they take on the Detroit Lions.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY—After three days of joint practices, the New York Giants and Detroit Lions will face each other Friday night at Ford Field in the teams’ second preseason game.
The Giants are coming off a 20-10 loss to the Browns last week. The first team offense played two series and the defensive starters played three series.
We’re less than 36 hours until kickoff and the playing status of Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. is unknown at this time.
But even if Manning, OBJ and Barkley don’t play, there are still several things to watch for in Friday night’s game.
1. The play of Davis Webb
On Monday in the team’s final practice before they traveled to Detroit, backup quarterback Davis Webb took all of the snaps with the first team offense. This would lead you to believe that Webb could start on Friday or at least play some snaps with the first team offense.
Davis Webb throws a TD to OBJ in 11 on 11. @EliteSportsNY #GiantsPride #NYG #GiantsCamp pic.twitter.com/hSGi8QEh4k
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) August 13, 2018
After completing just 9-of-22 passes for 70 yards against the Browns, it’s imperative to Webb and his psyche he performs much better against the Lions. Look for the Giant to have Webb start off by throwing short and safe passes to boost his confidence.
2. Curtis Riley
When the Giants released their first unofficial depth chart, Curtis Riley was listed on top of the deep chart at free safety. However, he was unable to play against the Browns due to injury, so Friday will be his first time in the starting lineup for the Giants.
Riley was asked about his mindset heading into Friday’s preseason game.
“I just have to come into it as a practice, same as practice. Everything I do in practice is translated into the game. It makes the game easier if I’m doing all the right things in practice.”
The Giants pass defense struggled last week giving up 333 receiving yards. It will be interesting to see how the pass defense fares with Riley in the lineup.
3. The pass rush
Just as the pass defense struggled last week, so did the pass rush as it was non-existent against the Browns. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher will save most of his exotic blitz schemes for the regular season, but you can be sure he’ll call up blitz packages to pressure Matthew Stafford and the rest of the Lions quarterbacks.
4. What will the running backs do for an encore?
Even If Barkley does play, it will be on a limited basis which will give more opportunities for the other Giants running backs to showcase their talents.
Giants running backs working on their blocking technique with coach Johnson. #GiantsPride #NYG pic.twitter.com/6WUKNEqFKj
— Jason Leach (@JasonKLeach) August 7, 2018
Last week the Giants running backs were one of the bright spots for the Giants as Wayne Gallman, Jalen Simmons and undrafted rookie Robert Martin all got involved in the running and passing game.
Veteran Jonathan Stewart and Wayne Gallman will see the bulk of the snaps with the first team offense if Barkley doesn’t play and Simmons and Martin will see significant time beginning in the second quarter as they try to earn a roster spot.
5. Which wide receiver will stand out?
One of the downsides to Webb’s performance against the Browns was that he was unable to get the ball downfield to his wide receivers.
The Giants have a ton of wide receiver talent outside of the top three on the depth chart of OBJ, Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer. But they were unable to make impact plays to help their chances of making the final roster.
Hunter Sharp, Roger Lewis Jr, Amba Etta-Tawo, Kalif Raymond, Russell Shepard and Alonzo Russell have all made plays during training camp. Now they’re looking to make plays in the preseason and standout as they’re all vying for a roster spot.