DeAndre Baker, Daniel Jones, Wayne Gallman
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

We should have a better feel for what kind of team the 2019 New York Giants will be when they play their third preseason game this Thursday.

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—The New York Giants will travel to Cincinnati Thursday night to take on the Bengals in their third preseason game. It’s the so-called “dress rehearsal” of the exhibition games that features starters usually playing into the second half.

After playing a good amount of rookies and backups the first two times around, head coach Pat Shurmur will have a better idea of where his team stands after Thursday night.

Here’s what you’ll need to pay attention to on Thursday night as the Week 1 game against the Dallas Cowboys approaches:

Which cornerbacks are able to suit up on Thursday?

The Giants have been dealing with injuries to their cornerbacks throughout training camp and the preseason. Second-year man Sam Beal has been dealing with a hamstring injury and rookie DeAndre Baker is dealing with a sprained knee. Additionally, Antonio Hamilton left last week’s game against the Chicago Bears with an injury to his groin.

We’ll find out shortly before kickoff which corners will suit up against Cincinnati. For whoever does suit up, it’s imperative that they see an extended amount of playing time. More importantly, it’s crucial they avoid any further injuries.

How will the offensive line look?

Up to this point, the revamped offensive line (with new additions of Kevin Zeitler and Mike Remmers) has looked impressive. Now, they’ll experience their first extended playing time together against a Bengals front seven that consists of Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.

This will be a great test for the front five to see if they can win the line of scrimmage battle. They’ll surely need some garnered confidence before they face the Cowboys front seven on Sept. 8.

Will the Giants be able to generate a pass rush again?

Last week against the Bears, the Giants defense registered three sacks. Albeit it came against backups, Shurmur was pleased with how the pass rush executed.

Defensive coordinator James Bettcher has an aggressive mentality. You can be sure that he’ll draw up schemes to go after the Bengals quarterbacks.

The question is, “Will Big Blue rush the passer as flawlessly this week as they did a week ago?”

The running back battle

Wayne Gallman seems to have a firm grasp on being the primary backup to Saquon Barkley. However, Paul Perkins, Rod Smith and Jon Hilliman have all shown flashes of play-making ability this summer.

If someone has a breakout game against the Bengals first-team defense, it’ll bode well for them towards making the team and perhaps give them a push towards snagging the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.

Could the starters play into the third quarter

As we mentioned, the starters typically play the first half in the third preseason game. But it might behoove the Giants if their starters play at least the first possession of the third quarter.

This will allow the players to better acclimate themselves with the regular season in terms of rehydrating during halftime and preparing to play in the second half.

Who will be the punt returner?

Throughout training camp and the preseason, the Giants have used several returners. These include individuals such as Jabrill Peppers, T.J. Jones, Brittan Golden and Darius Slayton. Whoever performs best on Thursday stands a good chance of becoming the team’s No. 1 punt returner.

Will Daniel Jones shine again?

Daniel Jones has been the team’s preseason MVP, completing 16 out of 19 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Aside from the numbers, the rookie has shown poise in the pocket and wasn’t rattled by the two earlier fumbles during last week’s matchup.

Thus far, even Jones’s detractors have to give him credit with how well he’s played.

But, with Eli Manning expecting to see significant playing time, you have to wonder how much Jones will see the field on Thursday night. Will he be able to keep up this level of play?

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.