There will be several New York Giants players to keep an eye on when they take on the Steelers on Monday Night Football in the season opener.
We’re just hours away from the New York Giants season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the coaching debut of Joe Judge.
It’s difficult to predict what we’ll see this year from Big Blue on Monday night as they have several new faces on the team both in personnel and the coaching staff. Monday’s game against the Steelers will be a good barometer on what we can expect for them Giants this season.
It will take a total team effort if the Giants are going to pull off the upset and defeat the Steelers. But there will be several players to keep an eye on that will go a long way in determining the Giants success on Monday, and the rest of the season.
One of the reasons there’s optimism that the Giants offensive line will be better this season is because of fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas. Giants brass is hopeful he’ll be protecting Daniel Jones’ blindside for the next decade.
The left tackle will get a tough first test as he’ll have to go up against T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree. The duo of Watt and Dupree accounted for 26 sacks last season.
You would expect the rookie Thomas to have difficulties keeping Watt and Dupree off of Jones. But if Thomas can hold his own, it will show the Gettleman made the right move in taking him with the fourth pick.
If there’s one corner that Giants fans feel confident in it’s James Bradberry. The 27-year-old played his first four seasons with the Carolina Panthers and was a solid corner.
He’s a good corner but was never considered great, and some are labeling him as a shutdown corner. The expectation is he’ll be asked to cover Ben Roethlisberger’s number one target JuJu Smith- Schuster. If Bradberry can get the better of Smith-Schuster when these two are matched up, it will bode well for Big Blue.
The free-agent linebacker is not only one of the team captains but he is also the quarterback of the defense. He’s expected to help a run defense that gave up an average of 113.3 yards on the ground last year.
The Steelers will try to establish their ground game with running back James Conner and have a balanced attack on offense. Martinez will play a pivotal role in shutting down the Steelers’ ground game and try to make them a one-dimensional offense.
Nick Gates will make his first start at center on Monday against one of the best defensive front sevens in football. There have been some botched exchanges between him and Jones this summer which is something the Giants can’t afford to have happen against the Steelers.
There are obvious concerns of an inexperienced center going up against an aggressive front seven. If the Giants are going to have any hope of winning the battle of the line of scrimmage they’ll need for Gates to play well.
Ryan was a late addition to the Giants this summer but he will see a ton of action on Monday night. Ryan has the skillset to play slot corner, safety, and on the outside.
The experience Ryan brings was a much-needed addition to the Giants’ young secondary. He’ll be lined up from time to time against Smith-Schuster, and will try to prevent Smith-Schuster and the rest of the Steelers receivers from making plays downfield.
The Giants are hoping the third-year linebacker makes leaps in his production this season. He was one of the players that stood out in the Giants’ first Blue and White scrimmage this summer, and now they’re counting on him to produce when it counts.
If he can beat the Steelers tackles off the edge and consistently pressure Roethlisberger, the Giants defense will be better than most expect.