new york giants xavier mckinney tae crowder graham gano
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

New York Giants rookie safety Xavier McKinney is poised to make his NFL debut Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Although the New York Giants defense has played well this season, the best might be yet to come. On Saturday, the organization activated safety Xavier McKinney and linebacker Tae Crowder off injured reserve.

McKinney will make his long-awaited NFL debut Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. The rookie was the team’s second-round draft choice this year and was on injured reserve since Sept. 6 after fracturing his foot in training camp.

The versatile McKinney is expected to join a safety rotation that includes Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, and second-year man Julian Love.

Crowder, who was one of the Giants’ four seventh-round draft choices this year, played in five of the team’s first six games (two starts). He recorded 18 tackles (nine solo), but his most significant contribution was the go-ahead 43-yard scoop-and-score executed in the Week 6 win over Washington.

Unfortunately, Crowder injured his hamstring in that game and hasn’t played since.

In another move, placekicker Graham Gano was activated off the Reserve/Covid-19 list. Gano, who’s been fantastic for the Giants this year (21-for-22 on field-goal attempts, 16-for-16 on extra-point attempts), was placed on the list during the team’s bye week.

Prior to the activation of McKinney, Crowder, and Gano, the Giants were 6.0-point favorites over the Bengals at DraftKings Sportsbook. However, it’s safe to say their odds will improve knowing these three players will be on the field.

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.