Xavier McKinney
Syndication: The Record

The Giants’ defense has suffered a huge blow.

Safety Xavier McKinney will be out “a few weeks” after suffering a hand injury while riding an ATV during the bye week. The star defender fessed up to his mistake on Twitter.

It’s unclear when exactly during the open week McKinney suffered the injury. As well as how many weeks a few will entail. But he will be out for Sunday’s home game against the Texans.

Financial impact. The Giants have the right to void all guarantees in McKinney’s contract now, based on general term language related to ATV-involved injuries. But it is hard to believe they would move to get rid of him.

Who steps up? In McKinney’s absence, expect rookie safety Dane Belton to assume a more significant role. The fourth-rounder out of Iowa, who’s been a notable a special teams player this year, must work alongside safety Julian Love and the fairly strong Adoree’ Jackson-Fabian Moreau-Darnay Holmes cornerback unit against quarterback Davis Mills and the Houston offense this Sunday.

Primary special teamer Jason Pinnock should also see more playing time while the Giants elevate either Landon Collins or Trenton Thompson from the practice squad. If McKinney needs to go on injured reserve and miss at least four games, it essentially means the Giants will need to sign one of those two to the active roster (you can elevate a practice squad player a max of three times before needing to sign that player to the active roster).

Soft spot on schedule. Luckily, the tough part of the Giants’ remaining schedule doesn’t commence until Week 14 on Sunday, Dec. 11. The Giants must face the undefeated Eagles (twice) and 7-1 Vikings during the final five weeks of the regular season. This tough stretch could play a role in the Giants’ chances at a playoff berth, which would be the team’s first since 2016.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.