saquon barkley giants
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The Giants are set for a Christmas Eve rematch with the Minnesota Vikings during the NFL’s Wild Card weekend. If sixth-seeded Big Blue wants to come through with an upset, they’ll need a big game from a couple of specific guys on offense. Running back Saquon Barkley is definitely one of them.

After rushing for 593 yards in 13 games during the 2021 season, Barkley was back to his explosive self for New York this year. His 1,312 rushing yards finished among the league leaders, and it was also a single-season career-high mark. With free agency on the horizon, Barkley picked a good time to put up those kinds of numbers.

But free agency is the last thing on the former Penn State Nittany Lion’s mind right now. He doesn’t just want to play in his first playoff game — he wants to advance to the next round. Barkley is willing to do whatever it takes to help get the Giants over the hump, too.

Here’s what he had to say about his potential role against Minnesota on Sunday (quote via WFAN):

I want the ball as many times as needed to win this game. Whatever I’ve got to do. That’s been my motto throughout the whole season and I’m sticking with it. The job was to get into the playoffs and we found a way to do that. So whatever we’ve gotta do to get the win, I’m willing to do for my team. The type of person I am, I want to go out there and make plays for my team and help them win a football game. Whatever way that’s possible, whether that’s with the ball in my hands or without the ball in my hands.

Knowing how the Giants’ offense has operated this season, Barkley will probably have the ball in his hands quite often. Quarterback Daniel Jones has put together a memorable season on the verge of his own free agency, and those two will be key to New York’s success this weekend.

According to SportRadar, the Giants’ 148.2 rushing yards per game ranked fourth in the NFL. On the opposite side of the ball, the Vikings’ rush defense has allowed 123.1 yards per game, which ranked 20th. In New York’s 27-24 regular-season loss to Minnesota, Barkley racked up 84 yards and one touchdown on the ground via 14 carries. He also caught eight of 10 targets for 49 yards. All three of those receiving numbers were single-game highs for him.

Everyone knows Barkley must be a big part of the equation for the Giants to move on to the Divisional Round. It looks like he’s ready for his opportunity.

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Matt Musico can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.