As tempting as it is to want to hold onto the afterglow of the Giants' win over the Eagles, there are still more games to be played this season, which starts this weekend against the Miami Dolphins.
One of the many storylines this weekend will be the return of Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who served in the same role for Dolphins head coach (and former Patriots compadre Brian Flores) in 2019 before making the jump to the Giants under head coach Joe Judge (another Belichick coaching alumnus).
It could make for an awkward "reunion" of sorts. Still, Flores shed some light on his relationship with Graham, whom he called a great friend of his, and why he didn't stand in the way of Graham's leaving the Giants for a promotion with the Giants that included the assistant head coach title in addition to defensive coordinator.
“From a football coaching standpoint, we’re more brothers than anything. So I have a lot of respect for him," Flores said.
"I would never stand in the way of somebody doing something that they wanted to do. That was something that Pat wanted to do. I’m always going to support him."
Here's a look at some of the other emerging storylines ahead of the Giants' Week 13 game at Miami.
What Will the Offense Look Like This Week?
Last week we saw a few minor tweaks made by new offensive play-caller Freddie Kitchens despite a short work week that also had a holiday tucked in the middle.
With a typical week ahead, Judge said that the offense would continue to evolve but not to expect significant changes.
"I think as we go through the remainder of the season, there’s going to be a little bit of evolution just with the usage of our players and the personalities of some of the coaches within the play calling and the development of the game plan will probably come on out," Judge said.
"I’m not going to sit here and tell you that it’s going to be flipped on its head immediately, but over the course of time that will naturally take place."
Daniel Jones's Status
Late Tuesday, news broke that quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a strained neck in the Giants win over the Eagles Sunday and that he would probably miss the game against the Dolphins since he's considered week-to-week.
Indeed, that was not something the coaching staff was expecting. The Giants will be turning to backup quarterback Mike Glennon if Jones is ruled out as expected. But the Giants also have to be concerned about just how much time Jones might end up missing with this latest injury that came when he tried running the ball.
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Jones is a tough kid--he bounced back from a Week 5 concussion that left him woozy and unable to walk under his own power and was right back under center for the Week 6 game. But since this is yet another head/neck injury, the Giants will be extra careful before putting Jones out there, even if he insists he's feeling good to go.
Who Else is Coming Back?
The injury situation has made this season like a game of who's in and who's out. Last week, receivers Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard and tight ends Kyle Rudolph, and Kaden Smith were out.
It's too soon to say if any of the four will be back this week, but it's not a stretch to think that the Giants would like to give whoever is under center the fullest possible deck of cards.
Can the Giants Stack Up the Wins?
The Giants haven't won back-to-back games since last season when they won four straight between Weeks 9 and 13 (they had a bye week amid that stretch).
With the Giants still very much in the playoff hunt--they're one game out of being in reach of the seventh seed--they need to start stacking wins together if they're to make that push.
Will Saquon Be Saquon?
Saquon Barkley has been back for two games after missing four games with an ankle injury that will require the team to manage his practice reps for the rest of the season.
While Barkley has been functional--in his two games back, he's rushed 19 times for 65 yards--there is still some hesitation to his game.
"I already know I can do it," Barkley said after last week's win against the Eagles. "I know I’m going to continue to get better and better each week and each day. Continue to trust myself, trust my body, but I know it’s not like – what’s the Space Jam monster’s name – it’s not like something came and just took everything away from him. I’ve still got it. I’ve just got to do it more."
If the Giants are to embark on the improbable run for the playoffs, they will need Barkley to knock off what's left of the rust and be the same dynamic force he was as a rookie.
Can the Defense Rattle Tua?
Last week, the Giants rattled Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who committed three interceptions. This week, they're facing another young quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa, who, according to Pro Football Focus, is just as vulnerable to making mistakes when under pressure.
Tagovailoa has been pressured on 33.7 percent of his dropbacks this year. He's completed 53.5 percent of those pass attempts when under pressure for two touchdowns and has five interceptions.
The Giants defense has been red hot of late, recording 11 takeaways and 11 sacks while holding opponents to 15.2 points per game (despite the 30 points scored by the Bucs). If the Giants can keep that momentum going, it could make for a long afternoon for Tagovailoa.
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