The New York Giants have two games remaining, one of which will be their final road trip of 2021. At best, the Giants, if they win out, will equal the number of wins they recorded last year (six). At worse, they won't.
It's been a long, ugly, and frustrating season that for many can't end soon enough. We've made it this far, though, so let's take a look at what might be on tap this week as the Giants get ready to visit the Chicago Bears.
Saquon returns to the scene
It's been more than a year since Giants running back Saquon Barkley's knee buckled from underneath him, resulting in a torn ACL that knocked out his entire 2020 season. That injury just so happened to take place on the grass at Soldier Field, which is where the Giants will be this weekend.
These days, Barkley has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury, among other ailments, hasn't looked like himself this year, the ankle ailment being a large reason for that. But don't expect the Giants to shut him down with two weeks to go in a long season, at least not yet.
"At this moment, there wouldn’t be any medical reason, at least that they brought to me, about shutting him down," said head coach Joe Judge.
"I know Saquon has been battling through several things this year. He came off a traumatic injury last year – that’s a tough recovery. He’s dealt with several other things, as well. The ankle in the Dallas game-- that’s been lingering throughout the year. I see this guy go through a lot of things preparation-wise in the week, treatment-wise, and extra recovery-wise trying to get his body back to it.
"I’ve seen a lot of flashes lately that this guy has really had some good games for us in previous weeks, and he’s out there battling and playing really hard and going through some tough circumstances. He’s out there, he’s playing. He’s dinged up in a lot of ways, as most of the players in the NFL are this time of year. No one’s really 100 percent, but he’s battling through a lot of things for us."
Who will be the quarterback?
Jake Fromm wasn't any better in his NFL debut as a starting quarterback than Mike Glennon has been in his three starts for the Giants this season, but one of those two will get the start Sunday.
The question is who. Did head coach Joe Judge, who deferred getting too deep into questions about how Fromm performed last week against the Eagles after the game, see enough redeeming qualities to go back to Fromm? Or will he stick with Glennon, the veteran who is wildly inaccurate and who thus far has shown himself to be incapable of moving the offense?
It might not matter in the grand scheme of things given the season is lost, but the answer could be very telling if it ends up being Glennon and not Fromm because Glennon, on a one-year contract, likely won't be back on this roster next year.
Might Fromm be back? He'll be an exclusive rights free agent, and if he can show growth in the offense between now and the end of the season, that could be the case.
Tackling a tough issue
The Giants got some devastating injury news Monday when tests revealed that second-year offensive lineman Matt Peart suffered a torn ACL in last weekend's game. Peart, who was viewed as the future at right tackle, will, of course, finish the year now on injured reserve, his status for the start of next season in doubt given the timing of the injury.
But if that's not bad enough, the Giants' other offensive tackle, Nate Solder, is on the reserve/COVID-19 list as well. The hope is Solder, who missed last week's game, will be back at some point this week, but it's unknown how badly if at all, he was hit by the virus.
Either way, the Giants are left with a question about how to fill their offensive tackle spot. One possibility could be former Titans first rounder Isaiah Wilson, who's been working his tail off to get into football shape and cross-train at guard. Korey Cunningham, who finished the game in relief of Peart, is another possibility.
On the practice squad, their options include Derrick Kelley, who has experience at tackle and guard, and Devery Hamilton, who played tackle at Duke.
"As we go through this week, we’ll look at a number of guys on our practice squad in terms of flexing them up as who can be that next tackle up for the game," Judge said.
The latest from Giants Country
The hits keep coming for the Giants, who will likely be without all-purpose defensive back Julian Love this weekend after he handed in the league's COVID-19 protocol. The Chicago native, who was looking forward to playing a game in his hometown, would be a huge loss for a depleted Giants defensive secondary given all the roles Love typically plays.
And suppose cornerback Adoree' Jackson isn't back from his injury this weekend. In that case, it will be interesting to see how Love's various roles, which include the slot, free safety, box safety, and outside cornerback, are filled within the different personnel packages.
Helping the Draft
If ever there was a game for the Giants to scrape together a win, this would be it. The Giants, after all, own the Bears first-round pick next year, and the worse the Bears won-loss record, the better that pick will be.
Currently, the Bears first-round pick is at No. 8. If the Giants, who open this week as a six-point underdog, can upset the Bears, they could help push that draft pick higher in the order.