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New York Giants: Week 7 Storylines to Watch

It's do or die time for Giants head coach Joe Judge and his team, who must find a way to beat the Carolina Panthers at home Sunday.

The show must go on.

That's right, as much as Giants fans probably wish the 2021 season would end already, given the team's current state, no one could be blamed if they are eyeballing the draft.

Alas, the Giants 2021 season isn't about to be canceled because the Giants railcar has fallen off the tracks. No, head coach Joe Judge is determined to try and salvage what's left of a season that started out looking so promising but which has begun imploding before everyone's eyes.

Here are a few things to watch for as the Giants begin Week 7 of the 2021 campaign.

Player Deployment Changes Coming?

Judge admitted that there were some players whose effort in last week's game against the Rams wasn't exactly what he expected. While he didn't go on to name names, he did vow to weed out anyone who isn't 100 percent committed to turning this ship around--and it doesn't matter who the players in question are.

"I’ll say that this week of practice will determine a lot of that, to see how guys come out and perform in practice and execute and compete," Judge said. "How you practice is going to have a large impact on how much you do play."

And speaking of changes, with the trade deadline looming on November 2, will Giants general manager Dave Gettleman look to move any players before Sunday's game?

A best guess is the Giants will stand pat for this week at least and allow Judge and his staff to try to work out the bugs and get the Giants back on the winning track. But if the Giants lose to the Panthers, a full-blown fire sale could (and should) begin shortly after that.

Who's In and Who's Out?

The Giants continue to be a walking MASH unit of injured players. Left tackle Andrew Thomas and receiver/kickoff returner C.J. Board are both on injured reserve. There was also a report that receiver Kadarius Toney (ankle) might not play this weekend.

Meanwhile, will receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and Kenny Golladay (knee), and running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) make it back? Their statuses remain to be seen, but let's hope that they make it back because quarterback Daniel Jones is fast losing all his top weapons, which is affecting his performance.

The Run Defense

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule declared that he intends to lean heavily on the Panthers' running game this weekend after quarterback Sam Darnold reverted to a showing similar to his days with the Jets.

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That might not be good news for the league's 29th ranked run defense that's allowing 137.2 yards on the ground per game and which has allowed opponents to rush for over 100 yards in four of the six games played, including the last three.

If the Giants can't stop the Panthers running game--which, by the way, will be without Christian McCaffery--then it's going to be another long day for New York.

The O-line

If you've lost track of how many different offensive line combinations this team has had, you're not alone. (The answer is five different starting units, with at least three in-game adjustments--and that's a conservative guess.)

Well, guess what? The Giants are looking at yet another starting unit this weekend. Left tackle Andrew Thomas is on injured reserve with two bad feet, which probably means Nate Solder will play left tackle and Matt Peart right.

Given Judge's penchant for rotating offensive linemen in and out of the lineup, who knows what we'll see this week? Moreover, what kind of effect that has on the communication between the linemen.

Something else to watch for is the potential return of Ben Bredeson, who has been making progress with his hand injury. If Bredeson is healthy enough to return to the starting lineup, that will give the Giants a sixth different starting unit in seven games.

The Home Crowd's Reaction

Last week defensive lineman Leonard Williams probably didn't endear himself to the scores of frustrated Giants fans who for nearly a decade have had their hearts ripped out by this franchise, and its mostly losing ways when he spoke out about the booing.

"They do bother me honestly," he said. "Obviously, we’re in our own home stadium. I don’t want to be hearing boos from my own fans. I understand that they have a right to be upset as well because they’re coming to see us put good football on the field. We haven’t been winning up to date. But at the same time, I don’t know, I don’t like that."

Williams is entitled to his opinion, but something tells me the Giants fans aren't about to sympathize with him because they don't like the quality of football the team has put out there so far.

If Williams doesn't like the booing, then it's up to him, as one of the better players on the team and a leader in his own right, to help rally the guys around him to give those fans who do bother to show up Sunday a reason not to boo.


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