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In the second half of Week 3, New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones connected with Evan Engram for a 75-yard touchdown pass, a key score that contributed to a 32-31 Giants comeback victory.

Since that game, what looked to be one of the ideal pairings between the rookie quarterback and his tight end has cooled off.  

From Weeks 4 onward, Engram (inactive in Week 6) and Jones have connected for 11 receptions for 102 yards, and the Giants have lost two of the three games in which Engram was active over that period as well.

If the Giants offense is to get back to being productive, they’re going to need that Jones to Engram connection firing on all cylinders once again, starting this weekend in Detroit.

“We’re a real transparent team, we’re tough on ourselves,” Engram said. 

“We understand there are things we have to fix individually and as a team. We are working on all the bumps and bruises this week, and we have to clean them up on Sunday.”

Injuries certainly haven’t been kind to the Giants offense. In addition to Engram missing Week 6 with a sprained knee, receiver Sterling Shepard will miss his third straight game after suffering his second concussion of the season, and his fourth game of the year.

Running back Saquon Barkley returned Sunday from the right ankle sprain injury that cost him three games. Barkley, in having had the chance to evaluate his first game back from injury, admitted that he didn’t quite look like himself. 

And if that was enough to frustrate the Giants, receiver Golden Tate was suspended the first four weeks for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.

Despite having yet to have their four most prominent skill position players active for the same game at the same time, Engram believes that the Giants have had sufficient talent to carry them through.  

“We have a lot of talent on this team; we have a next-man-up mentality,” he said. “It will be a blessing to have everybody out there and going out there to compete, but we have to go get it done with who we have.”

Engram needs to get it done, as well. Last week against a Cardinals team that opposing tight ends had recorded 500 receiving yards, Engram was a non-factor, catching one ball for six yards on five targets and dropping two catchable passes.  

This week, Engram should get another chance to get back to having the type of breakout performances he had in Week 1 when he recorded 116 yards on 11 receptions, and in Week 3.

The Lions have the league’s 30th ranked pass defense, allowing 289.5 yards per game to opponents. They’ve also let up over 428 total yards of offense, just under 27 points per game (33 in their last three, which ranks third-worst in the NFL) to opposing offenses.

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New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (3) makes one-handed catches as Kadarius Toney (89) looks on during organized team activities (OTAs) at the training center in East Rutherford on Thursday, May 19, 2022.

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Dec 12, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; A detailed view of a New York Giants helmet and Wilson official NFL Due footballs at SoFi Stadium.

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But if history is any indication, facing the Lions defense might not necessarily cure what ails Engram, who has 34 receptions for 379 yards and two touchdowns this season. 

Three out of the last four tight ends to face the Lions produced a mixed bag against the Lions. 

Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph caught five balls for 58 yards, and a touchdown was one of three Vikings to find the end zone in a 42-30 win. 

Green Bay’s Jimmy Graham was held to two receptions for 17 yards as the Packers snuck out the win 23-22 on Monday Night Football. 

Kansas City’s Travis Kelce finished with seven receptions for 85 yards and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz hauled in four receptions for 64 yards  

If the Giants are to come out with a win, they’re going to need Engram to at least mirror the showings produced by Ertz and Kelce.  

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