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Valentine's Views: Five things I think I think about the Giants

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Here are five thoughts as the Giants head into a Week 5 game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Patrick Smith

It is time once again for what has become a Tuesday staple, 'Five Things I Think I Think' about the New York Giants. Oh, and I think I am also going to stop apologizing to Peter King.

I think Sunday's game is huge. The Giants face road games against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys following Sunday's home game against the Atlanta Falcons. After their Week 8 bye, they face the Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Cowboys in succession. If they are going to buck the trend of teams who start 0-2 making the playoffs only about 12 percent of the time they absolutely have to beat the Falcons at MetLife.

I think I will stick with what I have said about Odell Beckham Jr. The rookie wide receiver might play Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. I have said all along, however, that no matter when he plays the Giants aren't likely to get a lot from their first-round pick until the second half of the season. Be realistic. Including OTAs, NFL teams have been working since May. During that time, Beckham has probably practiced less than 10 times -- and only a few of those at full speed. He hasn't played in a game. Sure, he has been around and he probably knows the playbook. That is a lot different than live game action. Can he handle the checks at the line of scrimmage? Any necessary route adjustments? Can he take a hit? Can he handle running full speed without re-injuring the hamstring? Can he develop some timing with Eli Manning? All of those things are going to take time. It is nice that he is close to being back, but it is going to be a while before Beckham is fully up to speed.

I think Larry Donnell is in for an interesting few weeks. Donnell has 25 catches in four games, and his three-touchdown effort against the Washington Redskins pretty much screamed to the entire NFL that he needs to be a marked man when teams game plan for the Giants. Expect Donnell to get a lot more attention from opposing defenses, including physical play the line of scrimmage, double teams and coverage from safeties or slot corners. Let's see how he handles the added attention.

I think I wonder why the Giants didn't try Mark Herzlich at SAM before now. Until the last couple of games, the Giants have always tried to make Herzlich into a middle linebacker. It hasn't gone very well, obviously, with Herzlich repeatedly unable to win that job. Out of necessity the past couple of games the Giants have played Herzlich on the strong side, and the results are encouraging. His pass coverage leaves something to be desired, but his run defense (+4.7 on the season) has been excellent. He can help the Giants on the strong side, especially if they can keep him on the field primarily on running downs.

I think the recent jersey sales numbers are weird. Per Dick's Sporting Goods, the Giants are tops in NFL jersey sales in New Jersey and Connecticut. In New York? The Buffalo Bills lead in jersey sales. Sure, the Giants technically play in New Jersey, but that finding surprises me.