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Giants vs. Lions, Week 2: Things To Watch Monday Night

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The Giants need a win, and here are things they need to do to get one

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

What will be the keys to victory Monday night for the New York Giants when they host the Detroit Lions? Let’s look at some of the things to watch.

Will Odell Beckham Jr. Play?

This, of course, is the big question. Beckham has been practicing on a limited basis, and coach Ben McAdoo expressed some optimism that his star wide receiver had a better chance of playing this week than he did Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys. So, there’s that.

There is also this. Whether he plays or not, Beckham will not be 100 percent. He admitted during a recent interview that it could be as many as 12 weeks from the time of the injury before he is fully healed. He has been running and jumping, but not landing with full pressure on the injured left leg.

So, we’ll see. His presence, even limited, would help. You don’t, however, want to see him risk further damage that could impact his entire season.

Can The Giants Do Something On Offense?

Almost anything would be better than the 3-point stinker they put together against the Cowboys. There are so many factors here that we could do a “things to watch” on this alone.

  • Can they get some chunk plays in the passing game? They completed a lot of passes that went nowhere last week, and averaged only 5.2 yards per pass attempt. Manning and Co. need to get the ball down the field some.
  • Can the Giants get Brandon Marshall involved? One meaningless catch in the waning seconds isn’t going to cut it. The Marshall-Eli Manning honeymoon isn’t going to last if that keeps happening.
  • Will Manning be sharper? Forget the fancy-looking 76.3 percent completion rate last week. Off-target throws on a few of those short completions negated chances for yardage after the catch, and contributed to the issues on third down, where the Giants were only 4-of-12.
  • Can the offensive line hold up? In particular, can they do a better job recognizing and reaction to defensive line stunts? Will right tackle Bobby Hart be in the lineup? If not, how will the Giants re-configure that group?
  • Can the Giants run the ball better? Whatever the reason, a 2.9 yards per carry average isn’t going good enough. Neither is just 12 rushing attempts in a game.

How About Creating A Turnover?

The Giants played well enough on defense against Dallas, giving up just one touchdown and forcing four field goals despite being on the short end of the field-position battle most of the game. What the Giants didn’t do, though, is create any takeaways that could have changed momentum.

A Different Detroit Offense

The Giants held the Lions to 6 points last year. This Lions team, though, has more weapons. Running backs Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick are healthy and provide issues for opposing defenses, and rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay impressed in his NFL debut.

Can The Giants Be Special?

One way to jump start a struggling offense would be to get a boost from the return game. Dwayne Harris had no real chance on punt returns last week, but he did have a long kickoff return wiped out by penalty. The Giants could use a big play or two from their return groups on Monday.