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Giants at Lions preseason Week 2: 3 reasons to watch

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Well, actually a whole lot more reasons than that. But, three for starters.

NFL: New York Giants-Training Camp
Wayne Gallman
NorthJersey.com-USA TODAY NETWORK

Your New York Giants are in action Friday night (7 p.m. ET/NFLN, WNBC) at Ford Field in Detroit as they take on the Detroit Lions in Week 2 of the 2018 NFL preseason. The regular season is creeping closer, which means each week and each game is gaining importance. Here is why you should be watching tonight’s game.

Starters will play more

Coach Pat Shurmur is evasive when it comes to playing time. Still, it is logical to believe we should see more of the Giants first-teamers vs. Detroit. Offensive starters played only two series vs. the Cleveland Browns, with defensive starters getting a third series after surrendering a Cleveland touchdown. Don’t be surprised to see some starters play into the second quarter Friday night.

Davis Webb vs. Kyle Lauletta

Is the door open, at least a crack, for Lauletta to steal the No. 2 quarterback job that has been assumed for months to belong to Webb? Maybe, but probably not. Yet. Webb had a rough preseason opener vs. Cleveland, while Lauletta played well. No matter what, it is fun to watch these two young quarterbacks develop, and compete. I have said before and will say again, though, this is a long-term competition and not a three- or four-week one.

Position battles

Chris and Dan did excellent offensive and defensive “what to watch” breakdowns looking at the various position battles. You can find those here:

I just want to highlight a few of the position battles, and players, I am most interested in seeing Friday night.

  • Wayne Gallman — The second-year running back has been the third-team back behind Saquon Barkley and Jonathan Stewart. Coach Pat Shurmur said this week he has been “gaining an appreciation” for Gallman. With no Barkley tonight, Gallman has a big opportunity to force the Giants to consider getting him more snaps once the regular season starts.
  • Amba Etta-Tawo — A spring and early-summer sensation, Etta-Tawo drew a big pass interference call vs. the Browns last week but had no catches. He would seem to be on the bubble between 53-man roster and a likely practice squad spot, and could use a big game.
  • Starting offensive line — The revamped group didn’t play badly against the Browns, but there were a couple of communication issues picking up stunts and blitzes. With a little more game-planning going into this game, will that issue improve? Also, to be honest I’m still looking for Jon Halapio to show me why the Giants believe he can be their starting center.
  • Backup offensive linemen — We talked about this position battle earlier in the week. The snap counts tonight might give us an indication of who might be in and which guys should maybe make sure they don’t sign any long-term leases.
  • A.J. Francis vs. Robert Thomas — Good friend and Giants beat writer Patricia Traina said the other day on ‘Locked on Giants’ she thinks there is only room for one of these guys on the 53-man roster. With Josh Mauro suspended for the first four games and R.J. McIntosh still on the Active/Non-Football Illness list I believe there is room for both. If nothing else, though, they are competing for snaps as part of the defensive line rotation.
  • Can Curtis Riley grab his chance? — After two years as a backup corner with the Tennessee Titans, Riley came to the Giants without high expectations. With Darian Thompson not really impressing, and now missing time with a hamstring, Riley has a chance tonight to cement his status as the starting free safety.
  • Backup cornerbacks — Who’s it gonna be? Donte Deayon is frittering away his chance as he deals with a hamstring injury. William Gay, B.W. Webb, Grant Haley, Leonard Johnson and Chris Lewis-Harris all remain in the fray when it comes to figuring the corners behind Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple.