Saquon Barkley has not been on the New York Giants’ injury report this week, significant after he was questionable with a neck injury last week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Barkley, in fact, seems to be feeling frisky in the buildup to Sunday night’s critical game against the Washington Commanders. He told reporters this week that he felt like Wednesday’s workout was “my best practice.”
Barkley, normally pretty. stoic during his weekly Thursday media scrums, was smiling and pretty demonstrative this week.
Saquon Barkley says that yesterday was his best practice of the season— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) December 15, 2022
(and demonstrates some juke moves ) pic.twitter.com/qVCWwJ2U6l
“I definitely feel a lot better, being able to go out there and practice and get reps. I feel pretty good,” Barkley said. “I mean, I guess I didn’t take the banging I would in a normal game [vs. the Philadelphia Eagles]. But I feel good this week; I had a really good practice yesterday. I feel like I had a pretty good practice today, not just for myself but the team. So, just excited about this week.”
Could that be bad news for the Commanders, and good news for a Giants’ offense that has in recent weeks been missing the big play from the running game?
When I mentioned Barkley’s remarks to Jamual Forrest of the ‘Trap or Dive’ podcast on Friday’s Giants-Commanders crossover preview podcast this was his reaction:
“When he talks I listen.”
Barkley has had two of the best games of his carry against Washington.
- Fourteen carries, 170 yards in a 40-16 victory Dec. 9, 2018. (Yes, friends, once upon a time a Giants team did score 40 points).
- A 22-carry, 189-yard, four-reception, 90-yard game on Dec. 22, 2019.
The Giants could use that type of game Sunday night as they try to get closer to reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
New York’s chance of reaching the postseason sits at 52 percent, per FiveThirtyEight. That is up from 45 percent following the San Francisco 49ers Thursday night victory over the Seattle Seahawks. ESPN’s Football Power Index has the Giants with a 60.8 percent chance of being a playoff team, up from 54.7 percent.
A big game from Barkley that helps the Giants knock off Washington would go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.
With just one run of more than 20 yards and a puny 2.86 yards per carry average over the past four games, Barkley knows he needs to do more.
“I feel like I’ve been lacking the last couple of weeks – being the guy, and making explosive plays, especially when it matters most,” Barkley said. “The only thing I can do there is come here and practice, try to have the best practice I can have. And then when the games come, when the opportunity presents itself, got to capitalize on it.
“Not because of being banged up. It’s just the truth. I haven’t had a big run in a long time. The last time, I guess, was against Washington. It was over 20 (yards). The last couple of weeks, the run game has been – I don’t want to say non-existent. But they’ve been doing a really good job of stopping the run game or necessarily, stopping me. Obviously, that’s a focal point. And that’s going to be a focal point again this week. But just got to continue to get back to that mentality of knowing that teams are going to try to stop us, but if I can get going, it’s going to help the team and it’s going to help put us in a position to win.”