Good morning, New York Giants fans!
Ed: What are the key injuries on the Vikings’ side that could impact the game on Sunday?
Christopher Gates of SB Nation’s Daily Norseman: The two big ones are on the offensive line. Right tackle Brian O’Neill suffered a partially torn Achilles in the loss to Green Bay, and he’s done for the rest of the year. He had a big part in slowing down the Giants’ pass rush the first time these two teams played, and his absence is going to be quite significant, I think. We also don’t know yet if center Garrett Bradbury will be back for this one. Bradbury, who, like Daniel Jones, is in the final season of his rookie deal after the Vikings didn’t pick up his fifth-year option, has improved a lot this season but missed the final five games of the regular season with a back injury. His backup, Austin Schlottmann, was also injured in the Green Bay game, so the Vikings are now down to their No. 3 center in Chris Reed. Against a team that’s as strong up front as the Giants are, you don’t want to be struggling on the offensive line, but that’s the position the Vikings unfortunately find themselves in heading into this one.
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“Playoff time is our time. And we will do it Our Way.”
That recent contest should be relatively reassuring for the Giants, who are built to lean on a versatile rushing attack. Saquon Barkley is the featured player, scurrying for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season. Daniel Jones is a low-upside thrower but has become a dynamic runner, especially in scrambling situations. He scampered for 708 yards and seven scores.
Even on tight fourth-quarter drives, New York is comfortable sticking to the ground game. Whether the Vikes can contain Barkley and Jones is a decisive piece of this matchup.
Interior Defensive Lineman: Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (92.0).
Left Tackle: Andrew Thomas, New York Giants. Seeing Andrew Thomas blossom into one of the best left tackles in the NFL warms the heart. Many considered him a bust after a difficult rookie season, particularly because Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills hit the ground running. While Laremy Tunsil had a prettier season statistically, Thomas had an impact in the run game that Tunsil could not match.
Interior Lineman: Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants. When a 340-pound athletic marvel finally figures things out as a technician, you end up with Dexter Lawrence’s 2022 season. Only Chris Jones had more pressures than Lawrence, and although he had lower sack production than other candidates on the interior, few can even pretend to match Lawrence’s impact on run defense. Nose tackles don’t get the chance to produce like Lawrence, which is why he got the nod over Williams.
Lawrence inked the Giants’ “NY” logo on his right biceps after his rookie season, showing a permanent commitment to a team that at the time only was tied to him for four years. The Giants later exercised their former first-round draft pick’s fifth-year option to keep him from free agency until 2024, but Lawrence’s breakout season and a defensive-tackle contract market on the cusp of exploding might have changed the dynamics.
“I do want to be a Giant forever. I got it tatted on me,” Lawrence told The Post. “I love this organization, the people in it and what it means. I grew up a Giants fan. If it is meant to be, it will be.”
Key matchup: Wink Martindale against Justin Jefferson and Kirk Cousins
Daniel Bellinger spent the week with a football tucked under his arm, an old school punishment for a rookie who learned his lesson the hard way.
S Julian Love says “the sky’s the limit” for Giants in the playoffs
Jaxon Smith-Njigba WR, OHIO STATE.
This week’s opponent
Around the league
“We have completed a series of tests and evaluations, and in consultation with the team physicians, we are confident that Damar can be safely discharged to continue his rehabilitation at home and with the Bills,” Dr. Jamie Nadler, the care team lead for Hamlin at Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, said in a statement.
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