The 1-4 New York Giants, still looking to find their footing and make something positive out of the 2023-24 season, find themselves two-touchdown underdogs to the homestanding Buffalo Bills in Week 6.
Here are some of this week’s storylines.
The Giants have played on national television in primetime spots three times in the first five weeks of the season. They have been embarrassed three times. They were routed 40-0 by the Dallas Cowboys, 30-12 by the San Francisco 49ers and 24-3 by the Seattle Seahawks.
That is a 94-15 total.
Can the Giants gain some measure of national redemption on Sunday Night Football against a good Bills team that is 3-2 and looking to rebound from a 25-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday in England?
Even a competitive loss in which they look like a competent offensive football team would be a step in the right direction.
Who will play?
Quarterback Daniel Jones has expressed optimism that the neck injury he suffered Sunday against the Miami Dolphins won’t keep him out of action vs. the Bills. We have heard that refrain before from Jones when he has deal with injuries. Let’s see how much he practices this week.
Head coach Brian Daboll said this week that running back Saquon Barkley (high ankle sprain) is closer to playing than left tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring). Daboll added that starting right guard Marcus McKethan (knee), should be “OK,” but did not know if starting center John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) would be available.
So, the Giants’ struggling offense will continue to be at least somewhat short-handed. The question is just how short-handed?
The way the Giants have played throughout the first five weeks it might not be a proud one, but this will be a homecoming for head coach Brian Daboll and general manager Joe Schoen.
Daboll was the Bills offensive coordinator from 2018-2021 and is credited with much of Josh Allen’s development as Buffalo’s quarterback. Daboll is also a native of the Buffalo area, having been raised by hsi grandparents in West Seneca, N.Y.
Schoen was Buffalo’s assistant general manager from 2017-2021.
Giants coaches Laura Young (director of coaching operations), John Egorugwu (inside linebackers), Bobby Johnson (offensive line) and Shea Tierney (quarterbacks) also previously worked for the Bills.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor, wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, running back Matt Breida, cornerback Nick McCloud and edge defender Boogie Basham are all former Bills players.
Is it possible that the Giants are facing the Bills at the best possible time, with the team having played in London on Sunday? Maybe it will mean nothing, but if you are grasping at straws trying to find advantages for the Giants in this matchup that might be one.
The Giants have used a different starting offensive line in each of their first five games. There seems to be a strong possibility they will make it six in a row this week.
With Thomas likely out, could Matt Peart get a chance at left tackle in place of Joshua Ezeudu?
Veteran guard Justin Pugh, signed to the practice squad last week, could find himself at one of the two guard spots on Sunday night.
We will just have to stay tuned to find out which players the offensive line roulette wheel lands on this week.