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Giants-Jets storylines: Daniel Jones’ status tops the list, of course

As of Tuesday, Jones had not been cleared for contact

NFL: Washington Commanders at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants look for a second straight victory on Sunday when they host MetLife Stadium co-tenants the New York Jets. Here are some of the story lines to follow.

Anything new with Daniel Jones?

The Giants’ quarterback hoped to play two weeks ago against the Buffalo Bills, meaning he would not miss any time following his Week 5 neck injury. Didn’t happen. He hoped to return Week 7 against the Washington Commanders. Didn’t happen.

We are now on to Week 8, and considering that Jones told Kay Adams during his weekly Tuesday appearance on the ‘Up & Adams Show’ that there was no change in his status you have to wonder if he plays on Sunday. Jones told Adams he can run, throw and lift weights, he just still has not been cleared for contact. That is the same spot he was in a week ago.

We will see Wednesday if anything changes. If not, we might be headed for Week 3 of the Tyrod Taylor experience.

Who’s in, out on offensive line?

The Giants have fielded six different offensive lines in seven games. They finally seem to be playing at least functionally, and reinforcements could be on the way. There have been rumblings that star left tackle Andrew Thomas, out since Week 1 with a hamstring injury, could practice this week. Maybe starting center John Michael Schmitz, who has missed three games, and Evan Neal, who missed Week 7, as well.

If all three of those players, or even a couple of them, are in this week, then who will be out?

Here is my best guess as of Tuesday evening on the line if everyone is healthy:

LT — Thomas; LG — Justin Pugh; C — Schmitz; RG — Mark Glowinski; RT — Evan Neal

The odd man out in that configuration is Ben Bredeson, who has started six games — three at left guard and three at center.

Remember, though, that is just a guess.

Goodbye old friends?

Most reports have indicated that the Giants are not believed to be looking to sell by the Oct. 31 NFL trade deadline, which is next Tuesday. Still, until the deadline comes and goes it is possible that some veteran players could be wearing a Giants uniform for the final time on Sunday.

Most likely to go, in my view, would be defensive tackle Leonard Williams and/or cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. You have to at least consider, though, the possibility that running back Saquon Barkley and safety Xavier McKinney could draw interest.

So, we will see who is in the Giants’ locker room on Nov. 1.

Sack party, Part II?

In Week 7, the Giants took advantage of an inexperienced quarterback playing behind a porous offensive line to dial up their most ferocious pass rush of the season. After getting just five sacks in the first six games, the Giants sacked Sam Howell of the Washington Commanders six times and had 12 quarterback hits.

This Sunday, the Giants face another young quarterback in Zach Wilson behind another awful offensive line. The Jets are 27th in the NFL in sacks allowed (3.3 per game) and 28th in percentage of sacks allowed, giving one up on 9.8% of dropbacks.

It seems likely that defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will turn up the heat on Wilson the way he did Howell.

The Giants have given up just 21 points the past two weeks. They allowed Washington only 46 yards of offense in the first half. Whether it is Jones or Taylor at quarterback for the Giants, considering that the Jets have an excellent defense the Giants are likely to need to repeat their defensive performances against the Bills and Commanders to have a chance on Sunday.

Happy returns?

With rookie running back/return man Erc Gray now on injured reserve, the Giants will be re-making their return game.

Gray’s injury on Sunday vs. the Commanders left the Giants in a disastrous situation with veteran wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton returning punts for the first times in their career. Shepard had a muff that led to Washington’s only touchdown.

The Giants added veteran return man Gunner Olszewski to their practice squad this week. Olszewski has 75 punt returns and 37 kickoff returns over five NFL seasons, but has had some ball security issues with nine career fumbles in 141 total touches as a receiver and returner. Olszewski does have a career average of 12.0 yards per punt return.

Best guess is that the Giants elevate Olszewski from the practice squad for Sunday’s game. In that scenario, Olszewski would almost certainly handle punt returns. Would he also handle kickoff returns, where he has a career average of 22.0 yards per return? Perhaps, but the Giants could also use Parris Campbell, who has been teaming with Gray in a duel-returner alignment, to return kickoffs.