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Giants-Rams, Week 17: 5 storylines to watch this week

Who’s at quarterback is the big one, but there are others

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
Will Tommy DeVito be handing off to Saquon Barkley this week?
Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The New York Giants face the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Here are some of the Week 17 storylines we will be discussing.

Tyrod or Tommy?

We should find out on Wednesday whether it will be Tyrod Taylor or Tommy DeVito at quarterback for the Giants on Sunday, and probably for the season’s final two games.

The case for Taylor

I made my preference for starting Taylor clear on Tuesday. For me, it comes down to the simple fact that Taylor, a 13-year veteran, is a better quarterback right now than DeVito. Riding DeVito-mania for as long as possible was absolutely understandable, and I believe the locker room absolutely could support that.

Now?

Brian Daboll said Tuesday he has no plans to back off the reliance on star players like Saquon Barkley or Dexter Lawrence over the final couple of weeks, despite the Giants being eliminated from playoff contention. If you are going to ask Barkley, Lawrence, Andrew Thomas, Bobby Okereke, Xavier McKinney, Darren Waller and others to continue to carry heavy loads you owe it to them to put the best quarterback on field.

In my view, if you don’t do that you risk losing locker room support from key players that you will need far beyond the next two games.

The case for DeVito

The Giants have made it clear that their quarterback room is going to look different next season, and that Taylor, a 34-year-old free-agent-to-be, is probably not going to be part of it.

DeVito, who will be in his second season on a cheap three-year undrafted free agent contract, will be. Continuing to give DeVito snaps could be beneficial to the team — and DeVito — down the road.

Not backing off

As I mentioned above, Daboll was adamant that the best players will continue to play as much as they can. The Giants won’t back off or shut down players.

“If they are ready and capable to go, then they’ll be playing,” Daboll said.

That means riding Barkley. It means playing Lawrence as much as his hamstring will allow. It means giving Okereke and McKinney opportunities to finish the season having played every defensive snap. It means Thomas will continue to man left tackle despite not being fully healthy.

It means we probably won’t see much of rookies like Eric Gray, Tre Hawkins and Marcus McKethan.

Who is QB3?

The Jacksonville Jaguars plucked veteran backup quarterback Matt Barkley off the Giants’ practice squad on Tuesday.

The Giants will need to add a quarterback to the practice squad as protection over the final two weeks. One possibility is Jacob Eason, who spent a month on the team’s practice squad earlier this year. Another is Ian Book, who worked out for the Giants around midseason when they originally signed Barkley.

Playoff scenarios

The Giants are out of the playoff chase. The Rams, though, are in the thick of it.

The Rams clinch playoff berth with:

  1. LAR win + SEA loss OR
  2. LAR win + GB-MIN tie

Can the Giants play spoiler and make the Rams go to Week 18 needing a win to get in?

Punter problem?

Punter Jamie Gillan was on the injury report last week with a left groin injury, significant since he is a left-footed punter. He was obviously laboring against the Philadelphia Eagles, hitting poor punts on his first two efforts.

To make matters worse, Daboll said that Gillan injured his knee while trying to chase down Britain Covey on his 54-yard punt return.

The Giants have gone through four placekickers this year. Could they now need a second punter?