1) CB Jayron Hosley
– With Prince Amukamara
sidelined by a hamstring injury, the next man up at corner is rookie Jayron Hosley. Most of Hosley’s work this season has come at the nickel spot, but the third-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech feels just as comfortable on the outside. Hosley has started four times already this season and recorded 30 tackles, one forced fumble, and an interception against Carolina in Week 3.
“He has great ball skills and he’s one of those guys in practice, he seems to always be around the tipped ball,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. “He can always tip the ball up and intercept it and catch it. You just kind of shake your head because he’s always making plays.”
2) RBs Kregg Lumpkin/Ryan Torain
– Signed together heading into Week 13 after Andre Brown
was placed on injured reserve, the Giants’ newest running backs have been on an accelerated learning plan. The depth at the position has been put to the test with the latest injury to Ahmad Bradshaw
, who has been ruled out against Atlanta. Lumpkin, who has played in both games since joining the team, has seen action primarily on third down, while Torain has yet to dress on game day.
“They’re working hard, those kids are working full-speed, and they’ve had to,” Tom Coughlin said. “They’ve had accelerated learning, they’ve basically had to learn game plans rather than start from the very beginning. We’ve been impressed with the way they’ve applied themselves.”
3) LB Jacquian Williams
– The second-year linebacker returned from a six-game absence last week and recorded five tackle and broke up two passes. Last week Williams helped keep the Saints’ Jimmy Graham in check; this week the Giants face future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez.
“Having him back, I think I was asked last week, “What do you see when he comes back?” Fewell said about Williams. “You see speed, you see quickness. You see an element you almost forgot about because he hasn’t been with you and you say, ‘Oh man, yeah, I can use this.’ We’ll definitely use him to our advantage.”
4) S Will Hill
– The first-year safety had a career-high seven tackles last week against New Orleans, a game which Kenny Phillips
missed due to injury. Phillips is again ruled out for Sunday, and while the Giants boast Antrel Rolle
and Stevie Brown
, Hill will factor in against the high-powered Falcons offense. Fewell spoke about the challenge of having players in and out of the lineup.
“The consistency is always the issue,” Fewell said. “Most of the time, our guys are pretty good about trying to get on the field, but you do miss the consistency in trying to put together a plan that includes people that you hope will be there on game day vs. people that may be there on game day. That’s always challenging.”
5) WRs Hakeem Nicks/Victor Cruz
– Two of the NFL’s best receiver tandems will be in action on Sunday. On one sideline, you have Nicks and Cruz, while the other has Atlanta’s Roddy White and Julio Jones. Nicks isn’t focusing on which is better. He’s more concerned with the Falcons secondary.
“They’re a good team,” Nicks said Friday. “They’ve got that record for a reason. They play good team ball. They fly around, but at the end of the game with any defense you see are things you can take advantage of, but we’ve just got to hit them when those opportunities come.”