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Giants vs. Broncos Storylines: What to watch for

Posted Oct 11, 2017

Five storylines to follow as the Giants prepare for Week 6 against the Broncos: 


1. WHERE DO GIANTS GO FROM HERE?

Following the Giants’ latest loss, a game in which the team lost four wide receivers – three for the season – due to injuries, every player was asked the same question in some form or another: Where do you go from here?
“Back to the drawing board,” safety Landon Collins said. “We have to figure out what it is that is hurting us at the end of the game. We are playing well, just not getting it.”

“Back to the film room,” defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. “Back to the film room and see what we did wrong. ... To tell you the truth, [it’s] very frustrating. All we can do is go back and look at the film, tell you what’s going on.”

“Hey, the only way to fix the mood is to get a win,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “Nothing else is going to change it.”

Changing it doesn’t get any easier in the last two games before the bye week. The Giants travel to Denver this week for a Sunday night game at Mile High and return home to host another vaunted defense in the Seattle Seahawks in Week 7.

2. NEW-LOOK WR DEPTH CHART


Sterling Shepard couldn’t believe the line forming at the MRI machine. While he was getting his own ankle checked out, the same one he injured in training camp, he saw fellow wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. Dwayne Harris wasn’t there at that particular moment, but nevertheless he was placed on injured reserve, just like Beckham and Marshall were following an unthinkable string of injuries to one position.

>> VIEW GIANTS DEPTH CHART

With those three done for the season and Shepard listed as day-to-day, Roger Lewis was the only healthy wide receiver following Sunday’s game. He has just 15 career catches in two seasons, but three of them have gone for touchdowns, including a 29-yarder in the second half against the Chargers. The Giants needed more depth, though, so they brought back Tavarres King and promoted Travis Rudolph and Ed Eagan off the practice squad.

3. ENGRAM TIME

The Giants had more tight ends than wide receivers in the huddle for the potential game-winning final drive last week. Rookie Evan Engram, the Giants’ first-round pick, was split out wide during the series, something he has the skillset to do from time to time. Whether he spends more time out wide or at tight end, Engram will likely be featured more. 

“We have packages where I’m split out wide and we have certain plays and I’m kind of familiar with the offense enough to know what’s going on up there,” Engram said. “So, it wasn’t that much of a difficult adjustment. There were just some small things that I just kind of had to go and roll with it. I felt comfortable out there. The next guy had to step up. We were trying to drive down there with the guys we had.”

“I mean, I think it’s a big opportunity for everybody,” Manning said. “But obviously Evan is one of the guys who has been here and Evan has been a playmaker already for us, so he’ll have some opportunities to get open. That’s not our goal to line him up at receiver. Every once in a while, we put him out wide. But [we] want to keep him running plays that he knows how to run.”

4. MILE HIGH CHALLENGE

Fresh off their bye, the 3-1 Broncos enter Week 6 with the No. 1 defense in yards allowed per game (260.8), including a league-low 50.8 yards rushing. Denver has won two in a row and three of the last four games in the series against Big Blue.

The teams most recently played in 2013, when Eli and Peyton Manning faced each other for the final time. The Broncos also won the last meeting in Denver on Thanksgiving night in 2009 (the Giants play on Thanksgiving at Washington this year for the first time since then).

In their only postseason meeting, the Giants defeated the Broncos, 39-20, in Super Bowl XXI. Quarterbacking Denver in that game was Hall of Famer John Elway, who is now the team’s president of football operations and general manager.

5. INJURY REPORT

In addition to the wide receivers, the Giants have a handful of injuries to keep an eye on this week. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (burner) and Collins (ankle) missed some time last week.

Meanwhile, for the first time in his six-year career, defensive end Olivier Vernon was inactive due to an ankle injury, ending a streak of 85 consecutive games played (including postseason) since the Dolphins drafted him in 2012. Starting running back Paul Perkins (ribs) and center Weston Richburg (concussion) also did not play.