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Giants vs. Cardinals Storylines: What to watch for

Posted Dec 20, 2017

Five storylines to follow as the Giants prep for Week 16 against the Cardinals:


1. CAN OFFENSE REPEAT IN THE DESERT?

The Giants exploded offensively last week with their highest totals in points (29) and yards (504) since the 2015 season, and did so against an Eagles team that boasts the best record in the NFL. They will try to repeat that effort in Week 16 against the Arizona Cardinals in their first visit in six years to University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of their Super Bowl XLII victory against New England. The Cardinals, who lost at Washington last week, are third in the NFC West at 6-8.
“A lot of weeks you have great plans, but I really liked what we had and it just got set up well,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “Sometimes you have those days where you get the right calls versus the right defense and you feel good about what’s going on and we were able to execute it and guys went and made the plays. I knew I could still throw it and I can play at a high level and run this offense.”

2. COLLINS NAMED PRO BOWL STARTER; ANKLE STATUS?

An ankle injury is no match for Landon Collins, who has been elected as the NFC’s starting strong safety in the upcoming Pro Bowl for the second year in a row. The NFL announced the rosters on Tuesday night for the all-star game, which is set to be played on Jan. 28 in Orlando. Collins, who was also a first-team All-Pro selection last season, is currently third among all defensive backs with 98 tackles. The third-year pro has been dealing with an ankle injury on and off since October but has yet to miss a start in his career.

"I think my second half was better than my first half, because of my injury,” Collins said. "And I think I’ve played pretty good to get everybody’s attention, and being one of the best in the game right now. I’m just humbled by it and grateful for it, going back-to-back times. It’s a blessing.”


Collins was listed as doubtful for last week’s game, toughing it out until he had to leave in the second quarter.

“Right now, I’d say we’d approach it the same [as last week],” interim head coach/defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said about his status. “But, with tweaking it again, I think we better be careful. We’ll see.”

3. INJURY REPORT

The Giants had a few more injuries coming out of last week’s game against the Eagles. Wide receiver Tavarres King, whose two receptions against the Eagles went for 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns, is in the concussion protocol. Linebacker B.J. Goodson also re-aggravated an ankle, and safety Darian Thompson was sent for an MRI with a knee issue. Safety Nat Berhe and wide receiver Travis Rudolph were inactive for the game with hamstring injuries.


4. OKWARA ACTIVATED; ROSTER MOVES

The Giants have activated defensive end Romeo Okwara from the injured reserve/designated for return list. Okwara, who has not played since spraining his knee in practice on Oct. 12, is eligible to suit up for the final two weeks of the season.

To make room on the roster for Okwara, the Giants waived linebacker Jeremy Cash. They also signed wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo to their practice squad. The 6-foot-1, 208-pound undrafted rookie played at Maryland before finishing his career as a graduate transfer at Syracuse in 2016. In his only season with the Orange, he set 10 school records, including receptions (94), receiving yards (1,482) and receiving yards per game (123.5).

5. GM INTERVIEWS UNDERWAY

The interview stage of the Giants’ general manager search began on Monday with Marc Ross, the team’s vice president of player evaluation. Team president John Mara and former general manager Ernie Accorsi, a 2016 Giants Ring of Honor inductee who is consulting the franchise in the selection process, conducted the interview. Ross also sat down with team chairman Steve Tisch this week.

Ross is in his fifth season with his current title after serving the previous six years as the team’s director of college scouting. Ross heads up the Giants’ college scouting department and the team’s draft. He joined the organization on May 18, 2007 and ran his first organizational draft the next year. Ross also works on special projects with director of pro personnel Ken Sternfeld.