1) DE Jason Pierre-Paul – While Pierre-Paul’s impact can’t be measured completely by numbers, it’s hard to overlook his five-game drought without a sack. He last had one in Week 9, which marked a streak of four straight games with at least one sack. Pierre-Paul, like the Giants, came on strong at the end of last year, notching 34 tackles and 6.0 sacks in the final four games of the regular season.
“We’re starting the playoffs early,” Pierre-Paul said earlier this week. “This is a playoff game for us. We have to win, otherwise we’re out. The guys know and I know it and I’m getting ready to give it my best shot and do all I can. We’ll see.”
2) WR Domenik Hixon – Two weeks ago, Hixon caught his first touchdown since his second season-ending knee injury last year. Last week, he led the team with five catches for 80 yards, including a long of 37. Steadily racking up 34 receptions for 490 yards in 11 games played this season, Hixon has also resumed his role as the primary punt returner, at least for the time being. Meanwhile, his veteran presence will be relied upon as the stakes become higher.
3) RB Ahmad Bradshaw – Although limited, Bradshaw (questionable) was able to practice on Friday and could be a major boost to the Giants sideline this Sunday in Baltimore. His fire was missed in last week’s shutout in Atlanta.
“He plays with determination,” Tom Coughlin said. “He’s focused. He’s extremely physical. He takes great pride in that aspect of the game. For him, he takes great pride in defying what anyone says he can’t do. He is someone on the sideline that’s not very patient and is not afraid to make a few comments about it.”
4) C David Baas/G Chris Snee – While there have been changes at the tackle position throughout the season due to injury, the interior of the offensive line has remained the same in every game. Baas (hip/shoulder) and Snee (hip), however, missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday but were able to go in a limited capacity to end the week. With nine calendar days left in the regular season, it would take a lot to keep them out, especially going up against Baltimore’s sizable defensive line.
5) K Lawrence Tynes – Althought he leads the NFL in field goals, Tynes has missed an attempt in each of his last three games, including a 30-yarder in Atlanta last week. On a team that has its back against the wall, Tynes is no stranger to pressure. The Giants will need him in a game that could come down to special teams.
“It’s just kind of a snowball effect,” Tynes said this week. “It’s all of us. We’ve worked on it. We’re pros. We know how to fix it and we’ve just got to get back to how we were the first 12, 13 games.”