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Players to Watch: 10 Giants to keep an eye on


The Giants will return from their bye week with one of the best records in the NFC at 6-2.

The week off comes at a good time for Brian Daboll's squad. The Giants went on the road for three of their last four games, including two long flights to London and Seattle. They will return after the bye with back-to-back home games against the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. In fact, four of their next five games will take place at MetLife Stadium.

Here are five players to watch on each side of the ball in the second half of the season.

QB Daniel Jones

Jones leads the NFL with five game-winning drives heading into Week 9. His current completion percentage of 65 percent would be a career-high, while his four total turnovers puts him on pace for the fewest in his four-year NFL career. Jones hasn't been asked to really sling the ball yet this season, as he is averaging just under 175 passing yards per game with only six passing touchdowns. His 363 rushing yards rank third among quarterbacks (behind Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields), while his three rushing scores are tied for the second-most at the position.

"We're all excited," Jones said about the team's start. "It's been fun to win, it's been fun to play well, and pull out some of these games down the stretch. We appreciate the position we're in, we're enjoying that but there's a lot of work to do. I don't think anyone is satisfied with where we are. I think we understand, like I said earlier, we understand there's a lot still out there for us, there's a lot we still need to do if we want to be the team that we think we're capable of being."

RB Saquon Barkley

Now two years removed from the ACL injury that forced him to miss most of the 2020 campaign, Barkley looks to be back to his elite self. The talented running back has played at least 80 percent of the offensive snaps in each game, while his 191 total touches lead the NFL. Going into Week 9, Barkley ranks second in all-purpose yards at 968, only 14 yards behind Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill for the most in the league. Barkley's 97.4 rushing yards per game would easily shatter his previous career-high of 81.7 yards per game. The fifth-year back has also caught a team-high 28 receptions for 189 yards.

"It's really important to reset," said Barkley about the bye week. "It's a great time to look back at what we did so far, what we accomplished in the first half of the season. Learn from the good, learn from the bad, use that to get ready for the second half of the season and come out with the right mindset. At the end of the day you want to win every single game, but being 6-2, there's a lot of good out of that, but there's also a lot we can learn from it to be the team we want to be."

WR Wan'Dale Robinson

Robinson missed four games due to a knee injury suffered in the season opener. In his first game back, he had three receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens. The following week, he reeled in six passes for 50 yards. Coming out of the bye, Robinson should be one of the team's leading receivers for the remainder of the year.

LT Andrew Thomas

Barkley's numbers are the flashiest, while Jones' game-winning drives might look the most impressive on paper. But neither would be possible without the stellar play from Thomas. The left tackle has been one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the NFL this season, and perhaps one of the top overall players. On 308 pass block snaps, Thomas has yet to surrender a sack and has allowed only one quarterback hit and nine total pressures. Jones called Thomas one of the top tackles in the league on Monday, and rightfully so.

"He's playing at an unbelievable level," Jones said about the left tackle. "I think when you compare him to guys across the league, I think he's the best. If not, he's certainly in that top two or there. He's playing at an unbelievable level and that's huge for us on offense. It's huge for me as a quarterback and being able to count on him playing at that level down after down, game after game. He's been huge for us. He deserves a lot of credit, certainly. It's no surprise to us, he comes to work every day. I think even last year he was playing at a really high level. He had some injury stuff; he was going in and out a little bit and that made it tough on him. He's a heck of a player for sure."

OL Nick Gates

Gates' comeback has been one of the feel-good stories in the NFL this season. 410 days after suffering a gruesome leg injury that at one point was thought to possibly be career-ending, Gates made his return to the field on Sunday and played five offensive snaps against the Seahawks. He played exclusively as an extra offensive lineman in some jumbo packages and helped lead the way for Barkley's 1-yard touchdown run. Gates could fight for time at one of the normal five positions on the O-line in the second half of the season.

"That was a great moment I think for us, and definitely for him," Thomas said about Gates' return. "Seeing him in practice was a great feeling for us earlier the past few weeks but seeing him on game day getting a chance to get out there and be on the field again is a great thing."

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