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Players to Watch

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Players to watch on Sunday Night Football


The Giants will once again go on the road for an AFC East matchup when they travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills this Sunday.

Brian Daboll's squad is looking to improve its record to 2-4 on the season after falling to the Miami Dolphins, 31-16, in Week 5. Of course, this contest on Sunday Night Football will represent a homecoming for Daboll, who spent four seasons with the Bills (2018-21) and grew up in the area.

The Bills traveled to London to take on the Jaguars last week and wound up picking up their second loss of the season. Prior to the loss across the pond, Buffalo had won its previous three games, including one against the NFC East (Washington Commanders).

Here are five players to watch in the primetime matchup:

WR Wan'Dale Robinson

After missing the first two games of the season due to last year's knee injury, Robinson has seen his playing time increase in each of the last three weeks. He played just 22 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 3 before seeing that number jump to 64 percent in Week 4 and 67 percent this past weekend. Not only is Robinson playing more, but he's also been a key part of the passing game. The second-year receiver has caught 14 of 17 targets over the last three games, although he's only gained 79 yards, while adding an additional eight yards on two rushing attempts.

Buffalo enters this game ranking eighth in passing yards and third in passing touchdowns allowed on the year, while the unit's eight interceptions are tied for the most in the league. Robinson spends a lot of time running routes out of the slot, meaning he should see plenty of Bills nickel cornerback Taron Johnson Sunday night. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson has surrendered 11 receptions on 11 targets this season for 103 yards and a passer rating against of 105.7.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 6 matchup against the Buffalo Bills.

OL Ben Bredeson

Bredeson began the season as the team's starting left guard, but due to rookie John Michael Schmitz's shoulder injury, the veteran has moved over to center for the time being. Since shifting one spot over on the line, Bredeson has played 93 pass block snaps and has allowed just one sack. Schmitz has yet to practice this week, making it likely that Bredeson will get another start at center this week.

The offensive line is dealing with numerous injuries among both the starters and backups. Schmitz and left tackle Andrew Thomas (hamstring) were not able to practice Wednesday or Thursday, while right guard Marcus McKethan (knee) has been limited. Among the backups, Matt Peart (shoulder) has not practiced this week, while Shane Lemieux (groin) has been limited.

"You want all your players out there but next man up mentality, so we've got to do a good job of coaching it and we've got to do a good job of executing," coach Brian Daboll told reporters Wednesday.

The Giants enter Week 6 with a league-high 30 sacks allowed this season. On the other side of the field, the Bills have recorded 21 sacks through the first five weeks, three more than any other team. Defensive end Leonard Floyd leads the way with 5.5, while defensive tackle Ed Oliver is close behind with four.

OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux

Thibodeaux has been on a roll over the last three weeks. The second-year outside linebacker was held without a sack against the Cowboys and Cardinals, but has followed that up with four total sacks in the three games since. Thibodeaux has recorded 10 total pressures during that span, according to PFF, and has now matched his sack total from his entire rookie season. He recovered his first fumble of the season last week after picking up his first pass breakup the week before.

The Bills have protected quarterback Josh Allen well this season, allowing just nine sacks through the first five games, which is tied with the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Chargers for the seventh-fewest in the league. Thibodeaux and the rest of the pass rush must also keep a close eye on Allen using his legs to move the ball downfield. The sixth-year quarterback has recorded 20 rush attempts for 120 yards, good for an average of 6.0 yards per carry, and three touchdowns already this year.

DL Dexter Lawrence

The 6-foot-4, 340-pound lineman has been a force in the middle of the defensive line. Through the first five weeks of the season, Lawrence has registered 18 total pressures. To put that into perspective, he had 17 pressures through five games last year and finished the season with 63, which was among the leaders at his position. While none have resulted in a sack, this shows that the All-Pro lineman is getting close, and eventually some of those pressures are likely to turn into sacks.

Lawrence has also performed admirably against the run this season. PFF has the lineman down for 11 defensive stops, or tackles that constitute a "failure" for the offense. According to the analytics site, Lawrence has been the best interior defensive linemen against the run this season, and is among the top five at his position as a pass rusher. His teammate, Leonard Williams, also finds himself in the top five at the position as a pass rusher, according to PFF.

ILB Bobby Okereke

If Lawrence is the unit's force up front, then consider Okereke the anchor in the middle of the defense. After totaling five tackles in the season opener, Okereke has seen his production increase each week. In the four games since, the veteran linebacker has averaged over nine tackles per game, including double-digit tackles in each of the last two outings. The defense also picked up their first two interceptions of the season against the Dolphins, both of which Okereke was largely responsible for. He recorded an interception himself, his first since 2021, and tipped another pass by Tua Tagovailoa, which resulted in safety Jason Pinnock's 102-yard interception return for a touchdown.

"I just think that he is seeing things better as the middle linebacker," defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said Thursday. "He's put in the extra work. He's doubled down on playing well, and doing what he has to do to play well. I love his leadership, his communication skills. He's really on the cusp of starting to really take off. And he's been good anyway. I'm just saying he's playing better. You're seeing more plays; you're seeing him coming downhill and hitting people down in the redzone and things like that. It's really starting to show out."

Okereke has also been consistent against the run, picking up 15 defensive stops this season, including four in each of the last two games. The defense will need another strong performance from the veteran linebacker Sunday night against the Bills. We already touched on Allen's abilities as a rusher, but the Bills also sport a deep and talented backfield. James Cook leads the team with 292 yards on 61 carries (4.8 avg.), while veterans Damien Harris and Latavius Murray have combined for an additional 176 yards. The three backs have totaled four touchdowns on the ground in addition to 23 receptions for 205 yards.

View rare photos of the all-time series between the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills.


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