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Giants vs. Packers: Week 5 storylines to follow


The Giants bounced back from their first loss of the season in Week 3 to jump out to a 3-1 start heading into this weekend's game against the Green Bay Packers in London.

In last week's victory over the Chicago Bears, the Giants rushed for 262 yards, including 146 yards from Saquon Barkley. The defense picked up six sacks of Bears QB Justin Fields and the Giants forced three turnovers in the win.

The Packers took on the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field last week and emerged with a 27-24 overtime victory. Aaron Rodgers threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns, while the defense held Patriots QBs Brian Hoyer and Bailey Zappe to 104 net passing yards.

Here are five storylines to follow in this weekend's game overseas:

1. Return to London

In 2007, the Giants took part in the NFL's first game in London as they defeated the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium, 13-10. Following a return in 2016, a 17-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium, the Giants will hope to go 3-0 in international games this weekend. Brian Daboll and the coaching staff are trying to keep things simple for the players so the team can remain focused on the Packers.

"It's my first time going across seas to participate in a football game," Daboll told the media Monday. "We look forward to it; not much longer travel time than it is to go to the West Coast. So, we'll just try to do our job during the week to get ready. I think the sports science staff, the trainers, like I said (vice president of team operations) Jim Phelan, LY (Laura Young), they've done a good job of getting ready so we can concentrate on the teams we were playing."

Sunday's game will represent the 32nd NFL game in London. Oddly enough, the Packers are the 32nd and final team to head overseas to play an international game. There have been 41 regular-season international games in NFL history -- 31 in London, six in Toronto, and four in Mexico City. The combined winning percentage of .750 between the Giants and Packers is the highest ever in an international game in Week 4 or later.

View photos from practice as the Giants gear up for their Week 5 matchup against the Packers in London.

2. Questions at QB

Due to injuries, the Giants had three players line up at quarterback during last week's win. Daniel Jones started the game and took most of the snaps at QB before he suffered an ankle injury in the third quarter. Veteran backup Tyrod Taylor then came in, but was forced out of the game with a concussion early in the fourth quarter. Jones would return after Taylor's departure, although he did not attempt a pass or run after going back in. Saquon Barkley also wound up taking a few snaps in the wildcat formation.

Taylor is still in the concussion protocol and did not practice on Wednesday. As for Jones, Daboll said the fourth-year quarterback would practice "some" and see where he is at physically. Jones was officially listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice.

"He'll practice some. We'll see where he's at. We'll see where he's at after today…" Daboll said before practice. "He's a pretty tough individual. I think he's made a lot or progress since after the game, and he's been in the treatment room pretty consistently throughout these last couple of days. So, we'll put him out there, give him some reps and see where he's at."

If Jones and Taylor are unable to go Sunday, the Giants would hand the offense over to Davis Webb. The sixth-year veteran has yet to attempt a pass in a regular season game. However, he came to the Giants after spending the last three seasons in Buffalo with Daboll. The head coach feels good about Webb and knows the veteran will be able to run the offense if called upon.

"I have a lot of confidence in Davis," the head coach said. "He hasn't played a full game in the regular season, but I've been around him for four years. I've watched him compete. I watch how he prepares. I watch how he leads. If he is afforded this opportunity, then Davis will be ready."

In the three preseason games this year, Webb completed 74.1 percent of his passes for 457 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

3. Saquon's record-setting start

There is no other way to put it – Saquon Barkley has gotten off to a tremendous start this season. Barkley has rushed for 463 yards on 84 attempts through Week 4, both of which lead the NFL. He has averaged an incredible 5.5 yards per carry and 115.8 yards per game, while topping the 140-yard mark twice. As if that wasn't enough, he has also caught 15 passes for 107 yards, which has led to him being the league's all-purpose yards leader at 570 (next is Browns RB Nick Chubb with 496).

Barkley has averaged over 4.7 yards per carry in three of four games this year. More importantly, the fifth-year running back has already made Giants history. His 463 yards through four games set a new franchise record, topping Tiki Barber's record of 455 yards in 2004. His performance has helped the Giants average an NFL-high 192.5 rushing yards per game, their most through four games since 1956 (207.3) when Vince Lombardi was offensive coordinator.

The Packers have struggled to stop the run in three of four games this year. While they held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to just 34 rushing yards in Week 3, the other three opponents they faced each had over 125 yards on the ground, including two games with over 165 rushing yards. Green Bay ranks 22nd in the league having allowed 126.8 rushing yards per game, while opponents have averaged 5.0 yards per carry against them. In last week's win over the Patriots, Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris combined for 152 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries (4.8 avg.).

View some of the best photos from the Giants' previous trips to play in London.

4. Defense coming up clutch

Although the run game is certainly a significant reason for the Giants' 3-1 start, the clutch performance of the defense has been equally as important. The Giants enter this weekend's matchup ranking ninth in the league in scoring defense, having surrendered just 17.8 points per game. However, the unit has really been stepping up in key situations through the first month of the season.

Wink Martindale's unit has held opponents to a 29.4 conversion percentage on third down, the second-best mark in the NFL. The Giants' red zone defense has also stood out, as the unit ranks second in opponent red zone touchdown percentage (35.7 percent). The success continues even when you extend out of the red zone, as they are tied for the second-best mark in opponents inside the 30-yard line touchdown percentage (25.0). The Big Blue defense also has the sixth-best opponents three-and-out percentage (25.0).

The unit has seen several players step up over the last few weeks. Dexter Lawrence is coming off one of the best games of his career, picking up two sacks and eight total pressures against the Bears. His 90.8 pass rush grade from Pro Football Focus this year is the highest at his position, while his 90.0 overall mark ranks fourth. Cornerback Fabian Moreau has also played well, especially considering the fact that he joined the team only a few weeks ago. He ranks 11th among cornerbacks with 76.8 overall and 77.5 coverage grades. Veteran linebacker Jaylon Smith shined in his 2022 debut last week, earning an 83.8 overall grade, which would be the fifth-best mark at his position on the season.

5. Scouting Aaron Rodgers and the Packers

It's no secret that Aaron Rodgers is good at football. The back-to-back reigning MVP has completed 69.0 percent of his passes this season for 935 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions as he has led the Packers to a 3-1 start. Rodgers has thrown for two touchdowns in each of the last three games, with Green Bay scoring 27 points in two of those three contests.

"He's one of the best to ever do it," Daboll said Wednesday about Rodgers. "He's, much like I've said about some of the other really good players, he's fun to watch when you're not getting ready to play him. I'll be watching their offense and naturally you're just watching 12 and the things he does, how he moves people, the accuracy, off-schedule plays, and checks and things he does. He's as good as it gets and he's a hard quarterback to defend. He's impressive."

The Packers have a two-headed monster in the run game with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Dillon has carried the ball more, taking 57 rushes for 211 yards (3.7 avg.) and a touchdown. But Jones has been more efficient with his touches, as he's gained 327 yards on only 48 rushes (6.8 avg.). The two have also combined for 21 receptions for 150 yards and an additional score.

Green Bay's leading receiver has really begun to emerge over the last two weeks. Fourth-round pick Romeo Dubbs has totaled 13 receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns over the last two games. The rookie wide receiver now has a team-high 19 receptions for 184 yards on the season. Wide receiver Allen Lazard is second on the team with 174 yards on 12 catches with two touchdowns, while tight end Robert Tonyan has 13 receptions for 106 yards and a score.

On the defensive side of the ball, Rashan Gary leads the way with five sacks this season, followed by 2.5 from Preson Smith and two from Kenny Clark. Green Bay's standout corner Jaire Alexander missed their Week 4 win, and it remains to be seen if he suits up for this weekend's matchup in London. Linebacker De'Vondre Campbell leads their defense with 36 total tackles.

View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.