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10 things to watch in Giants vs. Jaguars

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TEAM IDENTITY

The ability the Giants have shown to overcome deficits this season has truly been impressive. The Giants are the only team in the NFL with three victories this year after trailing by 10+ points, and only the fourth NFL team ever to do it within the first six games of the season. Each of those double-digit comebacks came in the second half.

The numbers are even more outstanding when going more in-depth. The Giants are 3-0 when trailing after three quarters after going 2-48 in the same situation the previous five seasons. They are also 4-1 when their opponents score first, the only team in the league with four such wins. The Giants were 6-29 when their opponents scored first from 2017-21.

"I'd just say we work hard," Daboll said when asked about the team's identity. "We try do what we need to do each week, put the time, effort and energy into our preparation, into our process and then go out there and leave it on the field on Sunday – empty the tank, so to speak. And then we come in and do it again the next week. Don't get too far ahead of yourself. Don't really concentrate on things that have happened in the past. Turn the next page and focus on that page."

"Dabs has preached competitive stamina," Daniel Jones added. "It has been one of his things he's talked about a lot through training camp even back to the spring. I think guys have really grabbed on to that… Being able to compete for the whole game, for 60 minutes regardless of what happens, regardless of the situation. Being tough enough mentally and physically to compete for the whole game."

ALL-TIME SERIES

Sunday's game will be the eighth all-time meeting between the Giants and Jaguars, with Jacksonville holding a slight 4-3 lead in the series. The teams last met in Week 1 of the 2018 season, which was Saquon Barkley's NFL debut. While the Jaguars ended up winning the game, 20-15, Barkley rushed for 106 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown run. This will be Doug Pederson's first time facing the Giants since he coached the Eagles back in 2020.

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INJURY REPORT

Giants

Out: CB Cor'Dale Flott (calf), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), OLB Oshane Ximines (quad)

Questionable: C Jon Feliciano (groin), S Jason Pinnock (ankle)

Jaguars

Out: WR Jamal Agnew (knee), CB Shaquill Griffin (back)

Questionable: DL Folorunso Fatukasi (quadricep), DT DaVon Hamilton (foot), WR Marvin Jones Sr. (hamstring), LB Foyesade Oluokun (calf)

DJ'S CONSISTENCY

There are numerous different factors that have led to each of the Giants' comebacks this season, but one remains constant – the steady play of quarterback Daniel Jones. After falling behind, 20-10, early in the fourth quarter, Jones calmly led the Giants on a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that finished with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Bellinger and brought the Giants within three. He did the same thing in Week 5, when he quarterbacked the team down the field on a 15-play, 91-yard touchdown drive to tie the game before leading a six-play, 60-yard scoring drive to put the Giants on top.

Heading into Week 7, Jones leads the NFL with four game-winning drives this season. He totaled three game-winning drives in his first three years in the league. His 67.3 completion percentage would be the highest of his career, while his two interceptions and two fumbles through six games are both on pace to be career-lows. According to Pro Football Focus, his adjusted completion percentage (which accounts for dropped passes) of 81.2 percent is the highest in the league. In last week's win over Baltimore, Jones completed over 70 percent of his attempts for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

"His job is to compete, to lead his football team down, particularly the offense, make good decisions with the football, take care of it, execute in the red zone," Daboll said about Jones after the Week 6 win. "And this was another fourth quarter one for him. Again, when you're a quarterback, you love to throw it 60 times a game. But we have to, each week, we have to play the way we think we have to play. Look, it was far from perfect. It really was. That's a hell of a football team over there, but I appreciate the way he competes. And I think his level-headedness really helps him."

SAQUON 'MANAGING' SHOULDER

Saquon Barkley has been tremendous this season. The fifth-year running back leads the NFL with 771 total yards from scrimmage, and is the only player with 85+ total yards in every game this year. Barkley was briefly forced out of the Week 5 win over Green Bay when he injured his shoulder, but returned to the field and ended up scoring the game-winning touchdown. The talented back was a limited participant in practice last week and ended up playing 88 percent of the snaps against Baltimore, finishing with 95 total yards and a touchdown. Barkley has once again been limited at practice this week, and while he did call the injury "annoying", he isn't worried about it affecting his productivity.

"t's annoying, but it's not something that's going to stop me from going out there and being able to produce," said Barkley. "Just like anything throughout the season, it's every year – it's football, something is going to happen. Just got to stay with it. The trainers have been doing a really good job of setting up a program for me and also getting in the strength room, setting up a great program too. Just stick with it."

Barkley was not listed on the final injury report.

GROWING ROLES FOR WAN'DALE, BELLINGER

After injuring his knee in the season opener, Wan'Dale Robinson returned to the field last week and immediately made an impact. The rookie second-round pick (No. 43 overall) caught three of four targets for 37 yards and a touchdown, the first of his NFL career. He did this all while playing just 15 offensive snaps (23 percent) in Week 6.

"I'm glad he caught those couple balls when he had the opportunity to," Daboll said after last week's win. "I have to look at them – that touchdown, I was excited for him anytime you can get your first touchdown obviously along with a win. But I don't know how many plays he played, but we managed him a little bit. Hopefully we'll get some more out of him next week."

Daniel Bellinger was one of the select rookies to earn a spot in the starting lineup in Week 1. Although he did not receive a target against the Titans, the rookie tight end has been one of the team's leading receivers ever since. During last week's win over Jacksonville, Bellinger caught all five of his targets for 38 yards and a touchdown. He was on the field for 94 percent of the offensive snaps (61 snaps).

Bellinger is up to three touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing), which is the second-most on the team behind Saquon Barkley. The tight end has been one of the most consistent players on offense.

"I think he's improved since he's been here," coach Brian Daboll said. "He's been available, he's worked hard. He's done a good job inside and outside the building."

DEXTER A 'FORCE' UP FRONT

In a season full of bright spots, Dexter Lawrence's development has been one of the brightest. The defensive lineman is in his fourth NFL season and has already made a massive jump this year. Through six games, Lawrence has registered four sacks and 10 quarterback hits. The sack total matches his previous career-best mark set in 2020, while the QB hits are one shy of his personal best. As his defensive coordinator told the media Thursday, Lawrence has been a 'force' in the middle of the Giants defense.

"He's the player that we thought he would be," said Martindale. "He's using his length. He's using his power. He's converting from the run game to pass rush on play-action pass. He's being the force that we thought he would be."

In the first three games of the season, Lawrence did not play more than 81 percent of the team's defensive snaps. However in each of the last three weeks, each of which resulted in Giants victories, the defensive lineman played 90+ percent of defensive snaps. Prior to this season, he had never played 90 percent of snaps in a game. Although Martindale expressed some concern about the increase in playing time, he indicated that it's hard to take Lawrence off the field when he's playing at such a high level.

"He's in great shape right now," the coordinator said about Lawrence. "It does concern you for the 17-game schedule, so we're going to try to find spots to spot him some reps. But when he's playing as well as he is, it's so hard to –. It's like if you had a Rolls-Royce, wouldn't you want to drive it everywhere? It's just, he's playing really well. And he wants to go back in. We're going to try to peel back on some of those reps if we can; it always depends on where we're at in a game."

KAYVON, NEAL PROGRESSING

Kayvon Thibodeaux missed the first two games of the season due to a knee injury suffered during the preseason. It took him a little time to get going, but the rookie outside linebacker has shown over the last few games why the Giants took him with the fifth overall pick. Thibodeaux has recorded 11 pressures over the last three games, including the strip-sack of Ravens QB Lamar Jackson that led to the Giants' game-winning touchdown.

"It's a blessing," Thibodeaux said after contributing to last week's win. "It was the greatest moment. I really sat out there and cried just because the emotion I felt that now, I'm in the NFL. Now that you can really contribute and this is what they pay me to be here for, so the fact that I was able to get it done is a great feeling."

Thibodeaux has registered at least three pressures in each of the past three weeks. On top of his pass rush abilities, Thibodeaux has also broken up three passes, and racked up three run stops against the Ravens.

On the other side of the ball, Evan Neal is the only Giants rookie to start every game this season. Other than Week 4 against the Bears when he missed a part of the game due to a neck injury, Neal has not left the field. The rookie right tackle has played 100 percent of the offensive snaps in every other game this season and has shown a lot of progress since struggling against DeMarcus Lawrence and the Dallas Cowboys.

Neal is coming off one of his best performances in last week's win. Neal surrendered just two hurries on 34 pass block snaps.

"He's a young player, he's going to learn and get better every week and that's what he's done," Jones said about the rookie RT. "We all have a lot of trust and a lot of confidence in him. That's what he's shown. I think his approach, his work ethic, his day-to-day routine – I think you can see how important it is to him. It's no surprise he's continued to get a lot better every week."

FAMILIARITY WITH DOUG PEDERSON

Last week, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale faced his former team in the Baltimore Ravens. Martindale spent 10 seasons with the Ravens, leaving Baltimore only a few weeks before joining the Giants. It may not be quite the same situation this week, but offensive coordinator Mike Kafka has some ties to the Jacksonville Jaguars sideline.

Kafka began his NFL playing career with the Philadelphia Eagles from 2010-11. During those two seasons, Doug Pederson, Jacksonville's head coach, was serving on Andy Reid's coaching staff, first as offensive quality control coach and then as quarterbacks coach. Because of their roles, Kafka and Pederson worked closely together, obviously, as Pederson was once an NFL quarterback, as well.

"Doug is great," said the offensive coordinator. "Great person. He's a great football coach. He sees the game through the quarterback's eyes being an ex-quarterback, so that was always great. His meetings were very detailed. I loved playing for Doug."

On the field, Pederson has helped transform the Jaguars' offense. Jacksonville ranked last in points and 28th in yards last year. Through six games, the unit ranks 15th in points and 11th in yards, while second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence has looked significantly better. The 2021 first overall pick has completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 1,397 yards (232.8 yards per game), nine touchdowns and four interceptions, and added two scores on the ground in last week's loss. Martindale believes Pederson was the perfect coach to help Lawrence improve his game.

"I think that it's a perfect marriage between he and Doug and Mike McCoy, the quarterback coach," said the defensive coordinator. "Doug has always had a good quarterback and they always play well with his offense. It's pretty cool to see just because of how much I respect Doug and Trevor because he was the first player taken in the draft. You know he has talent."

SCOUTING THE JAGUARS

The Jaguars have improved significantly from last season, starting with Trevor Lawrence. The second-year quarterback has completed 65.5 percent of his passes this season for 1,397 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He also added two rushing scores in last week's game against the Colts. Lawrence, along with the talented running back duo of James Robinson and Travis Etienne, have helped lead Jacksonville to No. 15 in points and No. 11 in yards this season.

"I know Trevor; I recruited him, too," Daboll said Wednesday. "It was the same year (Chicago Bears quarterback) Justin (Fields) came out. From Cartersville, Georgia – tremendous high school football player. You go down there and watch a practice. He can play on Sundays when he's down there in high school. He was really, really talented. He's really talented now. I think he's doing a great job in Coach Pederson's offense. He's big. He can throw it accurately. He can move. They run him on some quarterback, not just keepers, but also quarterback designed runs, too. So, athletic, smart. He's a really good person, too. He's going to be a good player in this league for a long time."

The defense will be going up against a familiar face on Sunday. Tight end Evan Engram, who was with the Giants from 2017-21, has 24 receptions for 208 yards in his first season with the Jaguars.

"I got a chance to meet Evan. I think he's a talented player," Daboll said. "He's got good speed. He's got good quickness. He was a good young man. It was just for a short time that I got a chance to talk to him, but I thought he was a good player."

Moving over to the defense, Jacksonville has spent some top draft assets on the edge rusher position in recent years. Josh Allen was the seventh overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and the fourth-year OLB has gotten his season off to a strong start. Allen has a team-high three sacks, 10 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles in six games. While Travon Walker, the first overall pick in this year's draft, has recorded just one sack, he also has an interception and two pass breakups.

"They're really good," Daboll said about the two pass rushers. "Walker is the first pick of the (2022) draft, and Josh Allen is a dynamic edge rusher. He has a knack for getting to the quarterback, being a ball disrupter. He can drop. He's a really good player. He's done a good job there for a while. And Travon, having seen him at Georgia, he's very stout on the edge. Long. He's a good player. We'll have our work cut out for us."

Rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd has also made an impact on the defense. Lloyd currently ranks second on the team with 56 total tackles (31 solo), while adding six passes defensed and two interceptions.

View rare photos of the all-time history between the New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars.

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