It's game week. With the New York Giants set to kick off against the Denver Broncos this Sunday, the crew gives you one bold prediction for the 2021 season.
John Schmeelk: Saquon Barkley will set a new career high in yards from scrimmage. As a rookie, Saquon Barkley had 2,028 scrimmage yards, including 1,307 on the ground. He will eclipse both of those totals this season. The Giants' offensive line last year showed they could run block well in a power running scheme after Barkley injured his knee. Wayne Gallman averaged 4.6 yards per carry and the team had a stretch of seven straight games (and eight of nine) when they ran for at least 100 yards.
What would those numbers have looked like if Barkley was the primary ball carrier? How many 10-15 yard runs would have become 40+ yard runs? How many yards and long touchdowns do those long runs produce?
Jason Garrett wants to run the football and Saquon Barkley will get plenty of touches. The only thing that might hold Barkley back is injury.
Dan Salomone: There's a chance – time will tell how good it was – that the current conversation of Daniel Jones not practicing with his new weapons will become a distant memory. It is sometimes tough to see the forest through the trees, but that is what the Giants' top decision-makers have been doing with the likes of Saquon Barkley, Kyle Rudolph, Kenny Golladay, and rookie first-round pick Kadarius Toney. The latter three were brought in this year to help Daniel Jones get the Giants over the hump, but they have seen little action together in competitive settings due to injuries. The good news is the Giants currently have no injury designations on them (e.g. injured reserve, physically unable to perform list). By the second quarter of the season, it could all be long forgotten in this week-to-week league.
"You can't ride the emotional roller coaster," coach Joe Judge said. "And the reality is, look, it's a league of extremes, right? One week you're the greatest thing out there; the next week you're the worst thing out there. You can't ride that emotional roller coaster. You've just got to stay committed to the process and keep pushing forward every week and do a good job every day, so that on Sunday you can have the rewards."
Lance Medow: Let's focus on a specific player as opposed to the team's outlook. Lorenzo Carter, who many thought would have a breakout third year, will have a career year in his fourth season. In fact, he'll lead the team in sacks and also set career-highs in tackles and quarterback hits. Carter's current career-highs were set in 2019 when he piled up 4.5 sacks, 13 quarterback hits, 45 tackles, five passes defensed and a forced fumble. In that season, he played 15 games (12 starts), then was limited to just five appearances in 2020 due to a torn Achilles.
When you take into consideration this is the final year of his rookie contact, he's coming off a significant injury and there's also an additional regular season game, Carter has all the motivation in the world to do damage across the board and the Giants will need him to be a consistent producer. Carter has all the tools to be a dangerous weapon for the Giants. It's just a matter of him staying healthy.
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands heading into Week 1.