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Giants vs. Patriots: 5 players to watch


The New York Giants host the New England Patriots on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium for the third and final preseason game. After that, it's all systems go to the regular-season opener on Sept. 12 against the Denver Broncos.

Here are five players to watch:

QB Daniel Jones

Jones, like many Giants starters, will make their 2021 preseason debuts against the Patriots after holding joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday in New England. Backup Mike Glennon started each of the first two games.

What does Jones look to accomplish before he embarks on his third season?

"Just to get out there, be comfortable, move the ball and score points," Jones said. "Like any game or practice, just execute football plays, move the ball down the field and score. So, be efficient and execute as an offense."

The offense's success will largely be tied to the offensive line, headlined by former fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas at left tackle. Jones will look to further the chemistry with the group in live action.

"I think Andrew's done a great job," Jones said. "He's an extremely talented player, a smart player and a guy who comes to work every day. Works hard and prepares well, so I think it's just getting reps and working up front, seeing things, seeing looks and then working as a group. And I'm certainly a part of that also, so just working on that and working on chemistry. I think those guys have done a lot of good things this camp."

WR David Sills V

Sills has generated plenty of buzz at training camp, which he has carried over to the preseason games. Last week, he caught four passes for 31 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown to bring the Giants within one point of the Browns with 7:11 left in the game. The week before that, Sills led the team in receiving yards against the Jets in his first game since the 2019 preseason.

"I see a crafty receiver," Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry said. "He's been around the league for a minute now, so he knows some crafty moves that most receivers don't know. So, I see a crafty guy. He's a good guy to go against for me."

View photos of the Giants practicing with the Patriots in New England ahead of Sunday's preseason finale.

S Xavier McKinney

Around this time last year, McKinney suffered a fractured foot that required surgery. He was able to return for the final six games of his rookie year and ended on a high note with a game-clinching interception in the season finale. McKinney enters Sunday with some momentum generated by making a few nice plays in the joint practices with the Patriots. The Giants also put more on his shoulders in last week's game.

"I thought he did a good job," Judge said. "I thought he was able to line everybody up and get the communication out there. That was really the main goal of putting him out there, just putting that on his shoulders. Did a good job in some situations for us. (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat (Graham) calls the defense, but the signal callers on the field echo the call and they make the adjustments to make sure everyone is lined up and on the same page, so that was his role."

WR Matt Cole

The Giants cross-trained a few players last week against the Browns. Cole, who made the special teams play of the game the week before, saw some snaps at cornerback. The do-it-all Cole also made a tackle on punt coverage. Meanwhile, rookie cornerback Rodarius Williams took reps at safety as the coaches look to get the most out of the sixth-round pick.

"Whether special teams, offense, or defense, [Cole] just says 'yes sir' and goes out there and plays 100 percent," Judge said. "We were sitting there and looking at the amount of guys we were going to play [against Cleveland]. We knew the depth of some was going to be an issue. We knew it was going to be a hot day and playing a lot of snaps. We just turned around and said let's let Matt go out there. This guy competes on punt returns against a gunner. Let's see what he's got. To be honest with you, I've had experience with receivers in training camp and guys that have stuck around. One thing that impressed us was that he didn't blink. He went out there. He got the ball thrown to him a couple times. He made a nice tackle. He stopped them short right there and forced a field goal. Obviously, the calls were a little new to him. He got a crash course last night on our defense and some meanings, but he went out there to compete."

LB Oshane Ximines

The Giants wanted to get Ximines as many reps as possible last Sunday, and the outside linebacker made the most of them. Ximines led the pass rush with three quarterback hits, including a sack.

"It was good to see 'X' back out there with us," Judge said. "He had a good week of practice. We just wanted to get him some reps in. Go with 'X' and just get him back out there playing ball. He obviously missed a lot of ball last year being injured."

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