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Fact or Fiction: Points of emphasis for Week 2

FACT-OR-FICTION-SAQUON-BARKLEY

The Giants.com crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Turnovers were the biggest issue in Week 1.

John Schmeelk: Fiction – They are a close second. A blocked punt, two interceptions and five fumbles (one lost) is a formula for a loss every week no matter the opponent. Turnovers can also be fluky, especially in an opener with rain throughout the contest. Go with the pass protection because if it does not get fixed and remains an issue throughout the season, it could short-circuit the Giants' season. The Giants have six games against three excellent pass rushes in the NFC East, and they also have to deal with the 49ers, Jets, Bills, Patriots, Packers, Dolphins, and the Rams' Aaron Donald this season. It is not going to get much easier so the pass protection must be better next week.

Dan Salomone: Fact – One of the biggest keys to the Giants' success last season was having the second-fewest giveaways in the NFL. In addition to the two interceptions last week, the Giants put the ball on the ground five times and lost one of them.

Lance Medow: Fiction – It's never encouraging when you turn over the ball three times (2 interceptions, 1 lost fumble) and have a field goal blocked. Despite those mishaps, it was most alarming that Daniel Jones was continuously under siege. The Cowboys collected seven sacks and 12 quarterback hits and forced the Giants into at least one negative play on all 12 of their possessions. Dallas totally dominated in the trenches in all three facets and that's why the game was so lopsided.

Matt Citak: Fact – Although the conditions on the field were obviously far from ideal, the fact of the matter is a team can't win a football game with the ball security the Giants had in Week 1. Daniel Jones threw two interceptions while the Giants fumbled the ball a total of five times against the Cowboys. Only one fumble was lost, but nonetheless, this number is still way too high. After ranking second in the NFL with only 16 turnovers all of last season, one can expect the Giants to be significantly better at protecting the football this week and moving forward.

The Giants will lean heavily on the run game in Arizona.

John Schmeelk: Fact – The Cardinals play their safeties deep and their edge defenders wide, which should present a number of opportunities for the Giants to run the ball between the tackles with Saquon Barkley. You could expect them to run it successfully and for Barkley to top 100 yards for the firs time this season. Look back at how the Giants played against the Bears and Texans last season, and use that as guide.

Dan Salomone: Fact - The Giants are 2-10 when two-time Pro Bowl running back Barkley gets 15 or fewer touches in his career. It's a simple formula to get back on track.

Lance Medow: Fiction – The Cardinals' defense put together a very respectable performance in Week 1 against the Commanders as they had three takeaways, recorded six sacks and scored a touchdown. That unit also kept Washington's run game in check as the Commanders ran the ball 28 times for just 92 yards and their lone score was a product of Sam Howell's scrambling ability. You wouldn't think the Giants are going to lean heavily on one specific facet, especially since they won't have to worry about weather since the game will be played indoors. You also can't sleep on the Arizona defense.

Matt Citak: Fact – The Giants acquired several talented pass-catchers to the offense this year, but make no mistake, this is a team that wants to establish the run each and every week. Then, consider that standout left tackle Andrew Thomas may not suit up after hurting his hamstring in Week 1, which would be a big hit to an offensive line that surrendered seven sacks in the season opener. Sunday is shaping up to be a ground and pound game for the offense.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 2 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.

Daniel Jones will have a rushing touchdown.

John Schmeelk: Fiction – The Cardinals play a lot of zone, which may limit Jones' opportunities to scramble for a score in the red zone. If Brian Daboll calls a designed quarterback run of some kind, however, all bets are off. Perhaps this will be a Saquon Barkley game and he will be the one scoring all of the touchdowns.

Dan Salomone: Fact – In his last nine games following a loss, Daniel Jones is 7-1-1 with nine touchdown passes to zero interceptions. He also ran in four touchdowns in such games.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Commanders quarterback Sam Howell ran in for a score against Arizona last Sunday but that came late and he was only credited with a pair of carries. The Cardinals are running a similar defense to the Eagles since head coach Jonathan Gannon served as Philadelphia's defensive coordinator the previous two seasons. Even though Arizona doesn't have the Eagles' defensive front, Gannon's scheme limited Jones to just 26 rushing yards in the lone game DJ started against Philly in 2022 and 30 the previous year.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Jones is coming off a game in which he registered a career-high 13 rush attempts, and you can fully expect the quarterback to play a big role in the run game Sunday. You should not be surprised if he tops the 40-yard rushing mark against the Cardinals. But when it comes to punching the ball across the goal line, that honor will belong to Saquon Barkley. The Pro Bowl running back is going to find the end zone multiple times Sunday.

Kayvon Thibodeaux will record the first sack of the Giants' season.

John Schmeelk: Fiction – The Cardinals' offensive tackles aren't the weakness of the line with veteran D.J. Humphries and rookie first round pick Paris Johnson Jr. Left guard, Elijah Wilkinson on the other hand, allowed a sack, two quarterback hits, and five total pressures in Week 1 against the likes of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. It should be a monster game for Dexter Lawrence and/or Leonard Williams against Wilkinson. They will also have a chance to compete against former teammate Will Harnandez, who is starting at right guard.

Dan Salomone: Fact – With Azeez Ojulari dealing with a hamstring injury, Kayvon Thibodeaux could get the ball rolling against a Cardinals quarterback who joined the team three weeks ago.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Last season, Tomon Fox held that honor after recording a sack against the Titans in Week 1. He's currently on the practice squad so it's unlikely it'll be déjà vu all over again this year. Given the Commanders' first sack of the season was split between defensive end Montez Sweat and defensive tackle Abdullah Anderson against Arizona, go with Dexter Lawrence collapsing the pocket from the interior.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Thibodeaux and Dexter Lawrence are probably the two favorites to record the first sack of the Giants' season. However, let's go going with Isaiah Simmons. The versatile defender will return to Arizona where he spent his first three seasons before being traded to the Giants just a few weeks ago. Despite what players might tell the media, there is undoubtedly some extra motivation when facing your former team, especially one that traded you. Wink Martindale is going to dial up some early blitzes for Simmons, and the 25-year-old is going to hit home against his old team.

View rare photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Cardinals.

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