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Giants vs. Cardinals: Players to watch in Week 2


The Giants will look to rebound at the site of Super Bowl XLII.

Despite the 40-0 loss to the Cowboys, coach Brian Daboll told the media Wednesday that the team's approach to preparing for this weekend's game at State Farm Stadium does not change.

"It's the same thing whether you win or lose," Daboll said. "Again, obviously it was a bad loss, we understand that. You teach it, you show the stuff, you see where we could have fixed some things and then you fix them and once you come in on Wednesday, it's a full head of steam on the team you are playing."

The Cardinals are coming off a 20-16 loss to the Washington Commanders, a game in which Arizona led for most of the second half. However, the Commanders scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

Here are five players to watch in the Week 2 matchup.

QB Daniel Jones

In Week 1, Jones completed 15 of 28 passes for 104 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, while adding a career-high 13 rush attempts for 43 yards. He also fumbled the ball twice, but both were recovered by the Giants. Despite the rough start to the season, Jones has turned the page to Arizona.

"I think just getting back to work, focusing on what's ahead of us and what we can control now, and that's the next opportunity," Jones said Wednesday about how to move on. "I felt the guys did a good job coming out ready to go today and attacking this week."

Arizona allowed Commanders quarterback Sam Howell to throw for 202 yards on 19 of 31 passing with one touchdown and one interception, good for a passer rating of 77.6. Howell also added a rushing touchdown to his stats, but the Cardinals showed the ability to get after the quarterback. Arizona registered six sacks of Howell and finished with 15 total pressures. With head coach Jonathan Gannon having served as the Eagles' defensive coordinator for the previous two seasons, Jones knows Arizona is going to come out firing.

"I'm sure they'll come out ready to go and come out aggressive," the quarterback said. "They're a fast defense, they play really hard and fly to the ball. So, I would certainly expect them to do that, and we intend on coming out the same way."

In his last nine games following a loss, Jones has completed 69.8 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 100.5 passer rating, along with four scores on the ground. The Giants have gone 7-1-1 in those nine contests.

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

RB Saquon Barkley

The Giants struggled to get anything going against the Cowboys, but the sixth-year running back carried the ball 12 times for 51 yards, good for an average of 4.3 yards per carry, and added three receptions for 12 yards. Coming off his second Pro Bowl selection, a season in which Barkley ran for a career-high 1,312 yards, the fourth-highest total in the NFL, the running back could be in for a big day on Sunday.

In their Week 1 loss to Washington, the Cardinals limited the Commanders to 92 yards on 28 carries (3.3 avg.) and a touchdown. While the score came from Howell, running back Brian Robinson Jr. was able to find the end zone through the air on a seven-yard reception. Robinson finished with 66 yards and the score on 20 total touches.

DL Dexter Lawrence

One thing that did carry over from last season was Dexter Lawrence's strong play. The defensive lineman recorded four total pressures on just 21 pass rush snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, including two quarterback hits. This comes after Lawrence set numerous career-highs in 2022, including his 70 total pressures and 42 defensive stops. His 40 QB pressures when lined up as at nose tackle were 27 more than any other player.

Lawrence will have a good opportunity to keep the pressure going in Week 2. Cardinals center Hjalte Froholdt is in his first season with the team. He played 17 games with six starts for the Cleveland Browns last season and allowed seven sacks while spending time at center and right guard. In the season opener, Commanders interior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen had four tackles (three solo), one sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits against Arizona.

LB Isaiah Simmons

Simmons was on the field for just 15 defensive snaps (26 percent) and seven special teams snaps in his Giants debut last week. The versatile defender finished with just one solo tackle as he lined up all over the defense, but the 25-year-old has a chance to do more against his former team. The Cardinals traded Simmons to the Giants for a seventh-round pick a few weeks ago, a move that the linebacker admitted took him by surprise. As he gets more comfortable with the system, Simmons' role on the defense will continue to grow.

"I think his role is going to expand, because he's that good of a player and he's just learning the package," defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said Thursday. "What is this, the third week he's been here? It's just going to keep expanding. Like I said, he's a positionless player, which is a compliment to him. We can move him around and play him in different spots. Through attrition, there's going to be different spots that are open and each week, you put him in the best spot that you need him in to help us in."

The former No. 8 overall pick had 7.5 sacks during his time in Arizona, and the Giants hope he can get going in the pass rush on Sunday. In addition to his contributions on the field, Simmons will be leaned on throughout the week in order for the Giants to gain some insight into his old team.

"I think anytime you get players that were other places, you ask them stuff," Daboll said. "But I've been in the league a long time. You ask them stuff and you don't really—I mean, we've got to take care of our business and make sure that we're prepared with what we see. If there's certain things we want to ask him, absolutely. Whether it's a player or a scheme, you try to uncover every stone you can."

S Xavier McKinney

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw for just 143 yards against the Giants in Week 1, but the game script certainly played a big role in that. Nevertheless, the pass defense held up, thanks in part to the play of Xavier McKinney. The fourth-year safety had four tackles (one solo) along with two pass breakups, and even added a pressure on just two pass rush snaps. He was on the field for 26 coverage snaps, according to PFF, and allowed just one reception for two yards on four targets thrown his way.

Arizona boasts a talented tight end duo in Zach Ertz and Trey McBride. The veteran Ertz made his return to the field in the season opener after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 10. The 32-year-old was targeted a team-high 10 times, five more than any other pass-catcher, but turned it into six receptions for just 21 yards. Meanwhile, McBride, the second-year tight end out of Colorado State, caught both of his targets for 23 yards.

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


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