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Fact or Fiction: 2022 midseason superlatives

FACT-OR-FICTION

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

Saquon Barkley has been the team's offensive MVP of the first half

John Schmeelk: Fact – Do you even need an explanation why? OK, let's keep it simple. The Giants have gained 2,565 yards this year. Saquon Barkley has accounted for 968 of them. He not only leads the team in rushing. He also leads the team in receptions, with eight more than his next closest teammate. Aside from the Seahawks game, Barkley has led the Giants in yards from scrimmage in every game this season. The Giants have 17 plays of 20+ yards this season. Barkley has accounted for eight of those plays.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – You can't go anywhere in the NFL without a quarterback, especially when you're playing in tight games like the Giants did in the first half of the season. Whether it's playing through pain, leading game-wining drives or both, the team has rallied around his leadership. And that team is 6-2.

Lance Medow: Fact – When you look at the statistics, you'll see Saquon Barkly leads the team in carries (163), rushing yards (779) and rushing touchdowns (five). The next closest player in rushing yards is Daniel Jones, who has 416 fewer than Saquon. On top of that, Barkley leads the team in receptions (28) and is third in receiving yards (189), just 43 yards behind Darius Slayton. Through eight weeks of the season, Barkley is second in the NFL in scrimmage yards (968) and is responsible for 38 percent of the team's total yards. Given how much the team has leaned on the ground attack, it's hard to make a strong argument for anyone other than Barkley.

Matt Citak: Fiction – This one was tough. Barkley has been nothing short of outstanding this season, as he enters the Week 9 bye ranking second in the NFL in both rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage. But the honor of team's offensive MVP in the first half has to go to Andrew Thomas. The third-year left tackle has taken a significant jump in his development this season. Thomas has become one of the top tackles in the NFL as he did not allow a sack over the first eight games of the season. Thomas has played a crucial role in the success of the run game, along with giving Daniel Jones some time to operate in the pocket. Thomas has been perhaps the best player on the entire team this season.

Dexter Lawrence has been the team's defensive MVP of the first half

John Schmeelk: Fact – An argument can be made for Adoree' Jackson, Xavier McKinney, or even Julian Love, but none of those players have made as many plays as Dexter Lawrence this season. He leads the team with four sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Only Jihad Ward has more than his three tackles for loss. Lawrence has consistently shrunk the depth of the pocket and has made a habit of taking offensive linemen on a ride into the backfield.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said Lawrence is "maybe one of my most favorite players that I've ever been around in my life." That's high praise from someone who is in his 18th NFL season and 35th in coaching.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Dexter Lawrence is having a career year and deserves recognition for his strong play, but I'm not sure I'd label him as the MVP of the unit, especially since several players have contributed up front. That's why I'd lean toward Adoree' Jackson. When the team parted ways with James Bradberry this offseason, that meant Jackson was clearly their most proven corner, based on experience and production. He's second on the team in tackles and passes defensed and is tied for the team lead in forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. Jackson has been a steady presence and has assumed a key role in stabilizing the backend of the defense.

Matt Citak: Fact – If Thomas has been the team's best overall player in the first half, then Lawrence finishes in a very close second. The defensive lineman has registered four sacks, 11 quarterback hits and one forced fumble through the first half of the season. All of those marks match his previous career-highs, but for an entire season. Lawrence has 26 total pressures and has been performing as one of the top pass rushing defensive linemen in the entire league. NBC Sports' Peter King listed Lawrence in his top five choices for Defensive Player of the Year this week in his mid-season awards, and rightfully so.

View photos from the first half of the season as the Giants entered the bye at 6-2, their best start since 2012.