Keep an eye on these five players as the Giants take on the Lions Friday night
Rookie outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter is the defensive player to watch against the Lions on Friday night.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - Carter is certainly high on my list for defensive players I want to watch this week. He made some plays against the Browns, but had a lot more success against their tight ends than he did their offensive linemen. With Connor Barwin still banged up, I expect Carter to get a bunch of snaps throughout the game on Friday night. I will be focused on safety Curtis Riley, though. It will be his first chance to start at free safety after missing the first preseason game with a hamstring injury. The Giants need their free safety to communicate well, be in the right place at the right time, and be a sure tackler. If Riley can play well Friday, he has a good chance of holding off the competition for the starting safety position next to Landon Collins.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - I think he'll be the most exciting one to watch, sure. You always want to see how the draft picks are handling the speed of the NFL game, and Carter has been turning heads – just like fellow rookie and defensive tackle B.J. Hill. They are two of the X-factors for this season. If the Giants can hit on them and they eventually become major contributors or maybe even starters, they will have a lot of success as a defense. With that said, I'm still going to agree with Schmeelk and Medow on this one. All eyes are on Curtis Riley, who has a chance to put his foot down on the free safety position now that he is back healthy.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - Last week, Lorenzo Carter was the defensive player I mentioned to watch in the preseason opener against the Browns, so now that he has one game under his belt, I wouldn't put him at the top of the list. Instead, I think watching what Curtis Riley does opposite Landon Collins is much more important. Riley didn't play against Cleveland due to a hamstring injury so this will be his first chance to play in a game as a member of the Giants and it's a huge opportunity given the starting free safety job is very much up for grabs.
Running back Wayne Gallman is the offensive player to watch.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - Sorry, I'm going to have to go with Davis Webb for a second consecutive week. After struggling in the opener (9 of 22 for 70 yards), it would be nice to see Webb rebound and be a more accurate thrower of the football. Improved footwork with a live pass rush coming at him will help stop him from airmailing some of his passes. The more reps Webb gets reading the blitz and getting the ball out on time, the faster he will come along as a quarterback.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Pat Shurmur wasn't around to watch Gallman as a rookie, but the head coach had nice words for the running back this week and said that he is "gaining an appreciation for what he is as a runner, a pass catcher, and a blocker." Shurmur is widely known for getting the most out of his quarterbacks, but he has an impressive track record with the ground game as well. This offense isn't going to be entirely a one-man show with Saquon Barkley. Shurmur will have everyone involved, including Gallman.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - With Saquon Barkley sidelined Friday night due to a hamstring injury, Wayne Gallman will see plenty of additional reps. But Gallman was on the team last year and we had more than enough of an opportunity to see what he can do. Instead, I think the offensive player to watch is Davis Webb. In the preseason opener against the Browns, last year's third round pick mentioned he was a bit amped up and that may have impacted his play as he completed just nine of his 22 pass attempts. What did he learn from that outing? What type of adjustments will he make against a new opponent? How will he bounce back? All those questions will be answered against the Lions.
Nate Solder vs Ziggy Ansah has been the best competition of the week
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - This might have well been the best matchup in Detroit, but David Diehl was out here watching the O-line/D-line one-on-ones for me, so I don't have a great sense for their back-and-forth. Olivier Vernon and Taylor Decker was another great matchup up front. I'm going to stay on the perimeter, however, and go with Odell Beckham Jr. and Darius Slay. Slay is one of the top cornerbacks in the league, and even though he wasn't constantly lined up on Beckham, when he was it was a great battle to watch. I think Beckham won the matchup.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Solder wasn't happy with the way he "kind of slowly oozed" into the preseason opener, his first game in a Giants uniform and not a member of the Patriots dynasty. So the joint practices came at the right time for him to come out firing this week. Meanwhile, Ziggy Ansah, now playing in Matt Patricia's defense that Solder knows so well from their New England days, provided a major test for the veteran left tackle and blindside protector of Eli Manning.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - The fact that Odell Beckham has yet to appear in a game since he suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 last year, going up against Lions All-Pro corner Darius Slay was his first test from an opponent who wasn't a teammate. While that may not seem like a big deal, given his lengthy rehab process, this is a notable milestone. When many Giants players spoke with the media this week, they emphasized the benefit of joint practices is that you go up against players who don't know your tendencies. Beckham and Slay don't compete against one another every day in practice, and given they are both considered one of the best at their respective positions, it's an ideal matchup for both and provided the necessary competition both sought.
The Giants will have more touchdowns than takeaways vs Detroit
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - SLAM: This is only a guess, but I bet both the Lions and Giants, especially after getting a lot of live work against one another at practice, will not play their starters a bunch on Friday night. That means a lot of minutes for a lot of younger inexperienced players that can sometimes be mistake prone. Both teams are now also very familiar with each other, which might make it difficult to score and make big plays. For those reasons, I think we'll probably see more takeaways for the Giants than we will see touchdowns.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact - You'd have better luck throwing darts at a board than giving a sound reason in predicting what will happen over the span of a preseason game. Nevertheless, predict I shall do. I think either Davis Webb or Kyle Lauletta (or both) might be primed to get things going with the backup units. The young quarterbacks have shown a good amount in practices and even took some reps with the first team this week. Now it's time to start translating it to games, albeit preseason.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact - No matter how opportunistic a team appears, takeaways are fluky. Sometimes they come in bunches; sometimes it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. That's why no matter the opponent, no matter the location of the game, I'll always say a team is more likely to find the end zone more often than collect takeaways.