After an unsuccessful trip to Dallas, the New York Giants return to MetLife Stadium this Sunday for their 2019 home opener. They will host the AFC East's Buffalo Bills, who last week defeated the New York Jets in a comeback thriller.
"It's always great to get back and play in front of the home fans," running back Saquon Barkley said. "Giants fans are amazing fans. (It's great) anytime you get back and play in front of New York, especially for my family coming from close, being home so they can come out to the game. I have a lot more people there. Now my daughter is a little older. She doesn't really understand the game, but she's definitely more interactive with it. It's going to be fun."
Here are three ways the Giants can put a smile on her face with a Giants victory on Sunday:
1. Defense needs to win one-on-ones. The Giants failed to record a sack or force a turnover last week against the Cowboys. The result was a loss for Big Blue and a perfect 158.3 passer rating for Dak Prescott, the first of its kind against the Giants with a minimum 20 pass attempts. The defense's next challenge is taking down second-year quarterback Josh Allen, who leads all players at his position in rushing touchdowns (nine) and 10-yard runs (24) since he was drafted seventh overall in 2018.
"When it comes down to whether you pressure or you four-man rush, it comes down to winning one-on-ones," defensive coordinator James Bettcher said. "We have to do a better job of winning one-on-ones. I think coming out of Week 1 in terms of that specifically, you don't sit back and say, 'I'm surprised, I can't believe this, I can't believe that.' I don't live in that world. I look at it as here's something we have to get better at, let's go work to get better at it. We're running to things, we aren't running from them."
2. Stay on schedule. The Giants gained nearly 500 yards in Dallas but had only 17 points to show for it. How does that happen? Not converting third downs. The Giants converted just two third downs on 11 attempts as the Cowboys did what they do best and controlled the football. The Giants need to stay ahead of schedule this week to avoid third-and-long situations against a Bills defense that boasts playmakers at every level.
"As an offense, you have to finish drives," offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. "Moving the ball, we did some things that we felt like were pretty good, but then not being able to convert on some third downs, whether or not it was in the red zone or the plus side of the field, those things catch up to you. We've done a good job, at least in preseason, of getting points on the board. That's what we're talking to our team about, is doing the same thing and getting the ball in the end zone. When we were winning games at the end of last year, we were doing that."
Keep an eye on these five players when the Giants host the Bills in Week 2.
3. Better tackling in the secondary. There was no skirting around the issue. Bettcher said the spot opposite veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins has to play better, particularly in tackling. The role was shared by rookie first-round draft choice DeAndre Baker and Antonio Hamilton, who made his first career start. They were part of a defense that allowed seven pass plays of at least 20 yards, which were tied with the Cardinals, Dolphins and Steelers for the most in Week 1. None of those teams won.
"I think that's what it came down to, some missed tackles at that position," Bettcher said. "Bake's going to get a chance to play there and you'll see Ham in situations and we will go from there. I think the plan will reveal itself like it did last week on Sunday. We just have to play better at the spot, just with the little things. It's not about ability. It's not what the guys are capable of doing. They just need to execute things that they know."