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Giants vs. Bills Storylines: What to watch for


WATCH: Coach Tom Coughlin updates injuries and talks prep for #Giants vs. Bills

— New York Giants (@Giants) September 30, 2015


> Inside the Numbers: Coach's milestone
> Cruz aims for debut on Sunday
> NFC East Roundup: Week 3 in the books
> Photos from Giants Practice
> Watch Locker Room Interviews

Nearly a full year removed from suffering a season-ending knee injury last October, Victor Cruz is on track to return. The wide receiver is convinced it will happen this Sunday when the New York Giants (1-2) take on the Buffalo Bills (2-1). After a promising start to training camp, a calf injury, not the knee, delayed Cruz's comeback. He was able to do work on the side during Monday's workout, but Wednesday's extensive practice will be a better gauge if it indeed is going to happen this week. Whether it's this week or down the road, emotions are sure to be high.

"Even driving in [on Monday], I was kind of like, 'Man, I'm driving in and I'm actually going to be putting a helmet on,'" Cruz said. "This is around the same time it all happened last year. It was a little emotional. I can't lie, there might be some emotions spread out there on the field Sunday, as well."

Of course, Cruz's salsa dance is also ready to come back.

"I'm not changing up anything," he said about his signature touchdown celebration. "Will there be tears of some sort? Maybe. I'm not going to confirm nor deny that."


The backend of Thursday night games essentially gives teams a second bye week, which will help players like left tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle), cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion), and defensive ends Robert Ayers Jr. (hamstring) and Owa Odighizuwa, the rookie third-round draft pick who has yet to play due to a foot injury. Coughlin reiterated Monday that they will all have to go through a full week in order to prove they are ready to go.

About Flowers, who was replaced by Justin Pugh in Week 3, Coughlin said, "He was moving around, we'll see. He wants to go. He keeps telling me when I ask, 'How you doing?' 'Great. Everything's great.' He's pretty good at that."


Cruz's pending return opens up the possibilities of how the coaching staff will utilize him along with fellow wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle.

They haven't been on the field together much because just as Beckham was making his debut in Week 5 of last season, Cruz suffered his injury in the following game against Philadelphia.

No one will be happier than quarterback Eli Manning.

"I think from a slot receiver position, there's definitely some holes there that I can hopefully, God willing, fill and be the same player of old, and do some things in that area," Cruz said.

"Other than that, I think Rueben played well last game (Randle had seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown vs. Washington), he's feeling well. Odell is being Odell, so I think from a receiving standpoint, we're just fine. It's just adding more weapons and adding more people for Eli to be comfortable with is always good."


As dictated by the NFL's scheduling rotation, the Giants play the AFC East every four years.

And the last two times have worked out pretty well. The Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011 as Coughlin holds a 7-1 record in the regular season against the AFC East since joining the Giants in 2004.

The only loss came to the Patriots in Week 17 of 2007, which the Giants avenged a few weeks later in Super Bowl XLII. Furthermore, this will be the 12th regular-season meeting between the Bills and Giants, with Buffalo holding a 6-5 edge. The Giants won the only postseason meeting between the two teams in Super Bowl XXV, which the organization is celebrating the 25th anniversary of this year.


Once a co-tenant of MetLife Stadium as the head coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan took over the reins in Buffalo this year. In six seasons with the Jets, Ryan had 46 wins and 50 losses, one of which came at the hands of the Giants in 2011. The Giants' 29-14 victory in the only regular-season game between Coughlin and Ryan is remembered for Cruz's 99-yard touchdown that sparked Big Blue's Super Bowl XLVI championship run.

Ryan enters this week with the No. 3 team in scoring (33.3 points per game) but just No. 30 in total defense (400.7 yards per game). However, the Bills do boast the No. 1 rushing defense, and just behind them are the Giants at No. 2.

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