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Giants vs. Lions: 10 Things to Watch


Everything you need to know about the Week 8 matchup between the New York Giants (2-5) and Detroit Lions (2-3-1):

1. The matchup. The Giants and Lions enter Sunday's game on three-game losing streaks, which brought them down from highs of back-to-back wins before their respective skids. The game marks the midway point of the Giants' schedule, at which point last season they were 1-7. Big Blue has fallen consecutively to Minnesota, New England and Arizona, while Detroit dropped games to Kansas City, Green Bay and Minnesota.

2. Last time they met. The Giants will visit Ford Field for the first time since the 2014 season opener, when they suffered a 35-14 loss on Monday Night Football (which they will play on next week at home vs. Dallas). The teams last met on Sept. 18, 2017 – another Monday night – when the Lions defeated the Giants in MetLife Stadium, 24-10. The teams first met in 1930, when the Lions were the Portsmouth Spartans.

3. The "money" backer. The Giants added a dynamic playmaker to the defense this week in linebacker Deone (pronounced "Day-own") Bucannon. Originally a first-round pick (27th overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucannon has played in 75 regular-season games with 56 starts. His career numbers include 409 tackles (27 for loss), 12 passes defensed, seven sacks, seven forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He has also played in three postseason games with two starts.

Before he joined the Buccaneers this season, Bucannon racked up the vast majority of his stats over the course of five seasons with the Cardinals. James Bettcher, the current defensive coordinator of the Giants, was the outside linebackers coach when Bucannon arrived in Arizona in 2014. Bettcher spent the next three seasons with him as the team's defensive coordinator. Bucannon will fill Bettcher's "money backer" position, which must play the run and cover in the passing game.

4. Injury report. NYG – Out: WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), CB Corey Ballentine (concussion). DET – Out: CB Darius Slay (hamstring), DT Mike Daniels (foot), CB Amani Oruwariye (knee). Questionable: FB Nick Bawden (foot), DT Damon Harrison (groin).

5. Saquon good to go again. Saquon Barkley has recorded 15 games of 100+ scrimmage yards, tied with Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson for second-most in NFL history through a player's first 20 games (Edgerrin James holds the record with 16). Barkley's 20th game was his first one back after missing three in row due to an ankle injury. In his last game in the state of Michigan, Barkley had 136 yards from scrimmage for Penn State against the Wolverines. This time, he faces a Lions defense allowing 139.2 rushing yards per game.

6. 40k club. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford last week became the fastest player in NFL history to 40,000 passing yards, doing so in his 147th career game to break Matt Ryan's previous record of 151 games. Stafford's passer rating (101.7) and yards-per-attempt (8.03) are personal bests.

7. Not that Jones. Stafford threw four touchdowns last week against the Vikings – all to wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr., who leads the team in receptions, yards, touchdowns and catches of 20+ yards. The Giants have allowed 30 passes of 20+ yards, second-most in the NFL. Complementing Jones are receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola, and tight ends Jesse James and rookie T.J. Hockenson, the eighth overall draft pick.

8. That Jones. Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is coming off back-to-back performances with three turnovers, increasing his total to 11 in five career starts. The Giants have turned the ball over a league-high 18 times for a turnover differential of minus-10, second-worst ahead of Miami. Detroit is plus-four, tied for fifth in the NFL. The Lions have recovered eight opponent fumbles, the most in the NFL. Jones last week became the first Giants quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw at least one touchdown pass in each of his first five NFL starts.

9. Stat to impress your friends. Lions opponents have an average starting field position of 22.7 yards at Ford Field this season, the best mark in the NFL. The Giants' average length of scoring drives is 71.7 yards, the longest in the NFL.

10. Connections. Giants fans will hear some familiar names during Sunday’s broadcast. That will include running back Paul Perkins, who was promoted to the Lions' active roster from the practice squad after leading rusher Kerryon Johnson landed on injured reserve. On defense, the Lions have former Giants linebacker Devon Kennard, defensive tackle Damon Harrison and defensive end Romeo Okwara. Additionally, their quarterbacks coach is Sean Ryan, who served on the Giants staff from 2007-2015. Conversely, Giants wide receiver Golden Tate played 71 games with Detroit until he was traded to Philadelphia in the middle of last season.

"I remember last year [Harrison] said something like, in the beginning when I first got here, that he can't wait to hit my 'you know what,'" Barkley said. "He always used to joke around here and on Twitter and stuff like that. But he's Snacks, he's a great dude. When he was here, he was someone that I was able to go to talk to for advice, just how to handle yourself throughout your career. He's been playing at a high level for a really long time. He's well respected, so I'm really excited to get to go play against a guy like that."

Giants vs. Lions Broadcast Info: TV channel, Radio Station and Live Stream.


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