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10 Things To Watch For

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Giants vs. Saints: 10 things to watch for

Coming off a victory and two road games in the state of Texas, the Giants return to MetLife Stadium in Week 4 to face the 2-1 New Orleans Saints. Here is what you need to know:

1. Home sweet home. The away team has not won in the series since 2006, with Big Blue holding a 2-0 record against New Orleans at MetLife Stadium. That includes a 16-13 victory in their last meeting in 2016. The Giants are 12-4 (.750) all-time against the Saints as the home team; they are 4-9 (.308) as the away team. Note: The Giants were technically the away team in a 2005 victory at Giants Stadium because the Saints were forced to leave New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

2. Meet the high-flying Saints. The Giants have faced Saints quarterback Drew Brees seven times in his career (he is 5-2), including once with the Chargers, but this will be their first meeting with running back Alvin Kamara, the 2017 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. Kamara already has 30 receptions this season, third-most in the entire NFL and the most among running backs entering Week 4.

Meanwhile, wide receiver Michael Thomas played his second career game against the Giants as a rookie in 2016 and has since become one of the most productive players in the NFL. Thomas has 38 catches (on 40 targets) through three games in 2018, the most by a player in his team's first three games of a season in league history. Thomas is also the first player in NFL history to record at least 10 catches in each of his team's first three games to start a season.

3. OV, Apple among Giants ruled out. The Giants listed five players out for Sunday: outside linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), cornerback Eli Apple (groin), tight end Engram (knee), wide receiver/kick returner Cody Latimer (knee) and running back Jonathan Stewart (foot, placed on injured reserve). This will be the fourth consecutive game Vernon has missed to start the season, while Apple is missing his second straight since getting injured in Week 2 in Dallas. Engram is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury suffered last week in Houston, putting more of an emphasis on Rhett Ellison moving forward. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin) and wide receiver/punt returner Stacy Coley (hamstring) are questionable.

4. Now to OBJ for the weather. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has not scored a touchdown since Oct. 8, 2017. He might be due, especially considering the Saints' defense is allowing 34.3 points per game. Beckham's longest touchdown drought is five games, spanning from the 2015 finale until Week 5 of 2016. It hasn't stopped him from racking up the yards, though. Beckham has 21 career 100-yard games receiving, including two already this season. Amani Toomer holds the franchise record with 22 100-yard games.

"When it rains," Beckham said on when his touchdown will come, "it pours."

5. Eli set to pass Fran. Eli Manning's two touchdown passes last week increased his career total to 342, tying him with Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton for seventh on the NFL's all-time list. Next on the list are Philip Rivers (350) and Dan Marino (420). Eli's brother, Peyton, holds the record with 539.

6. Brees passing everybody. While Brees is on pace to break every significant passing record in NFL history, he made one official last week – completions. At the age of 39, Brees is showing no signs of slowing down as the second-oldest quarterback in the NFL. He is completing 80.6 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns to no interceptions. He also ran for two touchdowns in a wild victory in Atlanta last week. The first tied the game with 1:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, and the second won the game in overtime. Brees and Manning first met in 2000 at Peyton's first playoff game with the Colts. Brees was an ascending player at Purdue at the time, while Eli was still a student at New Orleans' Isidore Newman School, where Brees now sends his kids.

"I was a huge fan of Peyton," Brees recalled. "I knew he had his little brother Eli. Then hearing Eli goes to Ole Miss, and I remember watching him at Ole Miss, and obviously recognizing the fact that this guy was probably going to be playing a long time in the NFL. It's been pretty impressive what he's been able to accomplish."

7. Saquon already joining elite company. Rookie running back Saquon Barkley is the first player in Giants history with more than 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first three career games. He has 353 total (216 rushing, 137 receiving) through three weeks. With 100 scrimmage yards on Sunday against New Orleans, Barkley can become the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his first four career games. The current four are Kareem Hunt (seven consecutive games, 2017), Adrian Peterson (five, 2007), Billy Sims (four, 1980) and LaDainian Tomlinson (four, 2001).

8. Wheeler remains at right tackle. The Giants made two changes to their offensive line last week, one because of injury and another due to a coaching decision. After John Halapio suffered a season-ending leg injury in Week 2, John Greco, who played in relief in Dallas, started at center. And then coach Pat Shurmur made the call to replace Ereck Flowers with Chad Wheeler at right tackle. These moves came after an offseason in which the Giants broke in new starters at all five positions. From left to right, the lineup of Nate Solder, Will Hernandez, Greco, Patrick Omameh and Wheeler is expected to stay the same.

9. Brees isn't the only Saints QB to worry about. The Saints also utilize the unique skillset of Taysom Hill, a third-string quarterback/special teams ace/kickoff returner/read-option threat. Last week alone, Hill returned three kickoffs for 64 yards, made a special teams tackle, and rushed three times for 39 yards, including two key third-down pickups and a 35-yard run.

10. Did you know? Louisiana has the most NFL players per capita of any state (one NFL player per 76,837 people). Manning, Beckham, safety Landon Collins and defensive tackle Damon Harrison are all from the Bayou State. … Saints head coach Sean Payton spent four years with the New York Giants (1999-2002), the last three as offensive coordinator after spending his first season as quarterbacks coach. He solidified his reputation in his first full season as coordinator, when the Giants captured the NFC title and went to Super Bowl XXXV. New York scored 328 points, the club's highest total since 1990. … In a 2015 meeting in New Orleans, the teams combined for 101 points, tied for the third-highest ever in NFL history. Manning and Brees combined to throw an NFL-record 13 touchdown passes as the offenses combined for 1,024 yards.

Keep an eye on these five players as the Giants take on the Saints, Sunday at home

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