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Players to Watch: Xavier McKinney vs. Justin Herbert


Here are five players to watch when the Giants (4-8) take on the Chargers (7-5) this Sunday in Los Angeles:

OT Andrew Thomas

The Chargers racked up 11 quarterback hits, including six sacks, in last week's 41-22 victory over the Bengals - and they did so without Joe Bosa for much of the game. The three-time Pro Bowl defensive end left due to a head injury and did not return despite being cleared. He did not appear on the Chargers' injury report this week.

"Definitely one of the best in the league right now," Thomas said of Bosa. "Very good with speed to power and has a really good double-hand cross chop. It's going to be something that we definitely have to key in on to be prepared this week."

Thomas will be protecting the blindside of a backup quarterback for the second consecutive week.

"From an offensive line standpoint, we're just trying to do the best job we can to open up holes for the running back and protect whoever's throwing the ball," Thomas said. "Regardless of who's at quarterback, if we're not protecting, we're not doing our job. It doesn't matter. So, the focus is on us performing better and that way the offense will perform better regardless of who's throwing the ball."

QB Mike Glennon/QB Jake Fromm

The quarterbacks room has seen its share of twists recently. Daniel Jones suffered a neck injury in the Week 12 home win vs. Philadelphia and missed the following game. Mike Glennon started in his place but was diagnosed with a concussion following the game, leaving the possibility of Jake Fromm (signed from the Bills' practice squad last week) to make his NFL debut in Los Angeles. Judge said they are confident Glennon will clear the concussion protocol in time for this week's game, and should that be the case, he will make his second consecutive start and 29th of his career.

LB Azeez Ojulari

The Giants selected six players in the Spring and are one of 10 teams to have all their 2021 draft choices play this season. Ojulari, the team's second-round pick, ranks third among all NFL rookies in sacks (6.5), sack yards (46.0), and tackles for loss (seven). Last week, he sacked Tua Tagovailua to break B.J. Hill's official franchise single-season rookie record of 5.5.

S Xavier McKinney

McKinney will face another star of the 2020 draft class this week in Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, who leads the league with 15 games with 300+ pass yards since he was selected at No. 6. McKinney, who missed much of his rookie season due to injury, is tied for first among NFL safeties with five interceptions this season.

"It's a challenge," assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said of Herbert. "He's a big guy. I would say size-wise probably in terms of height and stuff, it's like (Steelers quarterback) Ben (Roethlisberger) when you're dealing with Ben. In terms of arm talent, probably like him, (Chiefs quarterback Patrick) Mahomes, those guys that can just throw the ball a mile and he throws it on a rope and pretty accurate. It's a challenge, but you just go through it with the guys."

RB Saquon Barkley

The Chargers are allowing 141.2 yards rushing per game, the second-most in the NFL. That's good news for Barkley, who last week had his most rushing yards since Week 2 as he comes back from the ankle injury, and Devontae Booker, who leads the team in carries and yards from scrimmage. The Giants are also looking to get back receivers Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney to replenish their offensive attack.

View photos from practice at the University of Arizona as the Giants prepare for their matchup against the Chargers.


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