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Giants Now (6/11): NFL Network's Kyle Brandt predicts playoffs for Giants


NFL Network's Kyle Brandt believes Giants will make playoffs in 2020

While he may not have reached his own expectations last season, Saquon Barkley quietly put together a strong 2019 campaign. Barkley missed three games due to a high ankle sprain, yet still managed to rush for over 1,000 yards. He became the first running back in Giants history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark in each of his first two seasons.

Barkley finished the season with 1,003 yards on 217 carries (4.6 yards per carry) and six touchdowns while adding 52 receptions for 438 yards and two touchdowns. In 29 career games, the 23-year-old has taken 478 carries for 2,310 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 17 touchdowns and caught 143 passes for 1,159 yards and an additional six touchdowns. Barkley is one of the few backs in the NFL to possess such strong abilities as both a runner and a pass-catcher.

NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" crew discussed the Giants on Wednesday. While all of the analysts had some positive things to say about Big Blue, Kyle Brandt went so far as to say that strong performances from both Barkley and Daniel Jones will carry the Giants into the 2020 playoffs.

"Welcome my friends to the year of Saquon Barkley, when he will emerge nine months from now as the best running back on the planet…" Brandt said. "I think there's a cautionary tale in the sense of Christian McCaffrey last year, who had one of the most historic running back seasons ever, and yet the Panthers were a forgettable team that did not make the playoffs. I don't think that's going to be this Giants team because I think Daniel Jones is better.

"I think all of us who are oohing and aahing over McCaffrey and Derrick Henry, deservedly so, this fall are going to be saying 'Oh my God, Saquon Barkley is that good.' He is the guy who gets the Giants to the playoffs with Daniel Jones."

Preseason game against Packers moved to 6 p.m.

The time of the New York Giants' third preseason game at home against the Green Bay Packers has been changed to 6 p.m. ET. It was previously scheduled for 8 p.m. The date (Saturday, Aug. 29) and location (MetLife Stadium) remain the same.

It will be the teams' first preseason matchup since Aug. 22, 1997 when the Giants faced the Packers in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Giants begin their preseason as the visiting team in their annual game against the Jets on Thursday, Aug. 13 at 7:30 p.m. It is the second year in a row and just the fourth time in the 52-year history of the preseason rivalry the teams will meet in the opening preseason game.

Last's year's 31-22 victory was the Giants' fourth in a row in the series which is tied, 25-25-1. The tie was in 1972.

The Giants will be on the road the following week when they face the Tennessee Titans in Nashville on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. eastern time, 7 p.m. local time.

The New England Patriots provide the opposition for the Giants' preseason finale for the 16th consecutive summer on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. in MetLife Stadium. The Giants lead the preseason series, 19-10. The two teams first met in the preseason in 1971.

View iconic photos from the all-time series between the Giants and their 2020 opponents.

Jonathan Casillas: Patrick Graham's versatility will make him 'a great defensive coordinator'

With the arrival of Joe Judge as head coach, almost the entire Giants' coaching staff underwent an overhaul. One of the most crucial hires was that of defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Patrick Graham.

Graham has been a coach in the NFL since 2009 when he was hired as an assistant for the New England Patriots. Graham served in several different roles during his time with New England, moving from a defensive assistant to the linebackers coach, to the defensive line coach and then back to the linebackers. He was with the Patriots from 2009-2015, overlapping with Judge for four seasons, before being hired as the Giants defensive line coach in 2016.

Jonathan Casillas got to know Graham well during his time both with the Patriots and the Giants. It was during the 2014 season, while Graham was back as New England's linebackers coach, that the Patriots traded for Casillas halfway through the year. New England would go on to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl that season. The pair would be reunited on the Giants a year later and went on to spend the next two seasons together, which included the franchise's most recent playoff appearance in 2016.

The two-time Super Bowl champion Casillas joined Lance Medow and John Schmeelk on Big Blue Kickoff to discuss what Graham will bring to the Giants defense in 2020.

"I feel like Pat Graham, he's learned so much," Casillas told Medow and Schmeelk. "He's a guy that has been so versatile. He was a linebackers coach, a d-line coach, DB (coach) and defensive coordinator, and has kind of been all over the place. But I think that versatility has given him a lot of education in different parts of the game, and that's going to translate over to him being a great defensive coordinator.

"It's not just the x's and o's. It's identifying with the players that you have in the locker room. A lot of great coaches sometimes aren't great player-coaches. You know, not player-friendly… It's a little bigger than the x's and o's. It's about culture and having the players' trust and believing in you. I think Pat Graham has risen to that to where he's gotten the defensive coordinator job. The players will believe in him because I feel like he's a coach who believes in his players. Not the scheme, not that he makes all the good ideas, but the guys that he put in certain positions because of his education and everything that he's learned. But also, his studying, his due diligence on those guys, that they'll be put in the right place to win. That's what the Giants needed."

To listen to Casillas' full interview on Big Blue Kickoff, check out the audio below.


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