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Fact or Fiction: Keys for Giants vs. Cardinals


Keeping Kyler Murray contained is priority No. 1 for the Giants on Sunday.

John Schmeelk: Fact- Murray can be a one-man wrecking crew as both a passer and runner. Between his passing and rushing scores, he has accounted for 32 of Arizona's 41 offensive touchdowns. He can make all the throws , is an accurate passer and is the most elusive rushing quarterback I have ever seen. He has the acceleration, speed and change of direction ability to run past anyone at any time. He is basically a slot-receiver level athlete with quarterback skills. Murray has reportedly been battling a sprained AC joint and he has run the ball less frequently in recent games. He has only been averaging five rushes a game during the Cardinals current three-game losing streak. In the four games prior, Murray was averaging about 11 rushes per game. The Cardinals have one of the best red zone offenses in the league, and whether Murray is willing to run it inside the 20 could determine how effective they are in those situations.

Lance Medow: Fact- Kyler Murray is the Cardinals' second-leading rusher with 665 yards and leads the team in rushing touchdowns with 10. Although his attempts and yards have dipped over the last three games combined (15 total runs, 61 yards), he's still a threat on the ground. If he gets going, given his mobility, it can open things up for everyone else on offense and put the Giants' defense in a precarious spot. If you're New York, you want Murray to stay in the pocket and throw the ball over 40 times. You don't want to see him wreaking havoc as a runner. All that does is make the Cardinals' offense multi-dimensional.

DeAndre Hopkins is the best receiver the Giants face this season.

John Schmeelk: Fact- There is an argument to be made for Mike Evans, Allen Robinson or one of the Cowboys' receivers, but Hopkins is in a different class. His route running, strength, and a catch radius that allows him to make contested catches are elite. His skill set matches up well with James Bradberry's physical style, making for a fun battle. When the two faced each other last season, Hopkins caught six passes on 10 targets for only 50 yards according to Pro Football Focus.

Lance Medow: Fact- The Giants have faced a lot of good receivers this season, including Allen Robinson of the Bears (Week 2), the Rams' Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp (Week 4), Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb of the Cowboys (Week 5), Washington's Terry McLaurin twice, Mike Evans of the Bucs (Week 8) and last week, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. That's quite some list but it's fair to say DeAndre Hopkins is on an island by himself. His leaping ability, athleticism and speed is what sets him apart from the rest of the pack. Case in point, Hopkins caught a game-winning touchdown on a Hail Mary pass against the Bills in Week 10. Buffalo had three defenders in the vicinity of the football yet Hopkins still outjumped them to make the catch. I can list several of Hopkins' statistics, but choose to quote Logan Ryan when he spoke with the media on Wednesday: "DeAndre Hopkins is the best receiver we've seen all year." I rest my case.

Dalvin Tomlinson is the most underrated player in the NFC East.

John Schmeelk: Fiction- It's hard to evaluate how underrated or overrated every player in the NFC East, making this a difficult statement to parse. There are a number of players on Washington I would put in this category such as Montez Sweat and Kendall Fuller. Antonio Gibson and Terry McLaurin are also excellent players that aren't necessarily seen as top players at their position, even though they should be. Is Dalvin Tomlinson the most underrated player on the Giants? I think that's a decent argument too, with players like Dexter Lawrence in the conversation, so I will err on the side of caution.

Lance Medow: Fiction- Dalvin Tomlinson is up there as one of the top candidates but I'm going with his teammate: Graham Gano. The Giants' kicker has made 25 straight field goals and is 26 of 27 on the season. His field goal percentage (96) puts him third in the NFL. Gano has been one of the most consistent players on the team and it doesn't even do him justice by referring to him as a player. He's a weapon, especially with his range. Tomlinson does a lot of the dirty work to present openings and opportunities for his teammates but, let's face it, most people only talk about kickers when something is going wrong. It's so easy to overlook Gano but there's nothing wrong with highlighting his production this year. There's a reason the Giants gave him a three-year contract extension before the season even ended.

The Giants will have multiple All-Pro selections (first or second team).

John Schmeelk: Fact- This is another tough one. It is going to be close. Leonard Williams, James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, and Graham Gano all deserve legitimate All-Pro consideration but they have some fierce competition from other great players at their positions. When all is said and done, I think both Williams and Bradberry both find themselves on the All-Pro team at their positions.

Lance Medow: Fact- Remember, All-Pro teams are composed of players from the entire league, not each conference so the competition is stiff. On top of that, just two corners, two safeties, three linebackers and four defensive linemen make each team. With that being said, I think two of the following three players have a realistic shot of making one of the two teams: Logan Ryan, James Bradberry and Graham Gano. In the above response, I reference Gano's very strong campaign, Ryan has done a little bit of everything statistically and Bradberry is tied for the NFL lead in passes defensed with 16.  They all warrant heavy consideration for spots.

View photos from practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center as the team preps for the Arizona Cardinals.


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