The Giants.com crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.
The NFC East is the best division in the NFL
John Schmeelk: Fact – Records are records and the top three teams in the NFC East are 13-2. 13-2! No other division is close to that. The much-vaunted AFC West has been less impressive due to Russell Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett's slow start in Denver and the Raiders' 1-4 start.
Dan Salomone: Fact – The NFC East is 5-1 against the NFC North, 1-1 vs. NFC South, 2-0 vs. NFC West, 1-0 vs. AFC North, and 3-1 vs. AFC South. Not bad for a division that had been a punchline the last few years.
Lance Medow: Fact – Last week, we analyzed the NFC East within the context of the conference and it was the best division in the NFC based on record alone. A week later, with the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants all winning, not much has changed. The AFC East is the only other division in the league with three teams over .500. Although the Bills have been impressive, the Jets and Dolphins have dealt with injuries to their starting quarterbacks so there's not enough of a sample size through the first quarter of the season to have a good grasp on those teams at full health. The Patriots are without Mac Jones, who is nursing an ankle injury. When you take health and records into consideration, right now the NFC East carries more weight.
Matt Citak: Fact – Legendary Giants head coach Bill Parcells said it best with his now famous quote, "You are what your record says you are." With both the Giants and Cowboys at 4-1 and the Eagles at 5-0, the NFC East is currently the best division in the NFL. Looking at the league standings, no other division in the league has even two teams with one loss or less, let alone three. While the Commanders, sitting at 2-4, drag the rest of the division down a bit, every division across the NFL has at least one team with two or fewer wins.
A different player will lead the Giants in receiving yards for the fifth consecutive game
John Schmeelk: Fact – Sterling Shepard, Richie James, Daniel Bellinger and Darius Slayton have led the Giants in receiving over the past four games. Marcus Johnson led the team in snaps last week, so he could be the guy this week. Maybe Wan'Dale Robinson comes back and he turns into Daniel Jones' go-to guy? Or does Saquon Barkley make another 40+ yard catch? David Sills anyone? Let the chaos reign.
Dan Salomone: Fiction – Credit goes to Darius Slayton for keeping a positive mindset and playing a major role in last week's win. Slayton, who led the Giants in receiving his first two seasons, had just one catch this season heading into the London game. They might be onto something with the receiver who has the most experience with Daniel Jones.
Lance Medow: Fact – Sterling Shepard is the only player to lead the team in receiving yards twice in the first five games and he's now out for the season. We've also seen Richie James, Daniel Bellinger and Darius Slayton accomplish this feat. The Giants have been spreading the wealth this season, so you can easily see this trend continuing and it's also a product of the health of the receiving corps fluctuating weekly. Five players have at least 12 targets and the top three are bunched together, only separated by two. It's far more likely we have a new player leading the way as opposed to a repeat performance from Week 5.
Matt Citak: Fiction – Darius Slayton broke out in last week's win over the Packers, finishing the game with six receptions for 79 yards. While he went into that game with only one reception on the season, Slayton displayed some of the ability he flashed during the 2019 campaign when he burst onto the scene with 740 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie. The wide receiver group could be getting a boost this weekend, as rookie Wan'Dale Robinson practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and Thursday. Additionally, Mike Kafka pointed out on Thursday that tight end Daniel Bellinger's role will continue to expand. However, Slayton will show that his Week 5 performance was not an outlier and once again lead the team in receiving yards.
Lamar Jackson is the toughest matchup of the season
John Schmeelk: Fact – As an individual player it is hard to argue with this. No other player, not just on the Giants schedule but perhaps in the entire NFL, can impact a game in as many different ways than Lamar Jackson. He has the ball in his hands on every play and presents a threat to pass or run it every time the Ravens snap it - few other players in the league can say that and no other player on the Giants' schedule can say it, either.
Dan Salomone: Fact – Carl Banks called him a "unicorn" for his rare ability to run, pass, and improvise. Defensive players will tell you there's nothing more demoralizing than having a quarterback bottled up only to see him escape for a first down. Jackson can do that.
Lance Medow: Fact – Aaron Rodgers is no picnic but the big difference between he and Lamar Jackson is you don't have to worry about Rodgers taking off and running. That's not the case with Jackson, who leads all quarterbacks in total rushing yards (374) and rushing yards per carry (7.6). To put things in perspective, he has 108 more rushing yards than the next-closest quarterback, Jalen Hurts. Jackson can easily wreck a game with his legs alone but you also can't overlook his 12 passing touchdowns and his ability to extend plays simply for the purpose of throwing. Although Jackson gets a lot of attention for his speed, he also has a strong arm and is the perfect embodiment of the dual-threat signal caller. If we're focusing on quarterback matchups, you can't overlook Hurts, who the Giants still have to face twice this season. But Jackson has a stronger track record in his level of success highlighted by a MVP award in 2019.
Matt Citak: Fact – The Giants are coming off a matchup against the back-to-back reigning MVP in Aaron Rodgers, and still have two divisional contests against Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles on the schedule. However, this weekend's game against Lamar Jackson is the toughest matchup of the season for the Giants' defense. Jackson, the 2019 league MVP, is third in the NFL with 12 passing touchdowns while also leading the league with his 7.6 yards per rush. Hurts will provide a similar challenge later in the season, but with Jackson having an MVP under his belt, he gets the nod over the Eagles QB.
Quarterbacks will combine for at least 120 rushing yards on Sunday
John Schmeelk: Fact – Lamar Jackson leads quarterbacks in rushing yards with 392 and Daniel Jones is third with 225. With another week separated from his ankle injury, Jones should be a part of the running game. He also has not hesitated to run it when facing pressure on dropbacks. Lamar Jackson does most of his damage on designed runs, and he has had two long runs this season keeping it on read-options and running up the middle. One long run from either quarterback will put this over 120 yards.
Dan Salomone: Fact – Daniel Jones has 230 rush yards and is averaging 5.6 yards per carry this season. Only Lamar Jackson (374) and Jalen Hurts (266) have more among quarterbacks, and only Jackson and Josh Allen average more yards per carry from the position. Let the games begin.
Lance Medow: Fiction – The two quarterbacks combined are averaging 121 rushing yards per game, with Lamar Jackson averaging 75 and Daniel Jones at 46. In Week 4 when the Giants faced the Bears, Justin Fields had success on the ground running seven times for 52 yards. Based on the law of average, Jackson will wind up with more rushing yards than Jones but even if Lamar duplicates Fields' production, Daniel would still need to run for about 70 yards. He reached that total against the Bears and Cowboys but that was before suffering an ankle injury. The Ravens have also been solid against the run as they rank 12th in the league in that category though, in fairness, Josh Allen collected 70 rushing yards against them in Week 4. However, let's also not forget Jones ran 10 times for just 37 yards against the Packers last Sunday.
Matt Citak: Fact – Despite suffering an ankle injury during the Week 4 win, Daniel Jones still rushed the ball 10 times against the Packers and gained 37 yards. He is now another week removed from the injury, meaning Mike Kafka and the coaching staff will likely not shy away from using the quarterback as a runner. Jones currently ranks third among quarterbacks with 230 rushing yards, while Jackson leads the position with his 374 yards on the ground. A total of 120 rushing yards between two quarterbacks is no easy feat, but considering the athleticism of the two, along with the Giants and Ravens' offensive strengths, they will be able to clear the 120-yard mark on Sunday.
*On Sunday, October 16, the Giants will be celebrating Latino Heritage Month in partnership with Ford and supported by Dunkin' and PNC Private Bank. Fans will be welcomed with several plaza festivities, including: Sampling of Latin cuisine, live DJ, Latin style dance exhibition, Super Bowl trophy on display (weather permitting), and more. The festivities will take place on the plaza between MetLife and Verizon gates.
For more details, visit: Giants.com/Los-Gigantes