Five storylines to follow as the New York Giants (2-5) prepare for their Week 8 road game against the Detroit Lions (2-3-1):
1. Where do they go from here? The Giants and Lions enter Week 8 on three-game losing streaks, which brought them down from highs of back-to-back wins before their respective skids. Sunday marks the midway point of the Giants’ schedule, at which point last season they were 1-7. The Giants have lost two out of the last three meetings with the Lions, the win coming in Week 15 of the 2016 season. The Giants are 2-1 against the Lions at Ford Field. The Giants defeated the Vikings at the venue in 2010 after a blizzard damaged the Metrodome.
2. Giants sign LB Bucannon. The Giants added a dynamic playmaker to the defense this week in linebacker Deone (pronounced “Day-own”) Bucannon. Originally a first-round pick (27th overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2014 NFL Draft, Bucannon has played in 75 regular-season games with 56 starts. His career numbers include 409 tackles (27 for loss), 12 passes defensed, seven sacks, seven forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. He has also played in three postseason games with two starts.
Before he joined the Buccaneers this season, Bucannon racked up the vast majority of his stats over the course of five seasons with the Cardinals. James Bettcher, the current defensive coordinator of the Giants, was the outside linebackers coach when Bucannon arrived in 2014. Bettcher spent the next three seasons with him as the team’s defensive coordinator. Tampa Bay released Bucannon on Oct. 9. To make room on the roster, the Giants waived linebacker Tuzar Skipper.
View rare photos from the all-time series between the New York Giants and Detroit Lions.
3. Shepard still in concussion protocol. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard remains in the concussion protocol heading into Week 8. He has missed the last two games since he suffered his second concussion of the season in Week 5. Linebacker Lorenzo Carter suffered an ankle injury in last week’s game, but coach Pat Shurmur said he should be “OK.” Meanwhile, running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and tight end Evan Engram (knee) returned from their respective injuries in Week 7. Cornerback Corey Ballentine missed last week due to a concussion.
4. Ball security is next step in Jones’ development. Last Sunday, the Cardinals sacked rookie quarterback Daniel Jones eight times, which led to three fumbles, including two that were lost. The sixth overall pick also threw an interception that increased his turnover total to 11 in five starts. The Giants have turned the ball over a league-high 18 times for a turnover differential of minus-10, second-worst ahead of Miami. Detroit is plus-four, tied for fifth in the NFL. The Lions have recovered eight opponent fumbles, the most in the NFL.
5. Detroit loses leading rusher to injury, trades starting safety. Kerryon Johnson has been placed on injured reserve for the second straight season. He injured his knee in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota and underwent surgery Tuesday morning. A second-round pick in 2018, Johnson had 434 yards from scrimmage and three total touchdowns in six games this year. On Tuesday, the team also traded safety Quandre Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round pick to the Seahawks in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick. Diggs had appeared in 65 games with 40 starts for Detroit. The Lions like their options in young draft picks Tracy Walker and Will Harris.
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