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Fact or Fiction: Top storylines & keys to 2021 season

FACT-OR-FICTION-SAQUON-BARKLEY

The Giants.com crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

The status of Saquon Barkley is the No. 1 story line as the Giants enter game week.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Joe Judge has been non-committal about whether Saquon Barkley will play in Week 1, but unless there is some kind of medical setback, it would be shocking if he doesn't play. He will be off PUP for more than a month when the Giants host Denver on Sept. 12. He participated in 7-on-7 drills last week against the Patriots. He is moving well. Unless the team holds him out because of the short turn-around in week two against Washington, it would be surprisingif he wasn't active on game day and took a significant workload. It's more interesting to see who will be the starter at right tackle, given how Matt Peart and Nate Solder rotated series in the final preseason game.

Dan Salomone: Fact - Barkley is one of those player who impacts the game in more ways than just his individual stat line. While he does stuff it – make no mistake there – he loosens up the offense for the passing game, which should lead to more points and take pressure off the defense. And then there's the emotional lift he would bring the team should he return.

Lance Medow: Fact - You could say the status of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram are just as important given the Giants want to have as many of their offensive weapons on the field together as possible for Week 1, especially considering the tough Denver defense. Saquon Barkley suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 2 last season was a significant loss but the Giants still managed to run the ball effectively in his absence. If this offense is going to take the next step forward and vastly improve upon the 17.5 points it averaged in 2020, the Giants will also need the passing game to take a major leap and it will be hard to pull off that feat without a healthy Golladay and Toney.

The Broncos pose a bigger threat on offense than defense in Week 1.

John Schmeelk: Fiction - Here's a bold prediction for you: The Broncos will have a Top-5 defense in 2021. Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are both dynamic edge rushers, despite past injuries. The Broncos have four cornerbacks who could start for many teams: Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Patrick Surtain II, and Bryce Callahan. They also have one of the best safeties in the league in Justin Simmons. Vic Fangio is also one of the best defensive minds in the game. Their defense is going to be very strong. This is not to discount their talent at the skill positions. Melvin Gordon, Javonte Williams, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, and Noah Fant are a formidable group. The Broncos are going to be a lot better than people think if Teddy Bridgewater plays well and they can protect him.

Dan Salomone: Fiction - Two words: Vic Fangio. Need two more? Von Miller. Fangio's defenses have ranked in the league's top five in yards allowed in eight of the last 14 years, while placing top five in fewest points allowed seven times over that span.

Lance Medow: Fiction - It's very easy to overlook the Broncos' offense because Teddy Bridgewater didn't necessarily light up the scoreboard with the Panthers last season, but Denver's group is very underrated. Their offensive line has made significant strides, especially with the emergence of left tackle Garrett Bolles. They ave a 1-2 punch in the backfield with veteran Melvin Gordon and rookie Javonte Williams and Bridgewater isn't a quarterback that makes many mistakes. Receivers Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick and tight end Noah Fant, offer Bridgewater plenty of weapons. You can't sleep on this Denver offense, but the defense has more proven commodities and firepower. Pass rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are both healthy and Denver may showcase the best secondary in the NFL with corners Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Bryce Callahan and rookie Patrick Surtain II as well as safeties Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. That group is more than capable of wreaking havoc across the board.

Catch up on all the summer action with these must-see photos from training camp and preseason games.