The Giants.com crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.
Xavier McKinney is the Giants' breakout player of the first half.
John Schmeelk: Fact – For the first six games of the season, the vote would have gone to Andrew Thomas, and it would not have been close. His emergence as a top left tackle and the ability to be left on an island and be trusted to block top edge rushers is invaluable to the offense and can impact the entire way the offense operates.
Availability, however, is a big deal. Andrew Thomas missed three full games and parts of others so he can't get this award over Xavier McKinney. The safety's two interceptions against the Raiders were legitimately great plays where his combination of intelligence, preparation, instincts and athleticism allowed him to create takeaways. His four interceptions are tied for fourth most in the league and that cannot be overlooked. He will man center field with the ability to play the slot/star position for a long time.
Dan Salomone: Fact – McKinney heads into the break as the reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Week, setting up the opportunity for him to take his game to the next level when the Giants return to the field. He already has five interceptions in his first 15 career games, the first Giants defender to accomplish that since cornerback Will Allen in 2001-02.
Lance Medow: Fiction – Xavier McKinney's last game was quite the showing with a pair of interceptions including a Pick 6, but in fairness, his four interceptions have come in two games. So let's lean more toward someone who has consistently made plays and that's rookie Azeez Ojualri, who is tied for the team lead with 5.5 sacks and six tackles for loss. He also has a pass defensed and a forced fumble. Ojulari has made his presence felt in several games and he's had at least one sack, tackle for loss or quarterback hit in four contests this season.
Matt Citak: Fact – Xavier McKinney could not have had a better performance against the Raiders, ending the first half of the season on an incredibly high note as Pro Football Focus' highest-graded defender in Week 9 (94.5). The second-year safety has five interceptions in his first 15 career games, becoming only the fourth player in franchise history to ever accomplish this feat and the first since Will Allen in 2001. He ranks among the top 18 NFL safeties in overall, run defense and coverage grades from Pro Football Focus - all while not missing a single defensive snap over the last six weeks.
Kadarius Toney will lead the team in receiving yards for the rest of the season.
John Schmeelk: Fiction – This is very possible, but Toney's has been up and down in his young career. The Giants could have their top four wide receivers and Evan Engram healthy and on the field for the first time this season after the bye. Who will be team's top target in the passing game? If he is healthy, one would think Sterling Shepard would get more targets, and probably Kenny Golladay, too.
Dan Salomone: Fiction – As Kenny Golladay gets healthier, the connection with Daniel Jones should only grow. And for what it's worth, the top three games of his career in terms of yards have all come in the second half of the season.
Lance Medow: Fact – Health is always a wild card in this category given the injuries that have impacted the receiving corps, but it's hard to argue for another player besides Kadarius Toney. Although he missed one game, played less than a quarter against the Rams, and was limited in the first few contests of the season, he still tops the list with 352 receiving yards. Sterling Shepard has battled hamstring and quad injuries, Kenny Golladay a knee issue and Darius Slayton missed time with a hamstring injury. No one in that group is guaranteed to play every game in the second half, but Toney is - by far - the most explosive one in that unit and, therefore, he's the best bet.
Matt Citak: Fiction – Heath in the receivers room has been an issue all season. Against Las Vegas, it was tight end Evan Engram who led the team in receiving yards with 38, while tight end Kyle Rudolph finished with a team-high five targets. Let's say it is Kenny Golladay who will lead the team in receiving yards from here on out. The veteran caught two passes for 28 yards this past week while playing just 55 percent of the offensive snaps. Following the week off, Golladay should return in Week 11 healthy and ready to go.
From Daniel Jones' one-handed catch on a trick play to Xavier McKinney's pick-six to the OT thriller in New Orleans, re-live the best moments from the first half of the season in this must-see photo gallery.