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5 storylines to follow heading into Monday night


Following a late bye, the New York Giants returned to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Monday to begin preparations for Week 14.

The Giants will host the surging Green Bay Packers in a primetime matchup on Monday Night Football.

Brian Daboll's squad comes out of the bye with a 4-8 record, having won its previous two games. Meanwhile, the Packers enter this game riding a three-game winning streak, including a win over the Kansas City Chiefs this past Sunday night. The victory brought Green Bay's record to 6-6.

The Giants currently sit two games behind the Packers for the third and final Wild Card spot.

With all of that said, here are five storylines to follow in the Week 14 primetime showdown.

1. DeVito to start

Coach Brian Daboll announced Tuesday that Tommy DeVito would get his fourth start of the season this week when the Giants take on the Packers Monday. DeVito took over as the starter in Week 10 after Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor landed on injured reserve in consecutive weeks, leading the team to a 2-1 record while throwing six touchdown passes and only one interception.

"Tommy's done a good job; he's improved in each of the games he's played," Daboll said. "I thought he played well the last two games, made good decisions, was accurate with the football and earned the right to play."

DeVito has completed at least 68 percent of his passes and finished with a passer rating over 100 in each of the last two games. He became just the fifth undrafted rookie in the common draft era to win at least two of his first three starts, and also became the first undrafted rookie in the common draft era to record a passer rating of 100 or more in consecutive starts.

DeVito's 6.7 touchdown percentage is the second-highest in the NFL among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts this season, trailing only San Francisco's Brock Purdy (6.9 percent). The 25-year-old was voted the Rookie of the Week for his performance against the Commanders in Week 11, a game in which he completed 69.2 percent of his passes for 246 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a 137.7 passer rating (the highest of any undrafted rookie in the common draft era).

"He's played well," said Daboll. "He's made good decisions, he's thrown the ball where he's supposed to throw the ball, he's been accurate with the ball. He had two good games, we won both games and he played well."

"I wasn't surprised but at the same time, I didn't know what was going to happen," DeVito said about the decision. "I was told during the week, the bye week, that there was a decision that was going to be made and as soon as it was made that I would be made aware, and I was. I'm happy about it but at the same time, it's still a job. You still have to go out and perform and do everything. It's not like you're at the top now, which is completely far from but just going to try to go out but just going to go out and try to get better every day and try to earn the respect of my teammates and my coaches and try to do that every play."

2. Get Saquon going

The Giants won their last two games prior to the bye week despite limited production in the run game. In the wins over the Patriots and Commanders, the Giants ran for a combined 149 yards, which snapped a streak of five consecutive games with 105 or more yards on the ground. But the offense has a great opportunity to get the ground game back on track in Week 14 against the Packers.

Saquon Barkley is coming off his lowest volume game of the season. Barkley carried the ball just 12 times for 46 yards (3.8 avg.) against the Patriots while catching one pass for six yards. Both the 13 touches and 52 yards from scrimmage were Barkley's lowest of 2023. However, since returning from an ankle injury that sidelined him for three weeks, the talented running back has reached 98+ yards from scrimmage in five of seven games, including four games with over 110 yards. Additionally, from Weeks 9 through 11, Barkley averaged over 5.0 yards per carry in every game.

The Packers defense has played well as of late, holding the Chiefs, Lions and Chargers offenses to an average of just 20.3 points per game. This has helped them rise to ninth in the NFL in points allowed on the season. But one area the unit has struggled in lately is the run game. The Packers have allowed each of their last four opponents to rush for at least 140 yards while surrendering an average of 160.8 yards on the ground over that span. Going up against the 30th ranked run defense, Barkley has an opportunity to get his strong season going again on Monday.

3. Can Kayvon keep rolling?

One of the biggest bright spots for the Giants through the first 12 weeks of the season was the play of Kayvon Thibodeaux. The second-year outside linebacker racked up 11 sacks prior to the bye, which shattered his rookie mark of four sacks in 14 games. Thibodeaux picked up at least a half-sack in seven games this year, and has four outings with more than one sack. He currently ranks ninth in the NFL in sacks.

While Thibodeaux leads the team, Dexter Lawrence ranks second with four sacks. However, his impact in the pass rush goes beyond the traditional box score. Lawrence has racked up 53 total pressures on just 333 pass-rushing snaps across 11 games this season, which ranks second among interior defensive linemen, according to Pro Football Focus. His 20 percent pass-rush win rate is also the second-highest, which has led to Lawrence being PFF's highest-ranked player at the position.

Lawrence missed the Week 12 matchup against the Patriots due to a hamstring injury. The 26-year-old lineman was not on the practice field Tuesday or Wednesday, but Daboll expressed some level of hope that Lawrence will be able to suit up on Monday.

"He won't practice," Daboll said Tuesday. "He's getting better. Hopefully we'll have him out here soon. 'Soon' might be this week."

Green Bay has done a good job of protecting Jordan Love this season. Love has been sacked just 24 times on the year, which is the seventh-fewest in the NFL. However, his numbers see a noticeable drop when pressured. When given time in the pocket, Love has completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 94.9 passer rating. But when faced with pressure, he has completed only 45.3 percent of his passes for two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 65.7 passer rating.

View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.

4. Injury updates

The Giants designated Tyrod Taylor for return to practice on Monday, officially opening up the 21-day practice window for the quarterback to return to the active roster. The veteran suffered a rib cage injury against the Jets in Week 8 and was placed on injured reserve, sidelining him for the next four games.

"Tyrod, obviously, we brought him up to see where he is by the end of the week. Hopefully he'll be ready to go. If he is, he'll be the backup and Tommy will be the starter…" Daboll told reporters Tuesday. "They cleared him, so that means that he can take it, but we're not going to line up and hit him in the ribs or anything like that. He should be ready to go. Hopefully these next couple of days, he's good to go."

Taylor had started the previous two contests against the Commanders and Bills prior to landing on injured reserve. In those two games, he threw for 479 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 49 yards on the ground. He finished with a 116.9 passer rating in the Week 7 win over Washington. While disappointed about not returning to the active roster as the team's starting quarterback, Taylor has handled the situation like a "true professional."

"He's a pro," Daboll said about the veteran quarterback. "Those conversations are never easy, regardless of who it is, but he's a pro whose been in this league a long time. Had a good conversation with him and it was about what you would expect. He's a true professional."

"Some stuff happens that's out of your control and unfortunately this is one of them," Taylor said. "In the grand scheme of things this rib injury was kind of out of my control. The main thing is that I've bounced back and that I'm 100% healthy and if the opportunity presents itself where I'm able to go out there and perform and help this team win then I'll be ready to do so."

In addition to Dexter Lawrence, the other player missing from Tuesday's practice was right tackle Evan Neal. The second-year tackle suffered an ankle injury in Week 9, his first game back after missing the previous two games due to an ankle injury, and has not practiced since.

The Giants have a few other players on injured reserve who are progressing towards a return, including tight end Darren Waller. The veteran tight end has not yet returned to practice, but Daboll said he's "making progress" but "not ready yet." As for guys such as tackle Matt Peart and running back Gary Brightwell, Daboll said they "are doing well."

5. Scouting the Packers

The Packers enter Week 14 with a 6-6 record and a hold of the NFC's seventh seed, thanks largely to three consecutive wins, including victories over the Chiefs and Lions the last two weeks. Packers head coach Matt LeFleur seems to save his best for late in the season, as he holds a perfect 16-0 record in the month of December since taking over as head coach in 2019.

Jordan Love has played the best football of his career throughout Green Bay's three-game win streak. During that stretch, he has completed 68.5 percent of his passes (74 of 108) for 857 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions with a passer rating over 105 in each outing. Only three of his 10 interceptions on the season have come in the last six weeks, while he has totaled 12 touchdowns over that span.

"They've got good players," Daboll said Tuesday. "Got a lot of respect for Matt. He's a heck of a coach. I think Love has done a really good job of improving week to week. He's a very talented player… I'd say he's accurate. He's got quick feet. He can throw the ball wherever it needs to. He seems like he's really in control of the system…

"Again, young, was able to kind of see how one of the greats have done it. He's just got really good feet, he's got good vision, he can make loose plays. He can run if he needs to, he can throw the ball vertical, he's looking to take a bunch of shots. You can see he's in full control of the system with the different signals and the checks that he makes."

Love has done a good job of spreading the ball around to his various pass-catchers. Wide receiver Romeo Doubs leads the team with 45 receptions and seven receiving touchdowns, while rookie wideout Jaydeen Reed has a team-high 513 yards while ranking second on the team with 40 receptions and five receiving touchdowns. Wide receiver Christian Watson, who suffered a hamstring injury late in Green Bay's win over the Chiefs Sunday, also has five touchdowns to go with 28 receptions for 422 yards. Rookie Dontayvion Wicks has also made an impact as of late, with 13 of his 23 receptions on the year coming in the last four weeks. The Packers will be without starting tight end Luke Musgrave, though, as the rookie tight end is currently on injured reserve.

"I'd say the young skill guys are good players," Daboll said about Green Bay's pass-catchers. "Doubs is a good player, Reed from Michigan State, you see where Watson is after that reverse he ran, Musgrave I know is out… Good core, young nucleus, athletic, can get open, create separation. I think [Love's] done a good job as you watch him throughout the season of improving at his craft, but he also has a lot of talent, too."

Moving over to the defense, linebacker Rashan Gary is enjoying a breakout campaign. Gary has registered a team-high nine sacks, 17 quarterback hits and six tackles for loss along with two forced fumbles and a pass breakup in 12 games (eight starts). Fellow linebacker Preston Smith has recorded 5.5 sacks on the year, while defensive lineman Kenny Clark has 4.5. Gary, Smith and Clark have been Green Bay's most productive pass rushers in 2023.

The Packers got two key defenders back for last week's win over the Chiefs. Safety Darnell Savage made his return after missing the previous five games with a calf injury. Additionally, linebacker De'Vondre Campbell, who missed Week 12 with a neck injury, returned to the lineup.

However, Green Bay defeated Kansas City without top cornerback Jaire Alexander, who has been out since Week 9 with a shoulder injury. When healthy, Alexander has proven to be one of the top corners in the NFL. The two-time All-Pro cornerback was a limited participant in every practice last week, indicating he might be closing in on a return to action this week.

The Packers defense has allowed their opponents to score a touchdown on just 20 of 41 trips (48.8 percent) inside the red zone, good for the eighth-best mark in the league. The defense also ranks fourth in passing touchdowns and 10th in passing yards surrendered.


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