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Fact or Fiction: What to look for in Week 1


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

The performance of the offense is the No. 1 storyline heading into 2022

John Schmeelk: Fiction - The performance of Daniel Jones is the top story line of the 2022 season; until a team has a quarterback they are committed to long-term, this is going to be the franchise's biggest issue. It is the most important position in football. Jones is on the last year of his contract and his performance this year will determine whether or not he returns. That decision will be one of the defining decisions of Joe Schoen's tenure as general manager. It will be the shadow the media casts over everything the team does this season.

Lance Medow: Fact - You can make just as strong of a case for the defense with a young cornerback group and a brand new scheme, but it still comes back to the offense and the overall durability of the group. There are already some questions surrounding the health of the offensive line and it's a huge season for Daniel Jones and the entire receiving corps to prove they can consistently stay on the field before we even get to potential production. The offense has averaged less than 20 points in each of the last two years. If this team wants to take a step forward, the offense will have to post better numbers.

Matt Citak: Fact - The 2021 Giants finished 31st in both yards and points. It's no coincidence that talented offensive minds Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka were brought in from teams with very successful offenses to run the unit for the Giants. The team found success in the preseason, as they finished first in the NFL in total yards (382.7) and passing yards (279.0) per game. But as we know, the accomplishments only matter when the games actually count.

The first thing you will look for in Week 1 is what the offense didn't want to reveal in the preseason

John Schmeelk: Fiction - My eye will go right to the Giants' rookie class. Is Kayvon Thibodeaux ready to play and if he does, how will he do against Titans offensive tackles Taylor Lewan and rookie Nicholas Petit-Friere? How will Evan Neal perform against talented pass rusher Bud Dupree? How will the Giants utilize Wan'Dale Robinson? Will Daniel Bellinger play well enough to seize the starting tight end job? Is Josh Ezeudu going to be starting at left guard and how does he do against Pro Bowler Jeffrey Simmons? This season is all about the performance of the Giants younger, developing players and it starts in Week 1.

Lance Medow: Fiction - Yes, the overall offensive scheme is intriguing but the Giants won't exactly be showcasing their entire playbook in Week 1 against the Titans. We'll have much more to digest after several games as opposed to just one contest. That's why I'll be paying more attention to this year's rookie class and how they look against the Tennessee starters. I think there's a bit more to read into that versus the system after not seeing most of their preseason opponents play the top of their respective depth charts.

Matt Citak: Fiction - The first thing to look for in Week 1 is how Saquon Barkley fits into the offense. Barkley is fully healthy and has received rave reviews from the coaching staff throughout the summer. Although the talented back saw his first preseason action since 2018 in the opener against the Patriots, it was only for a couple of series. The Week 1 matchup against the Tennessee Titans will serve as the first time we see Barkley fully unleashed in the new offense.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2022 roster as it currently stands.

Saquon Barkley will score the first points for the Giants this season

John Schmeelk: Fact - Sure, why not? Saquon Barkley is going to be the team's bell-cow at running back and it also wouldn't surprise me if he is first or second on the team in receptions. Therefore, assuming he will be involved in the Giants' first touchdown of the season is an easy sell. My guess he will catch a pass for a touchdown from outside the 10 for this particular score.

Lance Medow: Fiction - In the two seasons that Daniel Jones has been the opening day starter, a wide receiver has found the end zone first. In 2020, it was Darius Slayton against the Steelers and last season, Sterling Shepard accomplished that feat against the Broncos. Although Saquon Barkley's versatility increases his chances to score touchdowns, let's take the field and, perhaps, the continuation of the wide receiver theme.

Matt Citak: Fact - Now two years removed from the torn ACL that caused him to miss almost the entire 2020 campaign, Barkley has fully put the injury in his rearview mirror. The 25-year-old back has told the media he wants to prove his doubters wrong this season, and scoring the first points of the season for the Giants would be a good start to that.

Xavier McKinney will have the first takeaway for the Giants this season

John Schmeelk: Fact - Xavier McKinney likely will lead the Giants in interceptions, so it would be natural to think he would get the first takeaway of the season. McKinney is a very smart and instinctual player who does a lot of film study. He'll likely be watching and reading the quarterback on most pass plays, which will allow him to put those traits to work going after the football.

Lance Medow: Fact - Last season, Logan Ryan recorded the team's first takeaway by recovering a fumble against the Broncos in Week 1, but it was Xavier McKinney and James Bradberry who each topped the team over the course of the season with five takeaways apiece. With Bradberry no longer on the roster, McKinney is one of the most experienced players in a relatively young secondary and has proven to be an opportunistic player in a fairly limited sample size. In Wink Martindale's defense, it's much more likely that a safety will create turnovers than a corner and given many players are a threat to blitz within the scheme, McKinney could very well capitalize off that based on his versatility.

Matt Citak: Fiction - McKinney was a ballhawk for the Giants last season as he led the team with five interceptions. The third-year safety could be in for another big season in Wink Martindale's defense, but the first takeaway of the season is going to end up in Adoree' Jackson's hands. Jackson has performed well in coverage throughout his career, and yet the veteran corner has registered a total of only three interceptions. He could match that number this season alone, and it will start early in the season.


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