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3 key matchups to follow for Bills at Giants | Scouting Report

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3 KEY MATCHUPS

Saquon Barkley vs. Bills run ‘D’

Buffalo’s run defense fared well against the Jets’ Le’Veon Bell in Week 1, holding him to a 3.5 yards per carry average and just 60 yards on the ground. The task might be more challenging this week with Barkley, who had 120 yards on just 11 carries against one of the better front sevens in the league last week at Dallas. The Giants average almost nine yards per carry last week against the Cowboys.

Evan Engram vs. Jordan Poyer

It might not be Poyer all the time drawing this assignment, but if Giants slot receiver Sterling Shepherd remains in concussion protocol, Engram could be the primary read on a lot of pass plays for Eli Manning. The Giants tight end is coming off a big 11-catch, 116-yard performance that included a touchdown catch last week.

Nate Solder vs. Jerry Hughes

The former AFC East battle is renewed between Buffalo’s top pass rusher and the former Patriots tackle. Hughes was a menace last week against the Jets. Solder did a good job on Cowboys DE Tyrone Crawford, holding him to just a single QB hit.

2 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE GIANTS

Big play problems

The Giants gave up seven plays of 20 yards or more, including three of 35 yards or more. New York’s cornerback contingent, aside from Janoris Jenkins is young and inexperienced and they were targeted by Dallas last week. Chief among the victims were rookie first-round pick DeAndre Baker and Antonio Hamilton. There were also a healthy number of blown coverages as New York gave up 16.2 yards per completion last week, good for 31st in the league and had just three pass breakups on 32 pass attempts.

Absent pass rush

It may have been part of their game plan last week knowing Dak Prescott’s escapability, but the Giants barely laid a hand on the Dallas quarterback in Week 1. Even though New York called blitzes on 37.5 percent of their defensive plays they didn’t have much success. The Giants had just a pair of quarterback hits on Prescott, who completed 78 percent of his passes.

1 THINGS THAT CAN DECIDE THE GAME

Beasley and Brown’s ability to separate

Buffalo’s top two wideouts made their impact felt early and often in Week 1. Josh Allen had 36 pass attempts last week and targeted Brown and Beasley on 19 of them. Seeing the struggles of Giants corners DeAndre Baker, Grant Haley and Antonio Hamilton in coverage, John Brown and Cole Beasley could be big time difference makers on Sunday.

Undercurrents

  • Slot receiver Sterling Shepherd was placed in the concussion protocol early in the week. If Shepherd can’t play on Sunday, his likely replacement in the slot is Russell Shepherd.
  • RG Kevin Zeitler was diagnosed with a shoulder injury and DT Kareem Martin has a sprained knee and is out indefinitely.
  • Last week the Giants averaged 8.9 yards per carry compared to 6.5 yards per pass completion.
  • New York made use of a sixth offensive lineman in short yardage and goal line situations last week. Backup guard Nick Gates was the player used on those plays.
  • The Giants are tied with Miami for the worst passer rating against in the league. They allowed Dak Prescott to post a perfect 158.3 rating in Week 1 as he was 25-32 passing for 405 yards and four touchdowns.
  • New York’s third down defense allowed the Cowboys to convert at a success rate of 60 percent last week.
  • Giants LB Ryan Connelly could see an increased role on defense after getting 26 snaps last week. He could eat into the playing time of ILB Tae Davis or ILB Alec Ogletree.

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