The New York Giants went into Tennessee as the underdog against the former AFC south champs, the Giants left Tennessee 1-0 after a gusty win.
The New York Giants came into Sunday’s game as 4.5-point underdogs. No one expected them to beat the Titans, who just last year won the AFC south. With a new coaching staff and a shaky QB, no one expected the Giants to even make it close. The Giants won the game 21-20 and for the first time since the infamous boat picture, the Giants have a winning record. Let us break down the win and see who shinned.
One of the biggest questions coming into the season was how Saquon Barkley would look in year two in his recovery from a torn ACL. Unless your name is Adrian Peterson, most players take two years to recover fully and regain their speed and mobility. Last year it was clear that Barkley was playing it safe and wasn’t trusting his knee fully. Going into this year in what is the final year of his rookie contract, the Giants were looking to see if Barkley would return to his rookie year form.
Barkley looked just as good as he did in his rookie year. On 18 carries he rushed for 164 yards(9.1 YPC) and one touchdown, he also caught six of his seven targets for 30 yards. Early in the third quarter, Saquon broke free for a 68-yard rush where he reached a top speed of 21.11 MPH, his fastest speed since week one against the Cowboys in 2019. The Giants are a much better team when Barkley is able to run the ball, as it also opens up the play action, so seeing Barkley be fully healthy should make every Giants fan happy.
The Giants’ 7th overall pick looked very good in his regular-season debut for the Giants. For years the Giants have needed to fix the Oline and every year it wouldn’t be done. It seems as though the Giants have finally gotten it right and Neal is their RT for the future. In 31 pass-blocking snaps, Neal only allowed ONE pressure. He struggled a bit in run blocking situations but as the year goes on he will continue to improve.
The other side of the line was just as good as in his third NFL season Andrew Thomas continues to show improvement and is slowly being considered the best tackle of his draft class. Just as his fellow tackle Evan Neal did, Andrew Thomas only allowed one pressure and no sacks. Thomas was also terrific in the run blocking game helping Barkley rush for 9.1 YPC. Big Blue, after what feels like forever, finally have two good tackles and just need to tighten up the interior line.