The outcome of preseason games don’t matter. The New York Giants lost their preseason home opener against the Chicago Bears 20-17. What matters is how the starters play and the injuries. In a night where the starters on both sides of the ball looked excellent, the real news was the amount of injuries building up. Cornerback Prince Amukamara suffered a high ankle sprain and had be carted off the field during the first quarter. It is unclear how much time Amukamara will miss, but high ankle sprains can take several weeks to heal. His availability for the week one opener is in question.
With Terrell Thomas still recovering from a knee injury that leaves a big hole at starting cornerback opposite Corey Webster. Rookie Jayron Hosley has looked very good, but he is currently sidelined with turf toe. He is hoping to play in next week’s preseason finale, and has already been getting strong looks at the nickel pack position. Where do they go from here? The Giants have a couple of options to choose from.
That’s the bad news from Friday night’s preseason game. The good news is basically everything else. The Giants starters performed very well against the Chicago Bears starters.
Wilson got his first start in place of Ahmad Bradshaw, who sat to nurse his bruised hand. The first round pick could not have done any better than he did last night. Wilson ran for 49 yards on just five carries and added two catches for 26 yards. He had a breakaway run for 20 yards down the left sideline and added a 29 yard reception on the same drive. The rookies broke tackles, looked fast and shot through the gaps finishing with very physical play. Barring any setback, it looks as if Wilson has won the role as the team’s backup running back.
The Giants’ special teams units had a stellar night. Steve Weatherford had another terrific night of accurate punts and the punt team flew down the field holding the Bears to nothing on returns. Besides the terrific punting, the Giants also came up big with a blocked punt and a forced fumble on a kickoff. The blocked punt was recovered by Greg Jones on the Bears ten yard line leading to an Andre Brown touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Mark Herzlich got a piece of Eric Weems and forced a fumble. The Bears recovered on their own 2 yard line.
Pick a defensive star. The starters played lights out on Friday night. Keith Rivers was traded for during the offseason and was brought in to be a backup and hopefully, barring injury, take over a starting role. With Michael Boley out the entire preseason, and Mathias Kiwanuka injuring his groin Friday night, Rivers has been getting plenty of playing time. He has been playing sideline to sideline and has been another Jerry Reese spectacular. The defensive line is very used to getting a good push on pass rush on the edges. But interior defensive lineman Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard have been doing a great job on pass rush and stopping the run. The Giants first team run defense kept star running back Matt Forte to just two yards on eight carries during the first half.
The secondary was the only problem Friday night, but we can account that problem to the fact that Amukamara was injured. Mathias Kiwanuka was injured the last play before the end of the first half. He has been playing great, and there is no reason he won’t be ready for the season opener. Osi Umenyiora got the start with Jason Pierre-Paul sidelined with an injury. He made some nice stops on the running game and looks like a starter. With the rotating defensive line, the Giants look to have the best line in the league.
The passing game was on target last night. Manning hit all but three of his targets last night, one of the incompletes came on a Victor Cruz drop. Besides the drop Cruz was on fire. He ran sharp routes, and was looked at most of the night. I would take him in a PPR (Points Per Reception) fantasy league. Ramses Barden stole the show Friday night and finished with three catches for 46 yards and a score. His catches were tough ones where he had been covered closely. Barden’s size gives him an advantage over any cornerback and over the other Giants receivers. Barden has secured a spot on the roster based on Friday’s performance.
The Giants must cut their roster down to 75 on Monday, and then finish the preseason against the New England Patriots (1-2) on Wednesday night at MetLife Stadium.
About the Author
Written by Matthew Stapleton
Ridgewood, New Jersey