By Jay Skurski
News Sports Reporter
1. They’re coming off extra rest. Conspiracy theorists, unite. The Bills will be playing their second game in the first four weeks of the season against a team with extra time to prepare. The Giants played Thursday night, defeating Washington, 32-21. The Giants led by 19 points heading into the fourth quarter and held on for the win – something they were unable to do twice in starting the season 0-2. The extra rest should help cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie get back into the lineup after he sat out Thursday’s game because of a concussion. Additionally …
2. Victor Cruz should be back. The wide receiver has missed the first three weeks of the season because of a calf injury suffered during training camp. Cruz also had major surgery on his right knee during the offseason, so the team has been careful in bringing him back. Cruz just started running on grass last week, but the Giants say he’s on track to return in Week Four. If he’s healthy, he’ll give New York an attractive three-receiver set with Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle, who after gaining 100 yards just once in his 41 career games now has four such games in his past 10.
3. Speaking of Beckham … he’s unreal. The Giants’ second-year receiver has picked up right where he left off from his rookie season, when his array of one-handed catches turned him into a star. Through the first 15 games of his career, he has 110 catches – 14 more than any other player in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He also has 14 touchdowns in those 15 games, fourth-most in league history.
4. Their defense has been opportunistic, but leaky. New York has six takeaways and just one turnover through the first three weeks of the season, including a 3-0 turnover differential in its favor against Washington in Week Three. The Giants did, however, give up 393 yards against the Redskins and are allowing 410 yards per game. Particularly problematic is the lack of a pass rush. The Giants have just three sacks through the first three games.
5. Nikita Whitlock does it all. One of the most fun stories in the NFL this season belongs to Whitlock, who on Thursday played fullback, defensive tackle and special teams for the Giants. The 5-foot-10, 250-pounder amazingly played nine snaps at defensive tackle. It’s not just a gimmick, either. Whitlock pressured Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins twice and registered a quarterback hit. Known for his exceptional strength – he bench-presses more than 500 pounds – Whitlock is making a legitimate case to be a rotational member of the Giants’ defensive line.