Saquon Barkley Credit: Bill Moore photo

The Giants traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom to play the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Sunday. Kickoff will be at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. The Giants are in a position that has been unfamiliar to the franchise in recent years. They are 3-1 for the first time since 2011 after defeating the 2-2 Chicago Bears 20-12 at MetLife Stadium last Sunday. 

By and large the Giants haven’t been aesthetically appealing, but they have shown in this early part of the 17-game NFL season they understand what it takes to grind out wins. And they have running back Saquon Barkley, who provides them the wow factor and spectacular plays lacking at the other offensive skill positions. It’s still a moderate sample size, but Barkley has flashed as the best ball carrier in the league and has regained much of the explosiveness he displayed in 2018 when he amassed 1,307 yards on the ground and was the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

After being sidelined with a torn ACL for 14 games in 2020 and missing four games last season due to an ankle injury, Barkley has 463 yards heading into the matchup with the 2-2 Packers, which tops the league. With starting quarterback Daniel Jones’ left ankle injured versus the Bears after being sacked in the third quarter and his backup Tyrod Taylor taking a hard hit on a run midway through the fourth quarter, Barkley was tasked with shouldering the offensive load. 

Taylor was done for the day and was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Jones was forced to leave the game temporarily and when he returned lined up as a receiver; his sole purpose at that point was to communicate the plays in the huddle. Barkley compensated for the Giants’ quarterback limitations and finished the game with 146 yards on 31 carries. 

“When I saw Tyrod go down, I kind of realized I’m up next,” said Barkley. “I’m the quarterback. First of all, you have to give credit to DJ coming back in the game. I can’t curse, he’s a tough you know what. Nothing but respect for him to go in and continue to fight through that for his team just shows you the type of person and type of player he is.

“I think I just tried my best to read it,” Barkley detailed. “It’s really not that hard, I guess, but I think I made the right reads on them. But we were able to keep the ball moving, get down field, get some points and the defense did a great job for us.”

“Those were plays we had in the game plan,” said head coach Brian Daboll. “I just thought those were the right thing to use at that particular time based on where Daniel was, limping around a little bit. And Barkley’s been ball handling since training camp, not for this necessarily…just because it’s part of our package that we have.”

As of mid-week, Jones’ availability for Sunday’s game was uncertain and the Giants may start Davis Webb, who has been on their practice squad.

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