The Giants are set to play their first game on September 14th at 7:15 pm on Monday Night Football. This will be their first live action besides training camp this month. With the Giants playing in a little more than a month away, here is a preview of who I believe is going to start week one.
Quarterback: Daniel Jones
No explanation needed here. The only way Jones doesn’t start is if he contracts COVID-19. In that case Colt McCoy would step in.
Running Back: Saquon Barkley
Barkley will start the game right out of the gate. Barkley will be eager to get the ball rolling and to being the phenomenal athlete we are used to. Dion Lewis and Gallman may rotate different drives or scenarios, but I think Lewis will see more snaps than Gallman.
Tight Ends: Evan Engram and Kaden Smith
Engram will get the primary start as the receiving TE. Smith will start as the blocking TE, but he will also serve in the pass game. Look for Garrett to use Engram as a split-out receiver.
Wide receivers: Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton
Golden Tate will get the primary start on the outside. Sterling Shepard will get the main slot position. Slayton will be the opposing outside receiver. You may end up seeing looks with Engram and Slayton on the outside with Shepard and Tate in the double slot. If Engram is not on the outside, they may use Corey Coleman on the outside.
Tackles: LT Andrew Thomas, RT Nick Gates
With Solder opting out for the 2020 season, this gives Thomas a wide open door to play LT. He will protect Daniel Jones’ blind side. I threw Nick Gates at RT because he played there last season to fill in for Mike Remmers, and is now extended for two years with a new contract. Having familiarity on an offensive line group is very important. Gates worked next to Zeitler last season, and if he starts at RT this season, it will be the same situation. Having that chemistry and familiarity with each other benefits the line.
Guards: LG Will Hernandez, RG Kevin Zeitler
Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler were starters last season for a majority of the year, they will solidify that spot on the line once again. Hernandez can help Thomas on the line with adjustments and blocking schemes, and as mentioned Zeitler and Gates already have a head start with working together last season.
Center: Spencer Pulley
Pulley was the starting center in 2018 when Jon Halpio went down with a broken leg in week 2. Last season, Halpio was the starter a majority of the year. Pulley will then again have the opportunity to start at center, having experience starting for the Giants in 2018 and the Chargers in 2017.
Defensive Line: RDE Leonard Williams, NT Dexter Lawrence, LDE Dalvin Tomlinson
Since the Giants run a three four, here are your starting three lineman. Sometimes the Giants will use two edge rushers on the outside leaving two interior lineman. For the interior defensive line, Tomlinson and Lawrence have it secured, and Williams will rotate in. Williams will play on the outside on the D-line, he has greater speed and athleticism than Lawrence and Tomlison.
EDGE: Markus Golden, Kyler Fackrell
The two starting Edge rushers will turn to the veterans on the roster. I highly expect Golden to be back, as he has returned to camp and should sign by Tuesday. Fackrell was added from Green Bay this offseason. The Giants will roll out with them both starting, but will have them rotate with the young guys like Carter, Ximines, and Coughlin. If Golden didn’t sign, Carter would get the start.
Linebacker: ILB Blake Martinez, ILB David Mayo
Might be surprised that Ryan Connelly isn’t starting here. I am going with the veterans once again. Blake Martinez is a tackling machine, he will for certain get the lock here. Mayo spent a great amount of time last season starting for the Giants, proving he was worth more than just a special teamer. Depending on their looks, Connelly will make his way in during passing situations along with teammate Cam Brown.
Cornerbacks: James Bradberry, Sam Beal, Nickel: Julian Love and Darnay Holmes
I really want to put Holmes on the outside, but I’m going with Beal here. Beal has the experience on the outside last season. With this being the rookies first NFL game action, starting at corner can be a tough position to be in. Holmes I believe will make his way to start on the outside eventually depending on how Beal plays. Baker at this point will be involved once the legal situation is figured out, but I also don’t think he will be on the teams roster during the season.
Safeties: Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney
Peppers and McKinney will start at the safety spot. This will be the most interesting position on the entire squad. These safeties (including Julian Love) will be utilized all over the field. Love will primarily play in the slot either at corner or safety. McKinney will be used over the middle as a single high safety and even an in the box safety. Peppers I can see being utilized the same exact way.
Special Teams: K: Chandler Catanzaro, P: Riley Dixon, LS: Kasey Krieter
With the departure of Aldrick Rosas, Catanzaro was signed. Since he is the only kicker on the roster at this point, I will have to go with him. Don’t be surprised if a guy like Kai Forbath or a sleeper like Mike Nugent gets brought in as well. Dixon was a bright spot last season (which shows how bad the Giants really were), and will keep his job at punter. Kasey Krieter takes over for long-time Giant Zak DeOssie.
About Dylan Davis
Dylan Davis is a graduate of the State University of New York at Canton, where he obtained a B.A.A in Sport Management. He is a former athlete of football and baseball and sports fan for much of his life. Dylan creates content for 366 Sports and New York Giants 366, and is also a host on his own show, “The J&D Sports Show”.