NEW ORLEANS — Through three games, the Giants are not totally anemic when it comes to creating big plays on offense. They have a 41-yard hookup from Daniel Jones to Darius Slayton, a 37-yard touchdown reception by Sterling Shepard and a 33-yard scoring pass to Slayton.
In the ground game, Jones has a 46-yard gain and Saquon Barkley has a 41-yard run.
Alas, Slayton and Shepard both will be out Sunday against the Saints with strained hamstrings. The Giants, in three games, have just five touchdowns, and they cannot keep grinding with their offense. They need more explosive plays anywhere they can get them.
“Absolutely,’’ offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. “If you look at the stats in the NFL — the scoring, the relationship between scoring on a drive when you’ve made a big play and you haven’t made a big play — there’s a significant spread there. We’ve made some big chunks. In the passing game, I think we had six or seven explosives the other day. We have to continue to do that. That’s what gives you a chance to score points.’’
The heat is on Garrett, who could lose his play-calling duties if the Giants continue struggling to put points on the board.
No Shepard and Slayton for the Giants means more Kadarius Toney. Right? The rookie first-round pick has just four receptions for 14 yards in his first three NFL games, but he is getting more opportunities.
“Really, it’s all up to the coaches, up to really the game plan,’’ Toney said. “Whatever the Saints give us we’re willing to take, so it’s more of that instead of just being selfish and wanting the ball every play. I like to win and follow what the coaches say every day.’’
WR John Ross (hamstring) was activated off injured reserve and will make his Giants debut.
Ross, signed in mid-March, hurt his hamstring during the summer and worked his way back. The former Bengals 2017 first-round pick is a speedster. He fills an open spot on the roster.
Saints CB C.J. Gardner-Johnson has a warning for the Giants: “I feel sorry for them boys.’’
Gardner-Johnson, a college teammate of Giants rookie Toney at Florida, was referring to the Saints playing in front of fans inside the Superdome for the first time since the end of the 2019 season.
“They in for a rude awakening on Sunday,’’ Gardner-Johnson told reporters in New Orleans this past week. “Twelve o’clock gonna feel like 7, 7:30 p.m. Get ready.’’
The Giants practiced all week with music and noise blaring from the speakers encircling their practice fields, preparing as best they could for the decibel level they will face inside the Superdome. Jameis Winston came into this season with 121 career touchdown passes and 88 interceptions, a ratio that suggests he puts the ball up for grabs far too often. But in three starts for the Saints, Winston has seven touchdown passes and two interceptions.
“I think he’s making better decisions as of late in terms of the last time I went against him,’’ Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. “The thing is, when he’s hot, he’s hot. He can really torch you. So, we’ve got to be mindful of that.’’
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