The wait is over. The New York Giants will get star offensive guard Justin Pugh back for the Week 15 clash with the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium.
The New York Giants have played the past five games without the player whom many believe to be the anchor of the offensive line: Justin Pugh. Pugh has been battling a knee injury, which has left both Eli Manning and the running game without their most reliable blocker.
Fortunately for the postseason-famished Giants, Pugh will make his way back to the playing field in Week 15.
The Giants enter Week 15 at 9-4, which means an elusive postseason appearance is within reach. Unfortunately, New York’s pass protection and run blocking have been unreliable and closer to a weakness than a strength.
According to Jordan Raanan of ESPN’s NFL Nation, Pugh wasn’t listed on the injury report and will be active for Sunday’s game against the Lions.
That may be the best news the Giants have received all season.
Pugh is the No. 4 ranked guard in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. Only Marshal Yanda of the Baltimore Ravens, Kelechi Osemele of the Oakland Raiders, and Zack Martin of the Dallas Cowboys currently rank higher on Pro Football Focus’ list.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that the Giants suffered from his absence.
Pugh has established himself as one of the league’s elite guards in both pass protection and run blocking. John Jerry has been solid at guard, but Marshall Newhouse has been more admirable in his efforts than effective in his results.
Weston Richburg has been strong at center, but the Giants have been suffering along the offensive line with erratic play at guard and tackle.
Pugh is more than just an outstanding individual player; he’s the glue to the Giants’ offensive line. His presence helps hold the line together as a unit, which inevitably creates opportunities for Manning and the rushing attack to excel.
Considering New York ranks No. 30 in rushing yards per game and rushing yards per attempt, it’s safe to say Pugh has been missed.
Thankfully, he’ll make his long-awaited return during Week 15.