New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions: Top 5 things to watch

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The New York Giants held joint practices with the Detroit Lions this week ahead of their preseason matchup on Friday evening.

Big Blue is looking to get their first win under head coach Pat Shurmur on the road. The New York Giants struggled in multiple areas in their first preseason outing against the Cleveland Browns, and fans are, at least, hoping to see improvement from the team as we approach the regular season.

There were plenty of takeaways from New York’s 20-10 loss to the Browns last week, and Giants fans should have their eyes on the following five things on Friday night:

No. 5 – Special Teams Play

The Giants showed improved special teams play under new coordinator Thomas McGaughey. Big Blue’s only touchdown against Cleveland was the result of a special teams turnover.

Punter Riley Dixon also had a strong outing in his first appearance as a New York Giant, pinning the Browns inside their own 20-yard line three times. The Giants gave up a conditional seventh-round draft pick for the third-year punter, and so far the move looks to be working out.

Hunter Sharp showed some promise as Big Blue’s returner on kickoffs, gaining 42 yards on one of his two attempts. However, he netted minus three yards on his only punt return of the game. The Giants will want to see improved play in the return game, especially with Sharp and Kalif Raymond looking to earn roles on the final 53-man roster.

New York’s kickers saw little action in the team’s preseason opener. Aldrick Rosas connected on a 42-yard field goal, and Marshall Koehn made his lone extra point attempt. Rosas is the frontrunner to land the full-time gig, but the competition is far from over.