X-Factor #1: Sterling Shepard
The NY Giants’ offense got a big boost from Sterling Shepard coming back from injury last week. Shep was forced to be sidelined with a painful turf toe injury that added to a piling listy of injuries for Shep since staying relatively healthy through college and his rookie season.
Sterling has only played one full season since 2016, a troubling stat when you add in two scary concussions he sustained last year.
When Shep is in the offense, he is arguably Daniel Jones’ best and most conistent option at receiver. #87 is a shifty player with a refined route tree and who uses his polished footwork to skate by defenders and rack up some extra yards. Yards after the catch is something Shep worked on and has tried to improve on the last few seasons.
The fifth-year receiver came on in a big way in Philly last week. He returned to the starting lineup with six catches for 59 yards and a touchdown that *should have* ended the game for NY and given them a huge divisional win.
Last season against Tampa Bay, Shepard had his best game of the season. He hauled in seven catches for 100 yards along with a touchdown in Jones’ first career game. He also got an end-around and racked up 21 yards on the ground.
I expect Shep to have a second consecutive productive week despite facing Tampa Bay’s prolific defense. Look for Sterling to make plays across the middle in between the hashes.
Bonus prediction: Shep gets a rushing attempt and picks up a first down. Book it.