Matchup #3: Leonard Williams (DL) vs Justin Pugh (OG)
Another matchup featuring an ex-NY Giant player. This time, Justin Pugh returns to MetLife to face his former team. He’ll be challenged by Leonard Williams who will be sure to give him hell all game.
Both Pugh and Williams are former 1st round picks from both New York teams. The Giants took Pugh 19th overall back in 2013 and Williams went 6th overall to the Jets in 2015. While they used to attend NY Rangers games together at Madison Square Garden, these are much different times than they used to. They won’t be buddying up with each other, laughing, and having a good time.
No, this will be a 60-minute war between two gifted linemen who use their strengths and technique to win their 1 on 1 matchups. Both players are now seasoned veterans who have moved past their early years where neither lived up to their 1st round expectations.
Pugh has spent the past three seasons in the Valley of the Sun. He signed a 5-year, $45 million contract back in the 2018 offseason. NY never got to see Pugh stay healthy and thus elected not to ink him to a long-term deal. Williams never reached his full potential with the Jets but that may have been due to the scheme and players surrounding him.
The Big Cat, Leo Williams has been a revelation for the NY Giants in 2020.
He has 8.5 sacks, a career-high that’s good for top-10 in the league. He has given quarterbacks something to think about all year long as he chases them and harasses them with several QB hits per game. Williams has put up 15 QB hits in the team’s 4-game winning streak, he’s made his presence felt and is one of the main reasons this defense is playing so well right now.
Williams impressive play must continue this week. He needs to keep pushing the pocket and give Kyler Murray fits by rushing from the interior of the trenches. He will be relied upon to help stop Murray from leaving the pocket along with stopping Kyler’s legs and the rushing attack of Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds.
Pugh is a talented player but this is a very difficult matchup for the ex-Giants 1st rounder. Leonard Williams can attack you in multiple ways and cause havoc from numerous spots along the defensive line. Expect his versatility and dominance to be displayed again with a convincing effort back home on the MetLife turf.