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NFL Preseason: Five New York Giants to Watch vs. New York Jets

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Seeking answers to some unanswered questions, the New York Giants will face the New York Jets on Saturday, Aug. 24 at MetLife Stadium.

For instance, who is going to start at middle linebacker when the regular season begins? And what will the offensive line look like without veteran tackle David Diehl, who is out for up to six weeks with a thumb injury?

For the answers or at least clues to these and other pressing questions, keep on eye on these five Giants during the game Saturday:

CB Terrell Thomas -- Thomas, who started training camp on the physically unable to perform list, is expected to see his first game action in two years. He started every game in 2009 and 2010 before suffering ACL injuries in back-to-back seasons. Listed as a cornerback, Thomas could see time at safety, since Antrel Rolle is nursing a sprained ankle and won't play. The Giants can use Thomas' experience and leadership, but he must prove that he can stay on the field and contribute.

LB Mark Herlzlich -- When training camp started, Herzlich filled the role of starting middle linebacker, taking most of the first-team snaps, but Dan Connor seemingly has wrestled away the job. Connor started New York's last preseason game and made three solo tackles. Herlzlich needs a strong showing against the Jets if he has any chance of starting the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

RT Justin Pugh -- Injuries to center David Baas (knee) and Diehl (thumb) have forced the Giants to reshuffle the offensive line with Pugh lining up at right tackle. With Diehl expected to miss up to six weeks, Pugh has a golden opportunity in front of him but first must show he is ready. Hey, remember when some fans second-guessed general manager Jerry Reese for drafting Pugh in the first round?

CB Jayron Hosley -- The Giants saw two sides of Hosley against the Indianapolis Colts. The second-year cornerback was burned for a touchdown by T.Y. Hilton and returned an interception for 37 yards. So which one will the the team see during the regular season? Corey Webster has not been practicing this week, so Hosley should see plenty of time against the Jets. Incidentally, Hosley had a pick-six against Mark Sanchez in the last preseason game between the Giants and Jets.

WR Hakeem Nicks -- Normally, starters have little to prove in the preseason, but a strong showing from Nicks would be comforting. He's coming off an injury-riddled season and has been banged up during training camp. Coach Tom Coughlin's plans to play his starters for "basically a half," so monitor Nicks for clues on his health. He looked OK last week, pulling in two balls for 40 yards against the Colts.

Adam Martini is a freelance sports writer with more than 15 years of experience covering amateur and professional sports for several print and online media outlets. He tracked the New York Giants for Yahoo! Contributor Network during the team's Super Bowl run in 2011-12. Adam can be found on Twitter @Pegcitysports.


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