Welcome to Week Five, the first week all season in which rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to play. In honor of Beckham’s healed hamstring, let’s use something he knows well, the NFL injury report, to predict which players on the Giants or Falcons are going to play the biggest roles in Sunday’s outcome.
Probable Player of the Game: Jason Pierre-Paul
During the Giants’ current two-game winning streak, a lot of attention has been given to the new West Coast offense instituted by offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, which has led to a resurgence for Eli Manning (“I guess he IS a Hall of Fame quarterback”) and the emergence of tight end Larry Donnell.
While certain defensive players have been garnering attention -- including Prince Amukamara, whose breakout season is attributable to shedding his pesky virginity, according to secondary mate Antrel Rolle – Pierre-Paul has been playing relatively below the radar in the Giants’ last two games.
No sacks, one stuff, one pass defense.
Given the Falcons’ new offensive line -- center Joe Hawley and right tackle Lamar Holmes were put on injured reserve after last week’s game – someone on the Giants’ defense is bound to feast.
I’m down with JPP.
Questionable Player of the Game: Larry Donnell
Will the third-year tight end be able to match the three-touchdown performance he had against the Redskins? Is he confident enough in his own abilities to start himself in fantasy football over Vernon Davis?
Yeah, Donnell reportedly lost his fantasy football matchup last week because he started Davis, the San Francisco tight end, over himself in fantasy football. <<<< Dilemmas we mere mortals would love to have.
Seriously, how weird must it be to own yourself in a fantasy league? I’d love to be at that draft, when a roomful of NFL players pick their colleagues.
Prince Amukamara: “I’m picking myself.”
Rest of owners: “Bah! Virgin!!!!”
Prince under his breath: “Shows what you know.”
Doubtful Player of the Game: Osi Umenyiora
Umenyiora, the former Pro Bowler who played nine seasons in New York and featured prominently on two Super Bowl-winning teams, is now a pass-rushing specialist who backs up defensive end Kroy Biermann in Atlanta. He has no sacks through four games.
In talks with the media this week, he hemmed and hawed about his decision to sign with the Falcons as a free-agent two years ago, when he left New York with bruised feelings. He had 75 sacks and 33 forced fumbles during his time with the Giants, who didn’t feel compelled to pay him for past successes.
The former Giant defensive star returns to the Meadowlands as a part-time player, whose highlight so far this season is that his beautiful Atlanta home was featured on “Hard Knocks.”
Out Player of the Game: Odell Beckham Jr.
Just kidding, the dude is finally playing!
It will be exciting to see the rookie first-round draft pick from LSU taking the field for the first time. If McAdoo and Manning can turn Donnell into an emerging star, the sky is the limit for Beckham -- as long as he stays off the injury report.
Cameron Martin writes about the Giants for NBCNewYork.com. Martin has written for The New York Times, ESPN.com, The Atlantic, CBS Sports and other publications.