EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (AP) — Saquon Barkley is not a statistician.
Even though he knows the numbers, the New York Giants running backs don’t think they’re going to do anything on game day.
For example, Barkley goes into Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium against the Houston Texans as the third-best rusher in the NFL this season with 779 yards. The Texans (1-6-1) not only have a bad record, they are also bottom of the league in running defense with an average of 180.6 yards.
So it’s easy to predict that 25-year-old Barkley will have another big day as the Giants (6-2) look to improve their playoff hopes from their bye week.
“When we played Seattle, their rush defense wasn’t there. It wasn’t the greatest,” said Barkley, who gained 53 yards on 20 carries against the Seahawks in the game before the bye. “They did a really good job of game planning and planning the run. Every week it’s a new challenge. It’s the NFL; There are a lot of good players over there.”
The running game was the weapon of choice for the Giants, who average 161.5 yards. Barkley averages 4.8 yards per carry while posting three games with at least 100 yards rushing.
One thing opponents have been doing lately is boxing more players to slow down the run.
“The beauty of having more people in the box — the safeguards — is that once you get past a certain level, there’s really nobody there,” Barkley said. “So you have to capitalize on that. But that’s really not my fault.”
Quarterback Daniel Jones’ game has helped Barkley, who was struggling with a 2020 ACL injury last season. Jones has rushed for 363 yards and stopped opposing defenses from getting into 26th place.
If the Giants can get the passing attack to improve, that would help, too. Recipients have been limited by injuries but Kenny Golladay is set to return this week after missing four games with a knee injury.
After bye week, Barkley said his body was rested while his mind was clearer after getting away from it all.
“It teaches you to appreciate football so much more,” he said. “You say, ‘I want to get back to that as soon as possible.’ But spend more time with your family.”
During his free time, Barkley attended a birthday party for former Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who is a free agent. There was no recruiting from Barkley’s side as Beckham knows how badly Barkley wants him to return to the Giants.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and running back Ezekiel Elliott recently tweeted Beckham, telling him to consider joining the Cowboys once he rehabilitated his knee from an ACL injury.
Barkley says he doesn’t need to tweet or make a sales pitch.
“I personally think it would be a great story to go back to a place you’ve been before and continue to contribute to the success and continue to come here with the right attitude and be a leader and the type of player that he can be for his team,” Barkley said. “Like I said, he’s a special player. He can help any team.”
NOTES: Coach Brian Daboll said neither T Evan Neal (knee) nor TE Daniel Bellinger (eye) will play Sunday. … LB Cam Brown simulated Texas rookie RB Dameon Pierce in practice on Friday. “First time since I was in high school,” Brown said.
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