Saquon Barkley’s Playing Status vs. Bucs; Giants Rule Out 3 Starters: Report

Giants RB Saquon Barkley expected to play vs. Bucs

Getty Saquon Barkley #26 of the New York Giants runs for a first down.

Barring any last-minute setbacks, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is expected to play Monday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and Jeremy Fowler. Officially listed as questionable on the team’s final injury report, Barkley has missed each of the team’s past three games after sustaining an ankle injury on October 10th vs. the Dallas Cowboys.

Over his five games this season, the 24-year-old Barkley has mustered up 195 yards rushing on 54 carries (3.6 yards per carry). Prior to his injury, the former NFL Rookie of the Year was beginning to flash glimpses of his pre-injury, dual-threat form, totaling 250 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns from Week 3-4.

Devonte Booker is Expected to Play

Barkley’s backfield mate Devontae Booker, who has served as the Giants’ lead back in the former’s absence, is also expected to suit up on Monday night according to The Athletic’s Dan Duggan. Booker exited the team’s Week 9 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders early with a hip injury. While X-rays came back negative, the veteran running back was limited throughout the practice week. After a slow start to the year, Booker has found his footing of late, averaging 123.5 yards from scrimmage and 4.4 yards per carry over his last two contests. His 315 yards rushing on the season pace all Giants players.

The Giants’ beefed-up backfield couldn’t come at a better time, as the Bucs own the NFL’s top rush defense, allowing a league-best 79.8 yards per game on the ground — nearly 10 yards fewer than the next best team. Having said that, they’ve proven far more susceptible of late, allowing 129.7 rushing yards per game over their last three contests.

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Sterling Shepard & Logan Ryan Ruled Out

It’s not all good on the health front for Big Blue. Leading receiver Sterling Shepard and defensive captain Logan Ryan have both been ruled out for Monday night.

Shepard (quad) will miss his second consecutive game and his fifth game on the year. Despite his limited availability, the Oklahoma product has seen seven more targets come his way than any other Giants player this season. Ryan, the team’s leader in total tackles (72) was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday. Expect versatile secondary fixture Julian Love to receive an uptick in snaps opposite of safety Xavier McKinney with Ryan sidelined.

“That’s what we work on between Jules and Zay (McKinney) and those guys right now, J.R. (Reed) and different guys playing the safety position for us,” said head coach Joe Judge. “They prepare every day for that. Again, we talk all the time about we don’t want to lose any of our players, however, if we do, we have to prepare for the next man to step up and execute accordingly. These guys prepare hard. Jules, Zay, J.R., all the DBs have been getting together a little bit extra, working on communication and making sure we’re on the same page.”

Linebacker Lorenzo Carter (ankle/illness) and safety/special teams ace Nate Ebner (knee) have also been ruled out. 


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