For Giants fans, it was great news to hear TE Evan Engram was a full practice participant along with RB Saquon Barkley on Wednesday. That's a great sign that Engram will be available for the Giants on Sunday against the Cardinals after missing last game with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
And if that is the case, it couldn't be better timing for the playmaker.
The Cardinals have struggled mightily this season on the defensive side of the ball. They currently rank 30th in the league in total defense, with the 30th ranking in pass defense with 281.2 yards allowed per game.
Particularly when it comes to defending tight ends, Arizona has had trouble containing them, especially those who are tough matchups for their linebackers. Let's take a look at how tight ends have fared through six weeks thus far:
- Lions TE T.J. Hockensen: 6 catches, 131 yards, 1 TD
- Ravens TE Mark Andrews: 8 catches, 112, 1 TD
- Panthers TE Greg Olsen: 6 catches, 75 yards, 2 TD
- Seahawks TE Will Dissly: 7 catches, 57 yards, 1 TD
- Bengals TEs Tyler Eifert/C.J. Uzomah: 4 total catches, 30 total yards
- Falcons TE Austin Hooper: 8 catches, 117 yards, 1 TD
With the exception of the Bengals matchup, these tight ends have had a pretty good day on the stat sheet. But none of them compare to the skill set that Engram has.
Engram is already a matchup nightmare for great defenses like the Cowboys, who he torched for 116 yards on 11 catches back in Week 1. With his speed and ability to make tacklers miss in the open field, Engram should be licking his chops against this defense this week.
But it is still early in the week for the Giants to determine that Engram is officially game ready. He did speak after practice today, and had a smile on his face talking about how that knee feels.
"I made all my cuts, I moved around well," he told the Giants' Madelyn Burke. "... I've done a really good job of recovering and taking care of myself."
Having Engram on the field opens up a lot for rookie QB Daniel Jones, and head coach Pat Shurmur loves getting his tight ends involved in his play-calling.
If he's on the MetLife Stadium turf come 1 p.m. on Sunday in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Engram should see his fair share of targets. And they could go for big gains with the way the Cardinals' defense has been playing.