EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)Saquon Barkley has played once against the New York Jets in a regular-season game, and the Giants running back recalled the experience was fun.
There was a lot of juice to the game in 2019 and fan excitement in the contest the Jets won 34-27.
The Giants (2-5) and Jets (3-3) will renew that experience on Sunday when they meet again at MetLife Stadium in what will be technically a home game for Barkley and company.
“I think it’s a great rivalry,” Barkley said Thursday after practice. “It’s always a fun game to play against a team like that. Two teams in the same area, share the same stadium, bragging rights for a long time till the next time they see each other. I’m excited. Definitely excited.”
Barkley grinned when he was reminded about the previous meeting against the Jets. It was his second year in the league and the 2018 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year was held to 1 yard on 13 carries, his lowest single-game total. The Giants finished with 23 yards on 17 carries with then-rookie quarterback Daniel Jones picking up 20 yards on three carries.
The 26-year-old Barkley said the performance still bothers him, and his younger brother, Ali, got on his case recently about it.
“That’s when I realized, like, dang, I really had 1 rushing yard against this team,” Barkley said. “But at that moment, that was probably, before I ever had an ACL or anything like that, the lowest moment I had as a player. I liked how I responded. I think in the next couple of weeks, I played pretty well and had one of my better games two or three weeks after that. So, you learn from it.”
Barkley said that game is in the past. He has averaged 85 yards rushing in the past two games, his first since missing three with a high sprain to his right ankle. He also scored on a 32-yard catch and run after catching a short pass from Tyrod Taylor last week.
While he hyperextended an elbow in the win over Washington last week, he expects to be ready for the Jets.
“I know a couple of guys over there and how competitive they are and how challenging they are, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” the Penn State alum said. “So, it’s going to be fun.”
NOTES: Jones (neck) still has not been cleared for contact and Taylor will probably make his third straight start. … The only other player who did not practice was RB Gary Brightwell (hamstring). Offensive tackles Andrew Thomas (hamstring), Evan Neal (ankle) and center John Michael Schmitz (shoulder) continue to be limited along with cornerback Adoree Jackson (neck). All four did not play last week.
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