Only one day remains for the Giants to prepare for the undefeated Patriots, who they'll face on the road in Foxborough on Thursday Night Football. And that preparation includes trying to be as healthy as possible playing on a short week.
For the Giants' offense, it has been rough. Wayne Gallman and Sterling Shepard will more than likely be out with their concussions suffered from the loss to the Vikings on Sunday. Saquon Barkley's high ankle sprain has recovered remarkably with him seen cutting and running at practice for a little over a week now, but it's still uncertain that he plays. And finally, Evan Engram reportedly has a sprained MCL in his left knee, which could sideline him, too.
Those are a lot of playmakers to be without, but luckily on the defensive side of the ball, things are a tad brighter.
Alec Ogletree, for one, was a full practice participant on Tuesday as he has been working his way back from a hamstring strain he suffered in Week 3 against the Bucs. As of now, he believes to be back on the field leading the defense this week.
"Yeah, that's the goal right now, to go out and play," he said after practice on Tuesday. "We'll see what the coaches say and the trainers and everybody says about it, but as for right now, I was able to practice today and get better today."
The linebacker corps, specifically, has been hurting in recent weeks. Other than Ogletree, Tae Davis has been dealing with a concussion, but has been practicing at full this week. Ogletree's fellow inside linebacker, then, should be back on the field as well if all works out. But fifth-rounder Ryan Connelly won't be back for the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL against the Redskins.
That left David Mayo and practice squad call-up Josiah Tauaefa starting in the middle of the defense against the Vikings on Sunday. And as one would expect against depth pieces, Minnesota had their way in the run game with 211 yards behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Madison.
If Ogletree and Davis were on the gridiron during the contest, maybe that result doesn't happen. But Ogletree said, "You like to think you could've helped, but you never know." And even with Ogletree and Davis lined up for a return, he knows after the defense allowed 490 total yards to the Vikings, everyone needs to step up against the Pats.
"It takes all 11 of us to go out on the field and do our job and do it well," Ogletree said. "When somebody needs to step up, we expect them to step up and do their part, and the same with me. When I come back, they need me to do my part, and the same with the rest of everybody."
To pull off a major upset against New England in Gillette Stadium will certainly take all 11 defenders playing their A-game against Tom Brady and the Patriots' electric offense. And with the offense losing some of their vital weapons, the defense might have to be leaned on even more to make this one competitive.
That's why having Ogletree back in the mix is crucial this week. He'll wear the headset again and configure the defense to hopefully hold the Patriots in check. No other team has been able to do it this season with their 5-0 record, but in a prime time game on short rest, anything is possible.
"We want to go up there and put on a good show, for sure," Ogletree said.