EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When three wide receivers land on injured reserve and six other players are ruled out for Sunday night's matchup against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, a lineup overhaul is necessary. The New York Giants have no choice.
Four of their top five wide receivers are not available this week. They're missing their return man, starting running back, starting center, two defensive ends and a starting linebacker and defensive captain. Ouch! That's not the recipe for success against a quality Broncos team (3-1) that sports the league's best defense.
But the games must go on. The injury-ravaged Giants (0-5) painfully have 11 remaining this season. Here's how they will get by this week:
Running Back: Paul Perkins (ribs) is out. It's not a huge loss. He's averaged 1.9 yards per carry this season, and the Giants had their best rushing output this season with Orleans Darkwa starting and rookie Wayne Gallman splitting time against the Chargers. Shane Vereen remained in his role as the passing-down back.
The Giants are expected to stick with that rotation in Denver. Darkwa (eight carries for 69 yards and a TD) was running well before being limited in the second half by cramping. Gallman (11 carries for 57 yards) has also experienced success in recent weeks. They're going to remain the primary ball carriers.
Vereen could also become a bigger factor. He caught nine passes in the only game this season without Odell Beckham Jr., who is now out for the season. He should be featured more prominently in the passing game Sunday and for the remainder of the year.
Wide receiver: The Giants needed a total overhaul with Beckham (ankle), Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Dwayne Harris (foot) out for the season. Sterling Shepard (ankle) is also sidelined for this week's game.
That leaves Roger Lewis and Tavarres King as the likely starters on the outside with undrafted rookie Travis Rudolph in the slot. Ed Eagan is the lone receiver in reserve. Combined, this group has 19 career catches and three touchdowns, with Lewis leading the way. He could be the Giants' top target this week.
And don't expect rookie right end Evan Engram at wide receiver. That is not the plan, even if he could occasionally sneak in some snaps outside.
No matter who starts at right tackle, he will have his hands full. Miller has 4.0 sacks and nine quarterback hits already this season.
"Well, Von Miller is a concern, regardless. I mean, you take the greatest right tackle, left tackle, take every tackle that ever played in the National Football League -- they're going to struggle against Von Miller," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "That's, in my opinion, the best pass-rusher in the game. So we have to do everything that we can to try to help."
Defensive end: Olivier Vernon (ankle) will miss his second consecutive game, and his fill-in, Romeo Okwara (knee), is also sidelined after suffering an injury in Thursday's practice. That opens the door for Kerry Wynn to see extended action, with rookie Avery Moss in a pass-rush role.
Moss played 29 snaps in Sunday's loss to the Chargers. He should see even more action against the Broncos.
"I think Avery's done a really good job," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "I thought he did a good job this past week and I think I mentioned this -- about three weeks ago, I remember watching tape, I put all the clips on for the rest of the guys, I thought he was getting better."
The Giants always seem to do a lot of mixing and matching depending on the defensive package. This week almost all of them should have B.J. Goodson in them. Robinson, Kennard and even Grant could also factor in. More likely, however, is that the Giants use three safeties (as long as Landon Collins, who is questionable with an ankle injury, plays) to help solve their problem with covering running backs and tight ends. Don't be surprised to see more of Andrew Adams this week.
Cornerback: The Giants plan to use Ross Cockrell as their first option in the slot with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suspended, according to Spagnuolo. Donte Deayon, elevated from the practice squad this week, is also an option.
Cockrell was acquired in a trade with the Steelers this summer. The Broncos might be wise to try to run in his direction. Cockrell hasn't tackled well early in his Giants career.
Kick/punt returner: Dwayne Harris (foot) is out for the season. The backup punt returners were Beckham and Shepard. They are also unavailable Sunday in Denver.
This is where Eagan (5-foot-11, 183 pounds) factors into the equation. He could do punts and kickoffs. Rudolph also could be an option, while Vereen might get some kickoff returns.