Is it truly desperate times for the Giants?
Two opening-game losses and talk of a Super Bowl run has begun to diminish. Statistically speaking, a team with a 0-2 record has a 12 percent chance of making the playoffs. Still, the Giants themselves are an exception to the rule as they has the same record in 2007 and went on to win the Super Bowl
Don’t cancel those plans for the 52nd annual event in Minnesota just yet.
Problem is, the Giants have the same deficiencies as they had last season – the offensive line and the running game. Once again there was counterpoint last season when the team won 11 games and made the playoffs.
So, where do the Giants stand?
Their line play still will be met with plenty of skepticism and left tackle Ereck Flowers remains the whipping boy with plenty of reason. Detroit’s Ezekiel Ansah registered three of his team’s four sacks against Flowers. Right tackle Bobby Hart didn’t play and was replaced by Brent Jones, who flipped plays with right guard Justin Pugh. That situation didn’t play out too well either. The team has considered keeping tight end Rhett Ellison on the line for his blocking ability.
One popular rumor circulating has the Giants reaching out to Cleveland for future Hall of Fame left tackle Joe Thomas. He certainly would cost them a first-round draft pick and possibly more. Looking at the current and likely future needs, it would appear to be a good idea.
However, head coach Ben McAdoo has backed Flowers and said that “he did some good things against the Lions.” Being a former first-round pick has helped his cause.
As a result, the Giants’ running game has been stagnant. Paul Perkins hasn’t emerged as the projected lead back for the team and they have generated less than 100 yards as a unit in either of the first two games.
Eli Manning also has suffered from the trickle effect, as he hasn’t looked comfortable in the pocket and hasn’t been able to piece together one of his typical prototype games.
Odell Beckham Jr. is back, but it appears it will take him some time to regain his old form. Brandon Marshall looks like he may have left some of his better days with the Jets, and Sterling Shepard caught only two balls against Detroit. Rookie and top pick tight end Evan Engram, who looked great late in camp and hauled in his first touchdown pass against the Lions on a good night, has gone through concussion protocol this week.
Like everyone knows, these problems have lingered. In fact, you can trace them back to the latter part of last season when their offense began to sputter. The Giants haven’t scored more than 20 points in their last eight games dating back to Nov. 27, 2016 in their 27-13 win at Cleveland.
What’ next? The rising Eagles in a hostile Philadelphia environment. The Eagles couldn’t get a running game going in their loss last week in Kansas City, and quarterback Carson Wentz – like Manning – was under duress most of the game, especially the second half.
Unfortunately for the Giants, Philadelphia does have a strong pass rush and their defense has improved. The lone blemish is their secondary where their starting backfield is banged up.
If the Giants drop to 0-3 , they will return home to meet the Chargers on Oct. 1.
Time to panic? Something tells me Big Blue will get it together and their ever-steady defense will help them regenerate those playoff pangs.