The 2017 New York Giants are off to a horrible start. They were crushed 19-3 by a Dallas Cowboys team that was able to play to its strengths. The Cowboys main strengths last year were controlling the clock and avoiding big mistakes. In 2016, they were third in time of possession and had only 15 giveaways, which was tied for fifth-fewest in the league.
The Giants had as much to do with the outcome of the game as the Cowboys did. The offense had its worst game in the past few years. The offensive line was unable to protect Eli Manning, which led to him being sacked three times and pressured on a number of other occasions. The run game never got going either, as the Giants had 35 yards rushing on 12 carries. Manning was inaccurate on several key third down throws. Free agent acquisition Brandon Marshall was terrible in his first game with the G-Men. He looked lethargic and lacked a sense of urgency in his route running. If Odell Beckham Jr. misses any more games, the Giants are in trouble.
In addition, the predictability and overall lack of excitement in the offense is holding the team back. Shane Vereen was in the game for 31 plays and did not have any carries. They threw the ball every time Vereen was on the field. There’s no doubt that defensive coordinators across the league have taken note.
The passing plays that Manning completed were almost all short throws with little opportunity for the receiver to gain yards after the catch. The Giants mixed up their personnel and used two tight ends at times, but the plays that were run simply did not produce good enough results.
The Giants defense was okay, but the unit was unable to create any takeaways or make any big plays. They held up well in the red zone and only gave up one touchdown in the game. The Cowboys just wore them out in the first half, which is due to the fact that the Giants offense couldn’t get anything going. Dallas ran 47 offensive plays in the first half and the Giants only ran 19.
Unfortunately for the Giants, if history is any indication, the season may get worse before it gets better. Last night the Giants looked an awful lot like the 2013 iteration of the team. In 2013, the Giants had the worst offensive season of the Manning-Coughlin era. They averaged 18.4 points per game, which was fifth-worst in the NFL. Manning had a league-high 27 interceptions and the team had a league-high 44 turnovers in 2013.
The 2013 Giants also did not have any success in the run game. Their leading rusher was Andre Brown, who missed the first half of the season with an injury.
In 2013, Manning was sacked a career-high 39 times. It was the last season in which Kevin Gilbride was the Giants offensive coordinator. Gilbride’s offense featured many downfield passes and long-developing routes, which do not work well if the offensive line doesn’t protect the quarterback. In 2013, four-time Pro Bowl guard Chris Snee only played three games and left tackle David Diehl was in his eleventh and final season in the NFL. At that point the team was far removed from the days in which Diehl, Snee, Kareem McKenzie, Shaun O’Hara, and Rich Seubert started all 16 games for several consecutive seasons.
The 2013 Giants defense kept the team in games. They allowed the eighth-fewest total yards during the season and had 29 takeaways, which ranked tenth in the league. In 2017, the Giants defense will keep the team in games like it did last night against Dallas. Unfortunately, with the way the offense has been playing, the defense will need to lead the league in takeaways if they want to have a chance at making the playoffs.
The 2013 Giants lost their first six games and were out of the playoff race by the end of September. They managed to finish 7-9 because they faced several backup quarterbacks late in the season. This year’s team is unlikely to be so lucky. Week 1 was a disaster for the Giants, and their season could get worse in the coming weeks.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new New York Giants article is published, fill out our email notification form.