With their disappointing 19-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys behind them, the New York Giants are now looking ahead to their home opener on Monday night.
The schedule that has currently been laid out before the Giants has not been easy. Their next opponent will be against the Detroit Lions, who is the second-straight team they will play from the 2016 playoffs. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford picked up where he left off from late last season and had a wonderful performance against the Arizona Cardinals, throwing four touchdown passes and one interception.
In the case of the Lions’ offensive line, however, they are a mixed group. Center Travis Swanson is the lone returning starter on the line, but he struggled quite a bit against the Cardinals. It’s easy for the Giants’ front seven to not have their hands too full with the Lions’ offensive line, and it’s more than likely that they won’t.
But there are still many areas that Giants need to fix in order to come out with a win. Here are three of them:
Chemistry with the wide receivers
Brandon Marshall nearly went the entire Cowboys game without a single catch. Thankfully, he was able to get one in the game’s final seconds.
Marshall and Eli Manning were unable to translate their offseason chemistry onto the football field. In the first half of the Cowboys game, Manning overthrew a wide-open Marshall. Manning overthrew Marshall again in the second half, but that time, cornerback Anthony Brown had major coverage on the left sideline that Marshall was at. But Marshall wasn’t the only Giants receiver that had a bad game.
The entire Giants receiving corps struggled as a whole on Sunday night as Roger Lewis led the group with 54 receiving yards. It’s unclear as to if Odell Beckham Jr. will play against the Lions, and it’s definitely not a good sign to see a star player out for extended periods of time. To make matters worse, the Giants’ wide receivers will also have added pressure of going against an improved Lions secondary. In the Cardinals game, the Lions had three interceptions, including a pick-six.
Lack of explosiveness from the run game
It was a poor last season for the Giants’ run game, and the outing from the Cowboys game has been no different. This is an issue that has been lingering in the preseason, when starter Paul Perkins accumulated 10 yards on six carries against the Cleveland Browns.
Yes, the preseason and regular season are completely different from each other. However, the Giants had plenty of time to make adjustments to the run game, but nothing significant has ever happened. While all of the Giants running backs were completely shut down by the Cowboys defense, it wasn’t entirely their fault. Their lack of explosiveness, as well as the missing chemistry between Manning and his receivers, eventually leads to one final point:
Blocking and protection from the offensive line
This cannot be stressed enough. As the offensive line introduced themselves for Sunday Night Football, Manning was seen getting sacked in the background. It pretty much set the tone for what the rest of the night was going to look like, as Manning was constantly hurried and pressured throughout the game.
There needs to be better protection schemes for Manning to find the time to connect with his receivers. There needs to be lanes for the running backs to make better contributions to the offense. When the offensive line is out-of-sync, it sets the entire offense up for failure.
Hopefully these issues are better resolved on Monday night. Obviously, these issues aren’t magically fixed overnight, but let’s pray and hope for the best.
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