Big Trouble In The Big Apple?
Just over one year ago, the New York Giants started the season with a 2-0 record, handing the Dallas Cowboys one of their three losses in the regular season in 2016. They rode a revamped defense — which many considered to be one of the five best units in the NFL by season’s end — to an 11-5 record, which was their highest win total since 2008.
While we might be less than one year removed from most of that, those days must seem like an eternity ago for the citizens of Gotham. The Giants have started the season by losing each of their first three games, and doing so in an extremely disheartening fashion.
If there were just a few tweaks to make here or there with this team, then you’d have a lot more reason for optimism; after all, we’re not even through the month of September yet. But when you’re trying to make a list of all the issues this Giants team has, where do you start?
Head coach Ben McAdoo was originally brought in to help jumpstart an offense that began to lag under former head coach Tom Coughlin, and to revitalize the oft-inconsistent Eli Manning. It worked for a while, and now it’s gone. The Giants started this season by scoring exactly one offensive touchdown in their first 11 quarters of the season. They’ve been held scoreless for in seven of the 12 quarters they’ve played this year. Manning currently ranks 25th in the NFL in Quarterback Rating (QBR) right now, and has a lower passer rating than guys like Blake Bortles, Trevor Siemian, and even Josh McCown; the latter was supposed to be the one leading a winless team this season, and even they (the New York Jets) won a game before the Giants did.
Although, if you’re looking to make excuses for Manning, you have plenty of choices. Calling the Giants’ running game “abysmal” seems like it’s still being too generous; they’re dead last in the NFL, averaging 48.7 yards per game, and they only have five more rushing yards as a team than the Miami Dolphins, and that’s with the Dolphins playing one full game less than New York has. The Giants offensive line has been an unmitigated disaster, and a source of scorn for the local and national media. Even after devoting draft and free agent resources towards giving Manning weapons to throw to, the team can’t muster up any semblance of offense without force feeding Odell Beckham Jr. And Beckham is just as likely to do something spectacular as he is to do something that sabotages his team.
Last year’s sterling defense for New York has now fallen to the middle of the pack, ranking 16th in yards allowed per game; it doesn’t help that they’re currently dead last in the league in rushing yards allowed per game, ceding opponents over 150 yards on the ground each week. New York plays four quality teams between now and their week 8 by week — Tampa Bay, the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver, and Seattle — and then gets a surprising Los Angeles Rams team on the other side of the break. In other words: there’s no safe spot on the schedule for them to pick up their first win of the year.
This is far from the start that fans of Big Blue were looking for. And there aren’t many reasons for colorful optimism, given the way this team has played this year. Buy a premium sports mouth guard for your lovely kids to prevent them from injuries.