After the New York Giants surprised the league, somewhat, in 2016 with their very strong defense, they’ve started 2017 by surprising the league once more; going 0-3 to start the season. Offense has been incredibly difficult for the Giants to come by, and the defense hasn’t looked as solid as it did last year, leading to defeats against NFC East rivals Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles as well as the Detroit Lions.
So, what’s been causing the New York Giants to be so poor in 2017, and can they turn it around and push back up the division?
Is the NFC East out of reach already?
Source: Cowboys Nation, via Twitter
Let’s put it this way; the New York Giants are barely being given a reasonable chance after their first set of games to come back and win the NFC East. With the Cowboys at +125, the Eagles at +200, and the Washington Redskins at +350 – all on 2-1 records after three games – the Giants are clear outsiders at +800 in the latest NFL odds. But there is hope.
The division is rather strong, especially with Dallas presumably being allowed to play Ezekiel Elliott for the season, so it would take a lot for the Giants to bounce back from two wins back. To add to this, the Giants look to have the toughest schedule of the division this season, so turning it around will take that much more effort.
Very weak offensive line
Source: GMEN Report, via Twitter
As good as a team’s quarterback, running back, and wide receiver set can be, it will struggle if the offensive line isn’t up to scratch. That is very much the case with the Giants.
Quarterback Eli Manning’s eight sacks after three games were the 13th most, while last season he was only sacked 21 times throughout the entire season – 28th most times of all quarterbacks in 2016. Despite the sacks and lack of protection, though, Manning has been able to rank himself rather well, with the third-most passing attempts, second highest passing percentage, and sixth-most passing yards after three games.
However, with four of the Giants’ five scores after three games coming via a Manning pass, as well as the quarterback having been picked on four occasions, it’s clear that they are far too predictable on offense. Be it due to the lack of overall talent in their rushing corps, the fragility of the offensive line, or a combination of the two; the Giants simply can’t run the ball – meaning that teams can deploy extra coverage on Manning’s top targets.
With Orleans Darkwa New York’s leading rusher with 53-yards on 13 attempts in three games, and the designated starter Paul Perkins hitting 48-yards from 23 attempts in as many games, it’s clear that the Giants can’t move the ball on the ground.
While the defense has been particularly lackluster against the rush this season, the problems for this team revolve around the offensive line’s inability to create lanes or protect their quarterback.
It’d be easy enough to say that they should bring in some talent on the offensive line, and maybe even a trusted running back, but things don’t always pan out so easily. With the trade deadline on October 31, the Giants only have a month to make changes significant enough to pull them out of this chasm, so we’ll have to see if they make the right moves or not.