Giants visit Texans as both teams look to avoid disheartening 0-3 start

New direction, same result.

Despite an offseason overhaul of leadership, plus a re-emphasis on the running game, the New York Giants are winless through two games for the second year in a row. It’s a frustrating predicament for a team that looked poised to bounce back from an ugly 2017 campaign.

Although their Week 3 opponents, the Houston Texans, also find themselves in an unexpected 0-2 hole, it’s hard to see this as a close matchup. Read on for three reasons to be concerned about Sunday afternoon’s game in Houston.

Woe on the O-line

Tackle Nate Solder and guard Will Hernandez are pulling their weight on the left side of the offensive line. Everything else, meanwhile, has been a train wreck.

Eli Manning has absorbed eight sacks through two games. Starting center Jon Halapio is done for the year after breaking his ankle and leg in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Ereck Flowers remains a bad offensive tackle.

There’s no way anyone outside Giants HQ can believe this five-man unit will protect Manning from monsters like J.J. Watt long enough to sustain several scoring drives. This may not be pretty.

Dual-threat Deshaun

Deshaun Watson has yet to bust loose the way he did during his abbreviated rookie year in 2017. The Giants look like just the team to change that.

Big Blue allowed the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Blake Bortles and Cowboys’ Dak Prescott to each gain more than 40 yards on the ground. That’s about what Watson is averaging this year, and he should be faster and better with his legs than the former two.

Watson also threw for at least three TDs in four of six starts a year ago. With dynamic receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller as targets, the Giants will have to pick their poison.

Sluggish starters

Failing to score a touchdown through the first quarter of games won’t get a team into the NFL playoffs. That’s bad news for the Giants, who needed 49 game minutes to score their first TD of the season, then didn’t find then end zone again until 1:27 remained in the loss at Dallas.

Kicker Aldrick Rosas is perfect on the season on five field goals and an extra point, but too many drives are stalling in the red zone. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula must dial up more ways for Manning to get the ball to Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, neither of which has scored this season.

Scott’s prediction

Texans 27, Giants 13