Oh and two doesn’t look great, but beginning the season with three straight losses is a fate the New York Giants must avoid at all costs.
The NFL schedule makers did Big Blue no favors by forcing them to start 2017 against two postseason holdovers in the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions before visiting unfriendly territory to face the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) on Sunday afternoon. That won’t be any excuse if the G-Men are still searching for their first win of the season when October rolls around.
If the Giants are to stop the bleeding in Philly, these three things must happen.
Block ... just block
Seriously, it’s that simple. Ereck Flowers ranks 59th out of 72 qualifying offensive tackles this season, according to Pro Football Focus’ overall rating system. He’s not the only Giant at fault, but his inability to stop Detroit’s Ziggy Ansah from tallying three sacks in Monday’s 24-10 loss was brutal.
Brandon Graham (2 1⁄2 sacks) and Fletcher Cox (two) are playing well along the Eagles defensive line thus far, so a peak performance from the Giants’ O-line is imperative to steal one on the road.
To a degree, this is contingent on the first point. Regardless, Eli Manning just hasn’t played like the Hall of Fame-caliber, late-game playmaker Giants fans have watched for more than a dozen years.
At 36, Manning doesn’t have many years left. Still, the Giants are counting on him to work a little magic now that he has Odell Beckham Jr. back on the field next to Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard. Without that, this low-output offense will only look uglier going forward.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is off to a fine start to his sophomore outing. However, the Kansas City Chiefs proved in beating Philly, 27-20, that the passer’s O-line is vulnerable as he absorbed six sacks and completed 54.3 percent of his passes.
But the Giants’ pass rush has yet to break out. Nobody has more than one sack this year, including D-linemen Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. That must change Sunday.