Following a heavy defeat in Week 1, optimistic expectations for the Giants have disappeared entering Week 2. In their 40-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, nothing went right for the team. Was 2022 a fluke? Can quarterback Daniel Jones prove why he deserved his $40 million contract? Those questions need answers soon. A victory this week on the road against the Arizona Cardinals would be a nice start. To do that, they need to execute as a team.
3 Keys for a Giants Victory in Week 2
1. Run the Ball with Saquon Barkley
A week ago, the Giants failed to get a serious run game going against the Cowboys, beyond the opening drive. The team ran for five or more yards seven times on the opening drive, which put them in a prime position to score points. Unfortunately, a bad snap destroyed the drive and the Giants were forced to kick a field goal, which was blocked and returned for a touchdown. It halted any momentum the Giants had built up.
However, when the Giants got a run game going, they were able to gain yards. Saquon Barkley is one of the best running backs in the NFL. Barkley’s status during the off-season was unclear as there was some tension regarding his contract. That was put to bed with a new contract signed for the upcoming season.
Now that Barkley is a full-time member of the team, the Giants must use him to the best of their abilities. This means getting him the ball in space and deploying creative run concepts.
The Cardinals do not have an exceptional rush defense. They gave up 4.5 yards per carry in 2022, which was tied for 10th highest in the NFL. If the Giants can get a run game going, they can take chances in the passing game and their offense will look a lot like what they initially dreamt of before last week.
2. Stretch the Field Vertically
One of the Giants’ main storylines heading into 2023 was how they got faster in all areas, especially on offense. The additions of Darren Waller, Jalin Hyatt, and Parris Campbell were seen as difference-makers to a team that was lacking vertical threat. However, after last week’s game against the Cowboys, it looked like nothing had changed. Daniel Jones only passed for 104 yards and Waller only caught three passes for 36 yards.
An underwhelming performance a week ago cannot be replicated against the Cardinals, especially considering the success Arizona had rushing the passer against the Commanders in Week 1. Arizona got six sacks and new Head Coach Jonathan Gannon seemed to put his imprints on the team already.
The Giants were abysmal at protecting Jones a week ago. If they can correct that this week, that will make things a lot easier for the Giants offense and any potential downfield plays.
3. Establish a Strong Pass Rush
In the last couple of years, the Giants have invested heavily in the defensive line. They signed defensive tackles Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence to large contracts. They also drafted Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux.
Therefore, they should not be struggling to get a single sack in any games. Against the Cowboys, that was unfortunately the case. They failed to create any notable pressure on quarterback Dak Prescott and that resulted in good night for the Cowboys offense.
The Cowboys’ offensive line is considered elite so now is not the time to panic. Nonetheless, they now go against the Cardinals, who gave up 46 sacks a year ago. That was tied for the 9th most in the league.
To correct that problem, the Cardinals drafted Paris Johnson Jr. with the 6th pick in the 2023 draft. He is starting for the team as their right tackle, which creates a vulnerable spot for the Giants to attack. If the defense can create pressure early, then that can open things up for the defense as a whole for the rest of the game.
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