The New York Giants haven’t played their best football through the first three weeks of the season. They didn’t even score a single point through the first three halves of the season. They were outscored 60-0 in that time period and all hope was dwindling before our very eyes. Then coming out of the second half against the Cardinals, they went into a different mode as they came back and won the game 31-28. Things were looking up for the Giants until Week 3 when they got handled by the 49ers. They stayed in the game until the fourth quarter when the 49ers’ talent proved to be too much.
Even though they’ve had to play against two of the best teams in the league during the first three weeks of the season, the Giants haven’t looked like the team that made the postseason a year ago. They started out 6-1 in 2022 and rode that to a Wild Card berth. Now, they sit at 1-2 and history isn’t on the Giants side when it comes to making the playoffs. Since 1990, teams that started 1-2 have made the playoffs 25.3% of the time. That means the Giants must beat the odds to make their second straight playoff appearance. While the task might be tough, the Giants have the tools to make it happen. Head Coach Brian Daboll will be smoking cigars again after games if these things go right.
If the Giants Want To Return to the Playoffs, Here’s How They Do It
Protect Daniel Jones
The Giants have had one of the most shacky offensive lines throughout the last decade. Going back to failed projects like Ereck Flowers, Nate Solder, and Will Hernandez, the team has not quite figured out how to protect the quarterback. Even this season, things haven’t gone smoothly. The line has struggled and losing star left tackle Andrew Thomas after Week One didn’t help the cause. The Giants have allowed 12 sacks this season, which is tied for the fourth most sacks allowed in the league.
The Giants need to either get help outside of the building or get better quickly if they want to go anywhere this season. They specifically need right tackle Evan Neal to reach his vast potential. Neal has struggled since he was selected with the seventh pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He hasn’t found his footing yet on the right side of the line and defenders are starting to feast on him.
Daniel Jones is a very mobile quarterback and finds ways to stretch a broken player. However, the team cannot expect him to work in a messy pocket throughout the game and make plays consistently. They need to give him some time inside the pocket. The lone bright spot on the line has been rookie center John Michael-Schmitz, who has flashed some serious upside. If the rest of the line can hold up, things could finally start to look good for the offense.
Get Better Play Out of Defensive Stars
In the last couple of years, the Giants have invested a lot of money into their defense. They gave big-money contracts to defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. They drafted edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the 5th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and cornerback Deonte Banks with the 25th pick in the 2023 draft. Also during this past offseason, they signed linebacker Bobby Okereke to a deal. They’ve put the resources in to make this defense great and through the first three weeks of the season, they’ve given up 30 points per game. That isn’t good enough if you want to compete in the NFL.
There have been some bright spots on the defense. Banks has flashed his potential on the outside and Micah McFadden had an amazing game last week against the 49ers. If the other highly-touted stars can live up to their talent, this defense has a lot of potential. It has the playmakers to make it great, but they need to produce in order for them to do that. A nice performance this Monday against the Seahawks would go a long way.
Get Some Upsets in the Next Month
The Giants’ schedule for the first half of the season is one of the toughest in the entire league. They had to open against the Cowboys, play the 49ers on the road in week three, and now they have to play the Seahawks, Dolphins, and Bills three straight weeks. That certainly is a tough stretch of game for a team that has already started the season 1-2. For the Giants to get back on track, they need to win one, if not two, of their next three games.
The Seahawks is likely the most winnable game of those three, especially when you consider the Giants will be at home for that game. The Seahawks also made the playoffs a year ago, but have started their season 2-1 defeating the Panthers and Lions. The Giants need to rely on their cornerbacks this week as they will be going up against the wide receiver trio of DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxon-Smith Njigba. If the Giants can limit their explosiveness, they have a shot to win this game. The following two games will be on the road against some of the best teams in the NFL, the Dolphins and the Bills. If the Giants can get a bit lucky and win one of those two games, their season will be certainly back on track.
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