New York Giants: Week 1 takeaways

The Giants fell flat in the late kickoff on Sunday, losing 19-3 to the Dallas Cowboys

Offensive line woes continue

To say the Giants offense got off to a slow start would be rude to the word “slow”. Eli Manning and his offense mustered just two first downs in the entire first half. They couldn’t find any rhythm in the early going due to some terrible blocking up front.

They couldn’t move the ball productively on the ground, and Eli Manning simply had no time to make even a semi-decent read.

It was expected to be a weakness for the Giants after being so poor last year, but seven months away from our screens makes it easy to forget just how bad they were. Ereck Flowers, Bobby Hart, and the rest simply couldn’t control a Dallas front that was short on talent but big on effort, and forget about the second level. Sean Lee had a great game and ruined a lot of runs, but the Giants should have been able to at least slow him down during the game.

Defense is good, but…

For as much as the Giants defense were able to keep Dallas out of the endzone, they did give up a lot of yards, 392 to be exact. Some of that had to do with getting very little rest in the first half thanks to the offense, but there was a definite presence missing in the middle of the Giants defense.

Last year Johnathan Hankins teamed up with Damon Harrison to occupy space and deny Dallas the kind of interior movement they were so good at creating. With Hankins now in Indianapolis there was more space than previously, and as improved as the Giants linebackers were, they couldn’t quite punish Ezekiel Elliott in the same way as they did in 2016, and with the ground game moving more fluidly, Dak Prescott could find more windows in the secondary.

In 2016 the Giants defense were an unmoving anvil against which the Cowboys crashed with little success, this year they bent and swayed more readily. While they kept the Cowboys from pumping up the scoreboard they could do little about the time of possession, that only a labored ten-minute drive in the third quarter kept even remotely respectable.

O-Dell where art thou?

Despite the offensive line issues in 2016, Odell Beckham Jr. found a way of making big plays, scoring points, and making this Giants offense tick. Tonight he couldn’t go due to an ankle injury suffered in the preseason, and without New York were extremely pedestrian.

Brandon Marshall was meant to come in and add some extra threat, but he didn’t catch a pass until the final play of the game. Evan Engram was meant to be a matchup nightmare. He caught a 31-yarder but added three more for just 13 yards.

The offense was a myriad of checkdowns and short passes with little chance of breaking big plays. Not many teams can maintain a deadly passing attack without their best receiver, but without Beckham the Giants passing game looked among the worst in the NFL. It was a toothless offense that was also among the most boring you will see in the NFL today. The only hope for Giants fans is that the team were holding something back, but until Odell Beckham gets on the field, this team may continue to be one of the most unwatchable offenses in the league.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.


I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.