What did we learn from the New York Giants' 27-0 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night? Nothing good about the Giants, that's for sure. Let's look at five things we learned from the debacle at the Linc.
Not Ready for Prime Time
The Giants came in to Sunday night's game against the Eagles brimming with confidence. They had averaged 25 points per game the past three weeks and given up only 17. Defensively, they had stuffed the run, put decent pressure on opposing quarterbacks and covered well. Offensively, they had protected well, run the ball well enough, limited turnovers and penalties and played efficiently.
Sunday night the Giants didn't do anything well. Rather than proving that they were ready to be a legitimate NFC East contender, they looked like the team that got blown out Week 1 by the Detroit Lions.
They couldn't block. They couldn't stop the run. They couldn't cover receivers. They struggled to cover punts and to block for punter Steve Weatherford. They committed far too many penalties.
The biggest thing we learned was that the Giants are probably not as good as we thought they were after the promise they showed the past three weeks.
Playoffs? What Playoffs?
The Giants' eventual playoff hopes took a huge hit Sunday night. The loss to the defending division champion Eagles was only part of it. The fact that the Cowboys went into Seattle and defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks for their fifth straight victory made it obvious this version of the Cowboys is a legitimate team.
Heading into Sunday the thought was that the Giants were rising, the Eagles were vulnerable and the Cowboys still had a lot to prove.
Now? The Cowboys look like they are for real. The Eagles played their first complete game of the season and look like they are back to being the high-flying Eagles of last year. The Giants? Hard to tell if Sunday was just an aberration, or if the Giants were exposed as a team that isn't quite good enough yet.
What we know for sure is that the Giants are two games behind two teams. They go to Dallas Sunday in a game that they absolutely have to win. Right now, it is impossible to figure out how they can do that.
Offensive Line Exposed
The Giants' offensive line got better and better through the first five weeks of the season. Manning was sacked only three times the past three weeks, and was incredibly comfortable in the pocket while compiling passer ratings above 100 in those three games.
Sunday night the Giants could not block anybody. The Giants gave up eight sacks, Manning was hit or harassed a number of other times and ended up jittery in a fast-collapsing pocket. Right tackle Justin Pugh had an atrocious night, appearing to be directly responsible for four sacks. The middle of the Giants line was also victimized, unable to handle the stunting and blitzing of the Eagles.
The Giants have to hope this was simply a bad night for a group that had been performing well during the recent winning streak.
LeSean McCoy is Still Good
McCoy came into the game with an average of 2.9 yards per carry this season. The Giants knew that wasn't the real McCoy. They saw the real McCoy Sunday night. McCoy ran wild on the Giants, carrying 22 times for 149 yards.
What Now at Wide Reciever?
Jerrel Jernigan was always Plan B in the slot in the event of injury to Victor Cruz. Jernigan, unfortunately, is already on injured reserve. With Cruz almost certainly out for the season with a torn patellar tendon what do the Giants do now at wide receiver?
Preston Parker has worked more extensively than any other receiver the Giants have in the slot. The Giants just got Odell Beckham Jr. back, and they could consider moving him into the slot. He's had little practice, though, and the Giants drafted him to be an outside threat. Corey Washington is an outside receiver, not a slot guy. Julian Talley, just released and re-signed to the practice squad, could be back on the 53-man roster this week.
No matter what they choose to do, replacing what Cruz brings to their offense will be nearly impossible.