The 1-3 New York Giants are, in the words of center John Greco, “not where we want to be” after one quarter of the 2018 NFL season.
Can they right the ship?
The road to redemption, if you will, won’t be an easy one. It begins on Sunday with a Week 5 trip to Charlotte, N.C. to face the 2-1 Carolina Panthers, who are coming off an early-season bye week and favored by a touchdown.
Coach Pat Shurmur said after last week’s loss to the New Orleans Saints all the Giants can do now is “just keep playing.”
“I think we on all three sides of the ball have things that we need to get better at, and that’s what the focus is,” Shurmur said. “We’ve just got to play our way back into it. That’s the reality of it, and that’s the world that we live in as coaches and players, and we all have things we need to do better.”
The Giants, expected to feature a potent offense fueled by explosive plays from Odell Beckham Jr., the game’s highest-paid wide receiver, and running back Saquon Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, are 29th in the league in scoring 18.25 points per game.
The heat is being turned up on long-time quarterback Eli Manning, and “McAdoo 2.0” is already being tossed around in reference to the offense put together by Shurmur.
In other words, it’s getting late early for the 2018 Giants.
The Giants might have linebacker Olivier Vernon (high ankle sprain) available for the first time this season when they face Carolina. We will find out more about his status, as well as that of cornerback Eli Apple (groin) and wide receiver/kickoff returner Cody Latimer (knee) as the week progresses. Both Apple and Latimer missed Sunday’s game vs. the Saints.
The Panthers could be getting reinforcements of their own this week.
On offense, wide receiver Curtis Samuel is expected to return after a minor procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat. Samuel was a second-round pick a year ago. On defense, newly-signed safety Eric Reid is expected to start Sunday against the Giants.
By the numbers
0 — That’s the number of touchdown receptions for Odell Beckham Jr. so far this season.
6.2 — That’s the Air Yards per passing attempt being averaged by Eli Manning so far this season. The only quarterbacks below that number are Blake Bortles, Derek Carr, C.J. Beathard, Blaine Gabbert and Sam Bradford.
74.2 — Manning’s completion percentage, far above his career-best of 63.1 percent and his career average of 60.1 percent.
127.2 — Manning’s third-down passer rating. He is completing 80.5 percent of his passes on third down and has 33 completions. All of those numbers lead the league.
100 — Saquon Barkley has hit the 100-yard mark in scrimmage yards in each of his first four NFL games. If he does so again vs. Carolina he will join Kareem Hunt (7) and Adrian Peterson (5) as the only players to hit that mark in their first five NFL games.
27 — That’s the number of receptions Barkley has thus far, leading all NFL rookies. It’s also the number of rushing yards Carolina quarterback Cam Newton needs to surpass Randall Cunningham (4,482) for most rushing yards all-time by a quarterback with a single team.
245 — Beckham (4,755) needs 245 yards to reach 5,000 receiving yards in his career.
166.0 — The Panthers enter the game leading the league in rushing yards per game at 166.0. The Giants are 29th in the league in rushing yards allowed (126.0 per game) and 26th in rushing yards allowed per attempt (4.8).
142.7 — That’s how many yards per game Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is averaging. That’s second in the NFL.