The game started out promisingly for New York, with the defense getting a stop on the Saint’s offense and the offense driving 75 yards for a touchdown. After that, however, things spiraled out of control for the Giants.
We thought the team might have been on the verge of breaking out after their victory of the Houston Texans, but what have we learned about the team after their 33-18 loss to the Saints?
The Giants need to come to play on offense
The Giants’ offense has shown a distressing tendency to go in to a shell on offense. Too often we saw the Giants resort to short passes that traveled just a couple yards in the air against a Saints defense which had been the league’s worst to start the season. The plan seemed to be to try and control the clock and keep the Saints’ potent offense off the field and avoid a shootout. However, the Giants simply sputter when they go into their shell. It is too easy for defenses to contain the Giants’ playmakers and keep the game in front of them. It was the same problem we saw from the team against the Dallas Cowboys.
The team needs to play with a wide-open throttle and try to win the game on offense, because if they play it safe, the offense just spins its wheels.
The Giants can’t beat themselves
Giving up a first down on a fake punt. Fumbling the ball and nearly giving up a touchdown on the return. Penalties to kill their own drives and extend the Saints’. Mental mistakes leading to blown coverages or big plays.
The Giants have the talent to compete, but not nearly so much that they can beat the opposing team and themselves at the same time. Unfortunately, the Giants have shown a tendency to do as much to beat themselves as the opposing team. The team made a point of bringing in veterans to help mentor and be steadying influences on the younger players, but there have simply been too many mental mistakes.
The coaches have their work cut out for them shoring that up, but it might be too late to do much good in 2018.
The defense has potential
Despite still being down two of their best players, the Giants’ defense played hard and contained the Saints’ offense for much of the game. They didn’t have any support from the offense after the first drive, but still played hard throughout the game. Ultimately, they couldn’t get off the field when they needed to, instead shattering to give up a third touchdown to Alvin Kamara. They played too well to be in that position to begin with.
Eventually Olivier Vernon and Eli Apple will return, and the infusion of talent at the edge and in the secondary is much needed.
The Giants’ defense has the potential to be one of the better ones in the league, but they will need to improve their depth and find some more speed.
The offensive line is still a problem
There were plays where the Giants’ offensive line gave the Eli Manning time to find his receivers. But all too often there were Saints’ defenders precariously close to Eli Manning, hitting him or affecting his passes.
Pressure came from across the offensive front, left, right, and up the middle, but as we have seen time and again from Manning, it was the pressure up the middle which had the greatest effect. Manning is far from mobile, but he has the ability to navigate the pocket and get away from pressure off the edge. He has little ability to deal with pressure through the A or B gaps. The team needs to open the throttle for the offense to function correctly and Manning to play his best, but they just can’t block for it to do so on a regular basis.