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Giants-Ravens ‘things I think:’ Overmatched Giants show they have a long way to go

Giants just aren’t good enough to consistently hang with the league’s better teams

New York Giants v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The New York Giants just aren’t good enough. That’s the biggest ‘thing I think’ after watching the Giants be completely outclassed by a much better team for the third Sunday in a row.

Just like a week ago when they lost to the Cleveland Browns, 20-6, and two weeks ago when they were pummeled by the Arizona Cardinals, 26-7, the Giants had no answers on Sunday for the Baltimore Ravens. They couldn’t stop them nearly often enough on defense and couldn’t make plays against them on offense.

The result was a one-sided 27-13 defeat in a game that probably wasn’t that close.

All across the board the Giants just didn’t have the athletes to compete with the Ravens.

This game, really the last three weeks, laid bare all of the places where the Giants need to upgrade their roster. Pass rush and athleticism at the edge, plus a cornerback who can cover on defense. Play makers any maybe some reinforcements for the line on offense.

Progress?

Joe Judge has stuck to the ‘weekly progress’ mantra week after week, whether the Giants have won or lost. Even last week after the loss to Cleveland Judge was adamant that progress is being made. That’s a hard sell right now.

The Giants have been outscored 73-26 the past three weeks. They have scored 6 first-half points.

Sunday, Baltimore had drives of 13, 10, 13 and 10 plays against a Giants’ defense that couldn’t hold up at the point of attack, missed too many tackles and couldn’t make plays against a pedestrian Baltimore passing offense.

Offensively, the Giants committed back-to-back false start penalties on their opening drive and things only got marginally better.

The Giants went 1 of 10 (10 percent) on third down and 1 of 3 (33 percent) on fourth down. Baltimore was 8 of 11 on third down (73 percent).

The Giants have been outscored 73-26 by times with winning records the past three weeks. Judge was “testy” when I asked him how he could argue progress was being made under those circumstances.

“I don’t have to make an argument,” he said. “I can turn the tape on every week. I can watch with our players. I can see what we improve on every week, I can see what we’re deficient in, what we have to improve on that week and put the focus on the next opponent coming up.

“I’m not trying to make an argument for anything. The tape really tells the truth.”

There is a foundation for the future

Fans don’t want to hear it with a fourth straight double-digit loss season now a fact. But, I do think Judge is right when he insists that the foundation has been laid for a brighter future.

“In terms of where this team is headed, in terms of what we’ve been able to accomplish, in terms of the foundation and culture .... I feel we’re on the right track, moving in the right direction.”

I do believe Judge is the right head coach. I do believe many of the players in place are the right ones. I just believe the Giants need more impact players on both sides of the ball. Everything is a grind. Everything has to be perfect. There is no margin for error because the Giants just don’t make enough game-changing plays.

Daniel Jones did what he could

I think you shouldn’t blame Daniel Jones for this loss. Jones went 24 of 41 for 252 yards. He was sacked six times. He was hit 11 other times. He watched receivers fail to make plays. He watched the Ravens take advantage of young offensive linemen Matt Peart and Shane Lemieux. He watched veteran offensive linemen commit two false start penalties on the Giants’ first possession. He watched the Giants’ defense really fail to get off the field until the game was basically out of reach.

Speaking of that offensive line

Watching Matt Peart and Shane Lemieux in recent weeks I have begun to wonder if the Giants won’t need to commit some resources to the offensive line this offseason.

When Lemieux loses a pass-blocking rep, he really loses it. Which means a direct path up the middle to the quarterback. Peart showed in recent weeks, including Sunday when he gave up sacks on back-to-back plays, that maybe those who said he needed a redshirt year were correct.

Both of those guys could be long-term answers on the line. It’s just that with each passing week I think I’m less certain of that.

What pass rush?

The Giants did not get a sack and had only three hits on Lamar Jackson in 26 pass attempts. Jackson had all day to survey the field and wait for holes to develop in the zone defense the Giants were playing.

We’ve said it multiple times, but the Giants simply have to upgrade their pass rush during the upcoming offseason.

The Giants need playmakers

The Giants’ longest play Sunday was 20 yards. They haven’t scored 20 points in any of their last six games, and are averaging 12.0 points per game in that stretch. Yes, Jones was hurt for some of that time but that hasn’t been the only issue.

For the past couple of weeks, Giants players and coaches keep getting asked how they can generate more points. Reality is, they need better players on that side of the ball.

They need Jones to continue to improve. They need growth from their young offensive line, maybe even one more quality player to join that group. They need Saquon Barkley to return and be Saquon Barkley. They need at least one real difference-making wide receiver.