What has happened to the 2017 New York Football Giants? After being a dark horse pick for many to represent the NFC in Superbowl 52, the Giants have started 0-4 for the first time since 2013 (when they finished with a record of 7-9) and now have just a 1 percent chance of making the playoffs. Oh boy.
Is it the much maligned offensive line? The short answer is yes. Is it the lack of a true no.1 Running back? The answer is also yes. Is it Eli? The answer to that is mixed.
The 2017 New York Giants are in big trouble. Here’s why:
The Offense (Particularly the line)
The offensive line has been the Achilles heal of this Giants team for years. Despite the reshuffling and overall subpar performances of the 5 up front, the Giants remain middle of the pack in terms of yards per game average through 4 weeks in 2017 (324 yards). The line has concede 8 sacks this season and 18 QB hits in total, which of course means their veteran QB is getting hit, on average, 6.5 times per game. Giants fans may be surprised to know those numbers are only average in terms of league wide statistics. The connection between Manning and WR Odell Beckham may be the only thing saving those numbers from being worse than they are. When it comes to scoring, the Giants have averaged the equal second lowest points scored this season with a measly 15 (tied with Baltimore). Only Miami have averaged less points this season (8), and they have of course played one less game. The Giants have only broken the 20 point threshold twice since week 12 of the 2016 season. Big Blue have scored just 7 Touchdowns through 4 weeks of the 2017, with just one of those coming on the ground, which leads us to our next point:
The Giants admit to having the dreaded “running back by committee” method, which hasn’t served them well thus far in 2017. The group, containing Paul Perkins, Orleans Darkwa, veteran Shane Vereen and rookie Wayne Gallman combining for a poultry average of 59.2 yards per game (second worst in the league) with an average of just 3.2 yards per carry. They have had just 1 run of 20 yards or more this season from 75 attempts this season. Only Miami have rushed it fewer (62). The lack of time in possession is a true indicator of just how poor this Gisnts rushing attack is, having only averaged 27:25 time in possession so far in 2017, 4th lowest in the league.
Whst about that D?
To confound all this, the side of the ball the Giants poured so much money in to two offseasons ago is struggling to come to terms with just how much time they’re spending on the field. Big Blues D are allowing the 8th most yards so far this season at an average of 359 per game. They’ve allowed 23.8 points per game in 2017 and while there ground game struggles, their superior run defense of 2016 has disappeared, allowing opponents to run down there throats at an average of 142.8 yards per game so far through week 4. The bookends on the defensive line; Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul, have combined for just 3.5 sacks between them so far this season, while after making such a name for themselves in 2016 for aggressive defense in terms of pressure and takeaways, the Giants are yet to come up with an interception in 2017.
What does this mean for Big Blue in 2017?
Make no mistake, after coming into season 2017 as a trendy Superbowl pick for some, the Giants season is now on life support. New York are one of only 4 teams not to have won a game so far in 2017, and some of their issues this seasons were problems they had coming out of 2016 that weren’t addressed in the offseason.
The Giants regime have watched as teams such as Oakland, Tennessee and bitter rivals Dallas have emerged behind talented young offensive lines and, in the Cowboys case, young running backs. During the offseason, the Giants instead decided to bring in more weopons for veteran QB Eli Manning, all but neglecting the line and running game. It’s these decisions that now see an otherwise capable football team needing a miracle just to climb back into relevancy in 2017.
Either way, it’s going to be an enormous offseason in the big apple. Could we see both New York teams pick inside the top 5 cone draft night? At the moment it’s looking extremely likely.