Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
Well, like the Prophet Cassandra who prophesized doom in ancient times, the Prophet said that the Giants were in trouble with no run game and an incompetent offensive line. You saw it displayed in spades last Sunday night in Dallas. Dallas ran 47 plays in the first half, and the game was virtually over by half time. The defense got worn down. The Giants lost the time of possession battle 25:46 to 34:14 for Dallas. That was the Dallas formula the year DeMarco Murray ran for 1800 yards and the Dallas D was only on the field 25 minutes a game. The Giants ran for a pitiful 35 yards. This is nothing new during Jerry Reese’s reign. The Giants have been at the bottom of the rushing metrics since 2011.
The offensive line was embarrassing. Bobby Hart was spun like a turnstile on every play. Jerry was bad, and the other three members of the OL did little to distinguish themselves. This led to Giants three and outs. Eli had little time. The only thing that kept the game close was the Giants D that held Dallas to four field goals. It could have been worse. Hart may be questionable tonight, and if so, I would shake the lineup and add Fluker, regardless if he can play.
I was critical of the linebackers going into the season as an average group. I admit I was wrong about Goodson. He’s had 14 solo tackles. This could be an anomaly as Dallas had the ball on so many plays, and they ran Elliott up the middle. Goodson had plenty of opportunities. However, he did come through, and hopefully he can continue with this success.
The rest of the game went as predicted. The middle of the field is always open with the Giants D. Witten would kill us again as he had seven catches and the only Dallas touchdown. With Beckham out, this offense could not get a first down. Dallas did not have to double him if he were in. Marshall was in the Witness Protection Program and they ran an Amber Alert during the game because he was missing. He had only four targets and caught his only pass on the last play of the game. Eli padded his stats during garbage time at the end of the game as he became Captain Checkdown, tossing nine short passes to Vereen. Shepard did manage to get open at times from the slot for seven passes.
It’s hard to call this game versus Detroit a must-win so early in the season, but it is. They play the Eagles on the road next week, and their wide-nine defense should stifle the anemic run game. They will have a minimal chance of making the playoffs if they lose three in a row.
On paper, the Giants should match up well. The Lions can’t run the ball, either. The Giants’ pass rush and good DBs should give Stafford trouble. Historically, the Lions have not played well on the road for a long time now. Stafford has been prone to turnovers, so that is the plan for the Giants: make the Lions one-dimensional early by getting the lead.
However, Stafford did throw for four TDs last week in one of his famous 4th-quarter comebacks. They moved Tate around so he did not see Peterson. Golladay was on the nickelback and scored two touchdowns. I would think Spags would be up to the task. He will have Jenkins on Jones, DRC on Tate and Apple will be on Golladay, which may be the weak link. With the middle being open, I think Detroit will have a twist. Ebron, the Lion’s TE, has been struggling since he came into the league as a high first-round draft pick. Theo Riddick, one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league, will try and exploit the middle, not Ebron.
I am nervous about this game. Ziggy Ansah will be rushing against Ereck Flowers, one of the worst starting LTs in the game. The Lions could exert some strong pressure in this game and it could be a repeat of last week with three and outs. The Giants have been terrible on third down. They were 38% in 2016 and 33% last week. Jerry, that’s why I would have drafted or picked up a third-down back in the offseason, someone who can get one to two yards when needed. Darkwa is our best choice for that, although he’s hardly a Jerome Bettis type.
It looks like Beckham has a high ankle sprain, which is at least a six-week injury to come back from. It has been only four weeks. This offense needs him on the field. If he can move somewhat, I would play him just for a decoy. Unfortunately, he will see top corner Darius Slay. He has caught a pass in all 41 games he has played. If he can draw double coverage, it can open up the rest of the receivers. If he doesn’t, it could be a repeat of last week.
I want to be optimistic. The Giants D should be the best unit on the field. The Giants have not scored more than 20 points in their last seven games, including the Green Bay playoff game. So, I would call this game close again with the Giants winning 20-17.
If Beckham is out, this game could easily slide away and the score could be 27 Detroit to New York 13 or 16.