Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
The main thing that I got right last week was that the game was going to be low scoring and go under. It was a very disappointing Giants appearance and now indicative of what the rest of the season is going to look like. The Giants had played well against Jacksonville and had some chances to win that game. Last week we saw the regression to the Jerry Reese drafting and the McAdoo play calling. The Giants couldn’t run the ball. They ran for 35 yards. The offensive line collapsed as bad as it did at any time last year. The right side was already horrific. There was a big blow when Halapio hurt his ankle during the game and now is out for the year. Gettleman stupidly traded away Brett Jones to Minnesota to save some cap money, $3.9M vs. $555,000 for Halapio. I have been screaming for years that the Gmen never have any OL depth. Even though it is early they are essentially done for the year.
Barkley had a good game but it is 50% that they want to prove that Barkley was the right choice vs Darnold and 50% Eli was running for his life. Eli became Captain Checkdown to Barkley, who did a great job making the first defender, miss and caught 14 balls. Eli was sacked a disturbing 6 times. We saw Shurmur regress to the McAdoo predictable offense of running on first down and also second down. With the OL woes the Giants were in 3rd and long all night. The offense went through Barkley and Engram. Because of the pressure, the Giants never used their other options. OBJ had a poor game by his standards with 4 catches for 51 and Sheppard was invisible.
Shurmur was outcoached all game and he was set up in the first 90 seconds of the game on the third play. The Cowboys knew that the Giants would stack 8 in the box to stop Elliott. They do not have a real #1 X receiver (with the menagerie of #2 through #5 receivers on the Cowboys). So on first down they take a deep shot to Austin, an undistinguished gadget player, first round bust. Jenkins falls down, the safety help is late and the result is a 68 yard TD, that set the tone for the game and the Giants never came back. As far as the defense, Giant great, Harry Carson, described the defense as the dog chasing the hub cap, while the car then whizzes by. They generated zero pressure on the Cowboys.
This week’s matchup is a meeting of 2 0-2 teams that neither team has played any of their first 8 quarters with a lead. When Houston has the ball, they will try to take advantage of the injuries on the Giants defense. They are the #1 rushing team in the league at 157 yards/game. I don’t think they will rush for that with Harrison in the middle. Watson with be throwing to Hopkins and Fuller. Fuller’s TD ratio is ridiculous as he is very efficient with 8 TD’s in his last 5 games with Watson. The Texans can use the run to set up the deep shots. Vernon is out so the Giants pass rush has been nonexistent. That could be key because the Texans OL is slightly better than the poor group the Gmen put on the field. Eli Apple is out so that’s a problem.
The other vulnerability for the Giants has been being able to stop a mobile quarterback when they decide to run. Bortles ran for 42 yards in week 1 and Dak ran for 45 in week 2. These 2 QB’s are not known for their rushing so Watson presents a much bigger problem in this area. Kareem Martin is not setting the edge on his side.
When the Giants have the ball Eli may be running away from Clowney, Mercilus , and Watt. They are going to attack the right side of the OL. Shurmur may want to run some 12 personnel for blocking. They will have to use all their weapons. OBJ needs to get his 100 yards. Barkley will need to get more than 28 yard rushing this week. The check downs to him are a symptom of having no time to throw. They have to establish the running game and stay out of third and long. Colvin does a good job covering the slot so Sheppard may not be much of a factor.
I am afraid on the road the slide continues. If you have 12% chance to make the playoffs starting 0-2 then in reality, you are out with a loss this week. It’s hard to believe that with all of the positive moves that Gettleman made, it still came down to the OL. Dave fell into the Jerry Reese trap of not having OL depth, and the team is unraveling in front of his eyes. Time is running out on Eli as it looks like another year could pass him by. There is still time to fix some problems but not this week. The Texans get their first win at home 24 to 16 over the Giants.