Before the season began, I was thinking that the Giants would win the NFC East. It seemed pretty reasonable to me—they had a good offense, even if it had slowed down later on in the season. And their defense had improved drastically that year. Meanwhile, the Cowboys would probably be going back to their 8-8 ways and the Eagles and Redskins, while good, would still be a bit too upstart to win the division title.
Fast forward a couple weeks and suddenly the Giants are a disaster right now. Their offense has been terrible, and while the defense has been doing more or less fine, it hasn’t been enough and they’ve still lost by scores of 19-3 and 24-10. So what’s the problem?
The blame game is already being played and many fans seem determined to blame it on Eli Manning for some reason. While he hasn’t been playing well, there’s a lot more going on there and people should know that.
Let’s start with the offensive line. There seem to be a lot of poor offensive lines this year, but theirs might be in the running for the worst. They can’t run the ball at all. They’ve only gotten 97 rushing yards through two games—that’s the worst in the league. Eli Manning doesn’t really have enough time to throw the ball deep because he’s constantly getting pressured.
And there’s another problem: the receiving core. Odell Beckham has been hurt. He missed the first game and he wasn’t quite 100% in the second game. Brandon Marshall was supposed to be the big #2 receiver for them, but he hasn’t done anything so far—he dropped a few easy passes against the Lions. Sterling Shepard hasn’t been able to carry the load. Evan Engram’s stepped up a little, but it’s clearly not enough.
So, to recap: they can’t run the ball because their offensive line is garbage. Odell Beckham isn’t 100% and their big free agent acquisition in Brandon Marshall is struggling early on. Eli isn’t getting enough time to throw the ball very far. Add all those things together, and you’re likely to have a struggling offense for sure.
At the very least, Eli Manning should not be blamed solely for the Giants’ struggles thus far. I’d argue he should hardly be blamed at all—there doesn’t seem to be much you can do with that offense at this point, thanks mostly to the horrid o-line. Things might get better once Beckham is 100% again, but until then, the Giants may just keep losing unless Brandon Marshall gets his act together.