Coming into the game against the Lions, there was a lot of excitement surrounding the Giants as they were 7-2 and prime to make a run toward their first playoff berth since 2016. Quarterback Daniel Jones hadn’t thrown an interception since early October, and Running Back Saquon Barkley led the entire league in rushing yards. The defense was staying strong, and Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale was constantly bringing pressure onto the opposing QB. After Sunday, that all took a turn.
The Giants got blown out by the Lions 31-18 in a loss that can only be described as putrid. Jones threw two interceptions, which put the team in a bad way. Barkley was held to 22 rushing yards on 15 carries. Martindale’s defense only got three total pressures on the Lions during the whole game, which is very uncharacteristic. It’s a really bad loss, and the Giants need to regroup fast before their Thanksgiving showdown with the Cowboys. Before that, here are three takeaways from the Giants after Sunday’s loss.
1. The Giants Have To Find A Way To Generate Offense Without Relying So Much On Saquon Barkley
Saquon Barkley is one of the best running backs in the entire NFL. He led the league in rushing and scrimmage yards heading into Week 11. He was doing it all for this Giants offense, and it was working to a degree. Sunday’s loss to the Lions exposed a big problem for the team. When the opposing defense finds a way to limit Barkley, the Giants have little to nothing to throw back at them. Head Coach Brian Daboll admitted postgame that the run game is a big part of their offense, but the three offensive turnovers were the difference.
“They bottled up the run game pretty good; that’s obviously a big part of what we do… I think we had 17 points off turnovers. When you have three turnovers, and the other team has 0, I think you’re going to lose every game,” said Brian Daboll postgame.
If the Giants stay this one-dimensional with the lack of depth at wide receiver, defenses will easily key in on the running game as their main area to watch out for. To compete with the best teams, you must be multi-faceted on offense in the NFL. For the Giants to be able to do that, they need more from other areas on offense. If they don’t, they won’t go very far.
2. The Giants Really Need Odell Beckham On This Team
The Giants have maybe had the worst injury luck to their wide receiver room in the entire NFL. It started out with Sterling Shepard tearing his ACL in Week Three against the Cowboys. Then Kadarius Toney couldn’t stay healthy enough to ever get on the field consistently, which was a big reason for him being traded to the Chiefs a couple of weeks ago. You also have Kenny Golladay, who also struggled to get on the field due to injury, and he’s just now seeing playing time, although at a limited capacity.
The latest bad news came on Sunday when Rookie Wan’dale Robinson suffered a knee injury that took him out of the game. It was confirmed Monday morning by Daboll that Robinson tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. It’s a gut-wrenching loss for a player who was being used a lot in this offense and got his first 100-yard game on Sunday in the loss against the Lions.
Now, the Giants play the Cowboys with their starting receivers being Darius Slayton, Isaiah Hodgins, Richie James, and Kenny Golladay, most likely at a limited capacity. Not exactly the lineup you want to be rolling out against a team that just beat the Vikings 40-3 on the road this past Sunday. There are rumors that free agent Odell Beckam Jr. is visiting the Cowboys and Giants after their Thanksgiving clash. If that’s the case, the Giants must do everything they can not to let Beckham leave their facility. They need a game-breaking receiver in the worst way possible, and OBJ returning home would provide just that.
3. Kayvon Thibodeaux Needs To Make More Game-Changing Plays
When the Giants selected Oregon EDGE Rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux with the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, fans thought that this would be the answer to the teams’ dismal pass-rush problems that have plagued them throughout their losing ways. Thibodeaux only has one sack through ten games but has been getting a lot of pressure. The problem is that he isn’t turning his pressures into sacks.
The greats around the NFL find ways to get to the QB and take them down. He is just a rookie, but we saw Giants EDGE Rusher Azeez Ojulari get almost ten sacks in his rookie year a season ago. Now, with Ojulari most likely coming back in the next week or two, Thibodeaux should start to see less attention put his way. He has to capitalize on it and make more plays that sway the entire game, similar to his strip-sack on QB Lamar Jackson that sealed a win for Big Blue earlier this year.