It just keeps getting uglier and uglier doesn’t it?
After playing fairly well for almost three quarters, the Giants unraveled once again, falling to Philadelphia 36-21 on Sunday with Eli Manning reverting to some bad, old habits.
The Giants are simply beaten down physically and emotionally and are a downtrodden mess. At 0-5, there are hardly any signs of breaking through and with so many injuries, the Giants may be staring down—for all intents and purposes—a hopeless season.
That said, you have to keep playing the games, and up next is a trip to the “windy city” for a matchup with the 3-2 Chicago Bears.
So, here are five things to watch for:
Can Eli Manning limit the mistakes and not try to do everything himself?
Even Tom Coughlin is getting worried about Manning, and Coughlin has said recently that Manning is simply forcing the issue. Manning is trying to win every game by himself and that simply can’t be the case. While we all know Manning to be the clutch QB who has brought this franchise two Super Bowl championships, he can’t do this alone. The Bears are a ball-hawking defense and Manning has to be smart and careful with the ball or else we’ll see the same results of the last five weeks. With all the mistakes he is making, expect Manning to take better care of the ball on Thursday night. At least that’s the hope. Whether that translates to a win, well, that remains to be seen.
More importantly, can the line come together and keep Manning upright?
In two words: not likely. And that’s the dilemma; Manning is usually running his for his life behind this shoddy offensive line and often unfortunately has to force the issue. While it would be better for Manning to make better decisions with the ball, he has to get solid protection first. If somehow the line plays better, you’ll more than likely get a better game out of Manning. Even if the line holds up, Manning can’t force the issue and give Chicago good field position off any turnovers.
Will the Giants get anything from their running game?
For the Giants to achieve any balance on offense, they are going to need a good effort from the banged-up running game. That’s easier said than done, though, and with the team missing David Wilson for the game (and perhaps more with a neck injury), the Giants will have to rely on Brandon Jacobs and Da’Rel Scott (recently resigned this week) for the rushing load on Thursday night. Granted, Jacobs and Scott are not great options to work with they do have experience, especially Jacobs. With the way Manning has been struggling, the Giants have to get them involved so they can alleviate the pressure Manning is facing.
Will Jon Beason start?
All signs are pointing towards new Giants’ linebacker Jon Beason starting in the game against Chicago. While he may not be the same player he was a few years ago, Beason is probably still far and away the Giants best linebacker—at least based on talent. The Giants still saw something in Beason and if he can provide a spark—something this team clearly needs—then his signing could prove to be beneficial. It should be interesting to see what he’s got and if he can do anything in the game against the Bears.
Can the Giants force Jay Cutler into any mistakes?
Well, with a better offensive line to work with and better weapons surrounding him, Cutler is having himself a very productive season. Cutler has not been the same sack-prone quarterback that we’ve been accustomed to seeing over the last couple of years. Cutler has two tremendous weapons in the passing game in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, plus a third if your count ex-Giant Martellus Bennett. While he is passing the ball better, Cutler still does have six picks on the year to go with three fumbles lost. If the Giants can get pressure up front and take Cutler out his rhythm, the Giants may have a shot for some takeaways. Simply put, the quarterback who gets the most protection and makes the wiser decision with the ball will likely lead their team to a victory on Thursday night.