It has not been quite the start to the 2012 NFL season the defending Super Bowl champions may have hoped for, but the New York Giants are still just one game back in the NFC East through the first quarter of the season. With a 2-2 record, it has been an up and down start for Eli Manning and the Giants as they look to successfully defend their championship.
If that is to happen, a few things will need to change for New York.
Manning is not necessarily the problem, but the Giants are once again showing just how injury prone they seem to be on both sides of the ball. Between defensive backs who simply cannot stay healthy and running backs and wide receivers who are in and out of the lineup, the Giants never seem to have their full arsenal of weapons on offense or defense. This season has been no different through the first four games.
The Giants are 2-2, so things could be worse. In fact, aside from a blowout victory over the Carolina Panthers, the Giants have played in three close games, and could have actually been staring at a 1-3 record if it were not for a late comeback against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 2. Then again, the schedule makers did not make things easy on the champs.
New York had to play the first regular season game of 2012 on a Wednesday night. They then received a long rest before playing on Sunday, only to then have to go on the road on short rest that Thursday. It has not been an enviable start for any team, so perhaps the Giants should be happy with a 2-2 mark, especially considering the plethora of injuries suffered already.
Hakeem Nicks has missed a couple of games. Ahmad Bradshaw miss a game. The defensive secondary has missed more games than we can count. With that being said, the numbers thus far are not all the discouraging.
They are nothing to brag about, however, as they offer a bag of mixed results.
Eli Manning: 103 completions of 160 attempts for 1,320 yards // 7 TD and 4 INT
Andre Brown: 38 carries for 198 yards // 3 TD
Ahmad Bradshaw: 35 carries for 133 yards // 1 TD
Victor Cruz: 32 catches for 388 yards // 2 TD
Hakeem Nicks: 14 catches for 237 yards // 1 TD
Ramses Barden: 12 catches for 198 yards // 0 TD
Martellus Bennett: 16 catches for 187 yards // 3 TD
Domenik Hixon: 10 catches for 181 yards // 0 TD
The numbers are impressive in the passing game, although they are a bit misleading. Many of the stat explosions came against the Buccaneers for Nicks and Cruz, and Barden had his one huge game filling in for Nicks against the Panthers. Bennett had three solid games to start the season, but caught just one ball for 2 yards this week, so it remains to be seen how much of a factor he will play in the Giants’ passing games, which ranks second in the NFL in passing yards.
The ground game needs to improve, as they Giants are only the 23 rd most successful team in rushing yards. They will continue to need big numbers from the offense, as the defense has been poor as injuries have taken their toll. New York is 19th in passing yards allowed and 21st in opposing rushing yards, which does come as a bit of a surprise. The sacks have not been there as much as people would have expected at this point.The Giants have gotten some bug plays from Michael Boley, Chase Blackburn and others, but they need to step it up on a more consistent level across the field.
The Giants do not have their bye week until week 11, so they must work on improving on the run. With a challenging schedule on tap, the Giants will need to play better on both sides of the ball if they are to get back to the playoffs. Getting healthy will also help their chances greatly.
Through the first quarter of the 2012 NFL season, the New York Giants receive a B- through their first four games with a 2-2 record in the NFC East.