Giants: 3 necessary changes to bounce back in Week 2

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) had a very difficult time against the Dallas Cowboys
Kevin R. Wexler / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants are staring down a must-win matchup entering just the second week of the 2023 season. After an embarrassing Week 1 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants need to beat the lowly Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 before undergoing a gauntlet of fierce competition for the following weeks. But if Big Blue wants to get their season back on track with a victory over Arizona, they need to make three necessary changes.

The offensive line needs to not stink

Whether the Giants bench RT Evan Neal, bench RG Mark Glowinski, or significantly change their playbook to accommodate for their lack of talent on the offensive line, a significant change needs to be made.

According to Connor Hughes of SNY, Dallas had seven sacks (two negated via penalty), 12 QB hits & pressured QB Daniel Jones on 62.9% of his dropbacks in Week 1. Five different Cowboys had sacks in the contest.

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The amount of pressure surrendered left Jones battered in the backfield and unable to survey the defense long enough to make an accurate throw. If the Giants’ offensive line doesn’t improve in Week 2, the Arizona Cardinals, who totaled six sacks against the Washington Commanders in Week 1, will find themselves on the winning end.

Do not abandon the running game

Due to how poor the Giants’ offensive line is in pass protection, the team would be wise to keep the ball on the ground next week. In Week 1, New York abandoned the running game far too quickly, resulting in their rapid collapse by way of Dallas’ pass rush.

On the first drive of the game, the Giants ran the ball eight times for a total of 52 yards to get the offense inside the red zone. A botched snap ultimately put their drive to sleep, but things were initially sailing smoothly through the ground game.

On the Giants’ next drive, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka called three straight passing plays. The first two attempts fell incomplete as pressure collapsed the pocket and the third and final attempt resulted in a sack, forcing Big Blue to punt.

On the third drive, Kafka again called three straight passing plays. The first play of the drive ended in a sack, the second fell incomplete, and the third attempt resulted in a pick-six for the Cowboys.

The pressure surrendered by the offensive line was far too much for the offense to overcome. Kafka should have never abandoned the running game, which was working so efficiently on the first drive, to throw the ball against intense pressure.

If the going gets tough in Week 2, Kafka needs to trust the process and keep the ball on the ground in the hands of superstar RB Saquon Barkley. The Giants’ offensive line simply cannot be trusted enough to run a passing offense.

The Giants need to stop the run

Despite losing the game by 40 points, the Giants did not surrender a single passing touchdown in Week 1. The team’s rookie cornerbacks stood out, helping to neutralize the receiving threat posed by the Cowboys’ dynamic arsenal of weapons. Instead, the Cowboys ran the ball down the Giants’ throat, totaling 122 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

In 2022, New York possessed one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. They surrendered an average of 144.2 rushing yards per game, ranking 27th in the NFL. The Giants made some key additions to their roster, hoping to improve in this category. Unfortunately, it looked like the same old unit in Week 1.

The Cardinals rushed for 96 yards in their first regular season game. Their rushing attack, led by RB James Conner, is one that the Giants should be able to manage. However, if they do not win the trench battle against Arizona’s offensive line, it could spell doom for Big Blue.