That’s not supposed to happen after two weeks. Or in September. It’s the unfortunate situation the Giants (0-2) find themselves in after a poor start.
Sure the team that was honored at halftime of the Giants’ 24-10 loss to the Detroit Lions — i.e., the 2007 Super Bowl champions — overcame an 0-2 start, but teams that have lost their first two games and gone on to make the playoffs are rare (12 percent since 1990).
These Giants aren’t just trying to overcome a slow start. They’re going to have to turn it around during a difficult stretch of the schedule. Three of their next four (at Philadelphia, Tampa Bay and Denver) are on the road against teams expected to compete for playoff spots.
There is little to suggest the Giants can do it. The offense has been brutal. New York has scored 13 points, allowed seven sacks and totaled 97 yards rushing in the two games combined.
“I’m shocked,” offensive lineman Justin Pugh said of the offensive struggles. “Obviously we’ve got to put up more points than that.”
It’s not just one player or one position group. It’s a collective problem that might be more difficult to fix than anticipated, especially considering much of it is an extension of last season.
The Giants have gone eight straight games dating back to last year without scoring 20 points. They haven’t scored 30 points in a game since the 2015 season.
“The whole offense needs work,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “We’re not in rhythm right now.”
The Giants now have a short week to figure it out. In five days, they play on the road against the division-rival Eagles, who have won five of the past six against the Giants and have a strong defensive front that has given New York fits.
Things have gotten real for the Giants real quick this season.
“We’re in a little bit of a hole, I’ll tell you that much,” Collins said. “Definitely next week is a must-win. It’s definitely big.”
A must-win game in September. It’s hardly ideal. Last year at least the Giants made it to Week 6 before they had their backs against the wall.
Only this time the Giants don’t have a decimated Ravens team as the opponent like last year when Odell Beckham Jr. saved their season with 200-plus yards receiving and two touchdowns in the second half alone. They don’t have a string of quarterback-needy opponents on the horizon late in the year. Their schedule is significantly harder, and right now they’re not playing anywhere near as well. Even the New York defense hasn’t matched last year’s dominance.
But the Giants insist it’s not time to panic. There is still a lot of time left in this season.
“We have 14 games left. We can still go 14-2,” linebacker and defensive captain Jonathan Casillas said. “In all seriousness, it sucks. We have a short week. We can’t even think of this game anymore.”
Monday night was ugly. So was the previous Sunday. The Giants might want to put it all behind them. But they might not want to think about what’s ahead, either. They face a daunting road that might be too difficult to navigate, especially after getting a two-week taste of what their offense has to offer.