The New York Giants opened up their season with a 35-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, a defeat that was not all too surprising given where the two teams are right now.
While the Cowboys are a darkhorse Super Bowl contender, the Giants are in a rebuilding stage, and it showed from the get-go in Week 1.
Albeit, the game was in Dallas, so the Giants will get another crack at the Cowboys at the Meadowlands later this season, but let’s be real: home or away, this contest wasn’t even close.
So, here are the three biggest takeaways for Big Blue after their Week 1 loss.
3. Quarterback Is Not the Problem
In spite of the horrific loss, Eli Manning actually looked good on Sunday, completing 30 of his 44 passes for 306 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers, so those of you trying to pin this loss on him should probably look elsewhere.
Also, the Giants have already taken care of their quarterback situation moving forward, as they drafted Daniel Jones, who looked brilliant in preseason and actually completed three of his four passes in his brief regular-season debut in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
Yes, he fumbled, but Jones looked pretty comfortable, once again.
So, while the main theme surrounding New York in 2018 was its play under center, that should not be the focal point at any point this year, and it certainly shouldn’t even be discussed after Manning played a solid game in the season opener.
2. The Defense, On the Other Hand…
My goodness. That defense is atrocious.
The Giants could not stop the Cowboys in any way, shape or form, and their lack of a pass rush was painfully obvious throughout the entire game.
Dak Prescott had all day to throw and ended up with 405 yards and four touchdowns while hardly being touched. New York did not log a single sack, and the defensive line was completely neutralized by Dallas’ offensive line.
To be fair, the Giants’ defensive front is incredibly young and growing, and the Cowboys’ offensive line is one of the best in the NFL, but this was a horrendous performance no matter how you slice it.
Plus, rookie cornerback Deandre Baker and fourth-year corner Antonio Hamilton got absolutely shredded, and it’s clear as anything that Janoris Jenkins’ best days are behind him.
1. Saquon Barkley Should Probably Get the Ball More
Look: I get that the Giants probably don’t want to burn out Saquon Barkley this early in the season. They are almost certainly going to have to lean on him for much of the year, and it’s not like they have a reliable No. 2 back.
But just 11 carries and four receptions in Week 1? That’s not close to enough.
There is no reason why Barkley shouldn’t be getting at least 15 carries and 20 touches per game, which would put him right around 240 carries for the season. A fair amount? Sure, but it’s not over the top.
Barkley is the most dynamic player on the Giants’ offense, as evidenced by the fact that he racked up 120 yards on the ground and averaged 10.9 yards per attempt on Sunday.
How this dude is only touching the ball 15 times total is mind-boggling.