There are no must-win games in Week 2, but the New York Giants need to win on Sunday at Dallas before their season spirals out of control.
If you believe in moral victories, there were some positives in the New York Giants 20-15 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener on Sunday.
One positive came in the form of Odell Beckham Jr. The All-Pro was back to his old self after missing 11 months of action. He caught 11 passes for 111 yards.
The other positives were the defense shutting out the Jaguars in the second half, and Saquon Barkley showed what an explosive playmaker he can be on his 68-yard touchdown run.
But at the end of the day, sports is about winning and losing and the Giants didn’t do enough to come away with the win. Now, they’ll face the Dallas Cowboys (0-1) on Sunday Night Football where the two teams will battle to stay out of the NFC East cellar.
It’s much too early to call the game against the Cowboys a must-win game, but it’s a game the Giants need to win or else they’re in jeopardy of having the season go on a downward spiral.
Following their game against the Cowboys, four of the next six games are against teams that made the playoffs a season ago before the Giants bye week.
Week 3: @Texans (0-1)
Week 4: Saints (0-1)
Week 5: @Panthers (1-0)
Week 6: Eagles (1-0)
Week 7: @Falcons (0-1)
Week 8: Redskins (1-0)
Games don’t take place on paper, as we all know, but when you look at how dominant the Redskins were in their 24-6 beatdown of the Arizona Cardinals on the road on Sunday, it’s conceivable that they’ll be underdogs in their first eight games of the season.
So the Giants better take care of business on Sunday and come away with a win in Dallas.
Of course, beating Dallas won’t be easy as division games seldom are. If the Giants are going to get the first win of the season, their offensive line must play better than they did against the Jaguars.
The Cowboys defensive front seven isn’t as strong as the Jaguars front seven, but DeMarcus Lawrence, Jaylon Smith and Sean Lee are playmakers that can give the Giants problems.
.@Giants got beat Sunday because they got whipped up front. @Jaguars play a different brand of football and if you can’t handle them up front it doesn’t matter how shiny the toys are in the outside. #BaldyBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/ty9M443OWq
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) September 11, 2018
The offensive line must win the battle of the line of scrimmage to open holes for Barkley and keep Eli Manning upright. If Manning has time, he can pick apart the Cowboys vulnerable secondary. Last week the Cowboys gave up nine first downs via the pass to the Carolina Panthers, and the Panthers don’t nearly have the dynamic playmakers that the Giants have.
Whether the Giants focus on passing the ball or running it, they just need to make sure that on Sunday night they have more points than the Cowboys when the clock runs out. If not, the following week’s game against the Houston Texans will truly be a must-win game.
Sunday night will be the first big game of the Pat Shurmur era with the Giants.