If the New York Giants are going to get their first win of the season against the Houston Texans, they will need several players to step up.
The New York Giants are a desperate team heading into their matchup on Sunday against the Houston Texans. Their season is on the brink of going the way the 2017 season went whether the Giants want to admit this or not.
If the Giants are going to get their first win of the season, they’re going to have to play four quarters of solid and mistake-free football. They will also need players to step up as they face a Texans team that’s just as desperate for a win as they are.
Here are the X-Factors for the New York Giants:
The Giants offensive line has been a disaster for the first two weeks of the season. They’ve allowed Eli Manning to be sacked eight times and been unable to open holes for Saquon Barkley to run the ball. As a result, the Giants have the 28th ranked offense in the league.
The one offensive lineman that was playing decent center Jon Halapio fractured his ankle last week and is out for the season. So 11-year veteran John Greco will start in his place. He’ll have a tough matchup going against nose tackle D.J. Reader who has eight tackles and two sacks on the season.
It’s imperative that the Greco not be overmatched by Reader as the Giants offensive line will have a tough time as it is with the talented Texans front seven that includes All-Pro J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. If the line plays the way they did in the first two games, the Giants have no chance of winning.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Normally Odell Beckham Jr. would not be considered an X-Factor given the fact that he’s the focal point of the Giants’ offense. But with the Giants punt returner Kaelin Clay out with an ankle injury, Beckham will likely take over as the team’s punt returner.
Beckham is one of the most explosive players in the league and he’s a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. A big return by him could be exactly what the Giants need to jumpstart their season.
Sterling Shepard has gotten off to a slow start to the season as he has just eight receptions for 72 yards. The Texans defense will focus on stopping Odell Beckham Jr., which will create opportunities for the other Giants pass catchers.
Due to the offensive line struggles Manning has seldom had enough time to find receivers deep down the field. So the Giants game plan will be for Manning to complete short and intermediate passes and occasionally test the Texans secondary deep.
Last week, Saquon Barkley was the focal point of the intermediate passing game catching 14 passes for 80 yards. But this week, expect the Giants to try to get the ball into Shepard’s hands.
Cornerback Eli Apple has been ruled out with a groin injury so B.W. Webb who is the starting nickel back will likely start in Apple’s place. Apple has played well in the first two games so his absence is a huge loss.
With Apple out expect Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to test Webb early and often and try to connect with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V.
The Texans are the most explosive offense the Giants have faced so far this season, so the Giants will need the 28-year-old Webb to play one of the best games of his career. If he struggles the Texans will pick on him all day.