Giants Start the Season With a Win

Similar to last year the Giants started out their season against their Redskins at home, the last home opener at Giants Stadium. The Giants started out the game well advancing to a 17-0 lead before the Redskins made it interesting. The game ended with the Giants winning 23-17 improving to 1-0 with an important division win.

The most impressive part of this game had to be the play of the receivers, not because they played amazingly but because they exceeded my expectations. Manningham looked great and if he gets tougher and cut down on mental mistakes he could really be a star. It was nice to see Smith play well and make key third down catches but other players need to step up in order for the Giants to improve in the red zone. The fact that the Giants managed only one offensive touchdown all game is troubling even though it was against a good defense in the Redskins. If Barden and Boss can improve the Giants have a much better chance of converting those trips into the red zone to six points instead of three.

Another thing that was troubling to see was the running game. Bradshaw played well but the Giants really have to be able to get the first down in those short yardage situations as that is another thing that will help them in the red zone. Trying to add some positive news, Eli Manning played very well in this game and did unbelievably on third down. It is nice to see that with Plaxico gone Manning is truly stepping up to be the leader of this team, especially after the contract extension he signed this offseason.

Flipping to the defensive side of the ball I was impressed to see the Giants come up with so many turnovers. Without Dockery and Ross in there, there was a chance the Redskins offense could have some big passing plays but overall the Giants managed to keep the Redskins in check with Santana Moss virtually silent all day. In addition except for the long run to start the game Clinton Portis didn’t do much against the Giants. The only thing I would say bad about the defense is the injuries they have in the secondary as a better team is going to expose the lack of depth; however, this is something that will hopefully get better as the season continues, though the injury report this weekend seems worse.

Looking forward to the game against Dallas, like has been mentioned, the Giants need to make sure to protect Eli. Last year without Plax the Giants handled the Redskins pretty easily and while they added Albert Haynseworth I do not believe it is as big of a test as the one they face in Dallas. While the Cowboys defense wasn’t particularly impressive last week against the Bucs, especially against the run, you have to believe they will play better against the Giants as they are going to make it so Eli has to beat them through the air. If the Giants can give Eli time I believe the receivers can get open against this Dallas secondary, and on defense as long as they don’t let up the big play they should keep Dallas fairly quiet. In years past the Giants have lost to the Cowboys when giving up big plays to Owens, last year they lost because their offense did nothing. So again it looks like the big question going in is can Eli and the receivers have a big game. A win would give the Giants a 2-0 start and even more important would give them two wins in the division and an extremely satisfying loss to Dallas in their home opener in the new stadium.

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