There's no way to sugar coat the truth: The New York Giants are in a funk.
Eli Manning hasn't played well, the team's running game comes and goes, as do the team's pass-rushers, they have been beset by a rash of injuries and the entire team just looks tired.
So, what can they do to pull out of the doldrums?
Offensive Line Must Improve
One of the things I was concerned about before the season began for the Giants was the lack of depth and talent I perceived on the offensive line.
Through six games, my perception seemed to have been proven wrong, as the Giants only allowed five sacks and were beginning to open up some big holes for running backs.
Since then, however, this line has begun to disintegrate, allowing eight sacks in its last four games (six in its last two) and failing to open up as many running lanes.
As a result, their quarterback has played his worst stretch of football in a long time.
Over the last four games, Manning has sunk deeper and deeper into a personal funk, throwing just one touchdown and a whopping six interceptions during this period.
Limit Turnovers On Offense
The Giants have gotten away with excessive turnovers on offense this season due to an incredible haul of defensive takeaways.
Through ten games, this team is plus-11 in terms of giveaway/takeaway, but its 16 turnovers rank as the fourth-worst mark in the NFC.
The past four games, the Giants have turned the ball over nine times.
This is clearly one of the most important areas this team needs to improve in order to get back on the same track that saw them win six-of-seven after their Week 1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
If Manning starts getting better protection up front, his interception totals are bound to go down, but he must also make better decisions with the ball—i.e., stop throwing the ball when he's getting hit.
Thank goodness for bye weeks. Counting the preseason, the Giants have just completed a 14-week marathon of playing games without a proper respite.
After losing their last two games, the Giants' bye week couldn't have come at a better time. Eli Manning hasn't played well in over a month, and NFL Films guru Greg Cosell believes he's been playing with a "tired arm" (h/t ProFootballTalk.com).
Ahmad Bradshaw's foot problems don't want to go away. Without the pressures of a game next week, perhaps he will finally give himself the proper rest his body needs to get ready for the rigors of the playoff push.
The same goes for Hakeem Nicks, who hasn't been 100-percent healthy since the season began.
Chris Canty, Chase Blackburn, David Baas, Chris Snee, Keith Rivers, Kenny Phillips—the list of players needing rest is extensive. This team must get healthy and stay healthy the rest of the way for it to have a chance at replicating last year's Super Bowl-winning performance.