Are the New York Giants Already in a Must-Win Scenario Against the Broncos?
As the New York Giants prepare for their marquee matchup against the Denver Broncos, Big Blue could put themselves in an incredibly deep hole to begin the 2013 season. New York's Week 1 game with the Dallas Cowboys, thanks to a combination of turnovers, miscommunication and the inability to stop a quality offense, resulted in a season-opening loss on the road.
One week later, the Giants will find themselves on prime-time television for the second straight week against the most complete team in the AFC.
In what is known as the “Manning Bowl,” will the Giants be capable of containing a Broncos offense that unleashed 49 points on a respectable Baltimore Ravens defense?
If last season was any indication, the Giants will put together a more complete effort in their home opener against Denver. While struggling against divisional foes last season, New York played at its highest level against the league’s elite, such as the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers.
But the scenario on Sunday has much greater implications. The Giants are in a position in which beginning the season at 0-2 is a very likely scenario.
As ESPN Stats and Information notes, only 12 percent of teams that have started with such a record have managed to make the postseason since 1990:
NFL teams at 0-1 should show a sense of urgency in Week 2. Since 1990, 12 pct of teams to start a season 0-2 have reached the playoffs.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 12, 2013
The schedule after Sunday’s matchup doesn’t get much easier for the Giants. They will follow up with back-to-back road games against the Carolina Panthers and a Kansas City Chiefs team that is a threat for playoff contention in the AFC.
The Giants have begun to show that they are in desperation mode, signing Brandon Jacobs this week, according to Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger. However, the running back position is not the only lingering concern. The lack of consistent pass protection for Eli Manning is a scary thought, along with a secondary that cannot be relied upon to defend against premier passing attacks.
Nothing is set in stone. The NFL has grown as America’s sport due to the amount of parity throughout the entire league. Any team can win on any given Sunday, and the Giants realize their backs are against a wall and that they face a must-win situation.
Yes, it may only be the second game of the season, but it would be absolutely detrimental if the Giants were to begin the year with two consecutive losses.
In a competitive division in which all four teams are known for taking one another out late in the year, it’s tough to envision the Giants recovering from two losses (and possibly even more) before beginning their divisional schedule.
Ultimately, there is no denying the consequences that New York’s successful franchise could suffer with a 0-2 start.
A top-tier head coach and quarterback cannot prevent a team that is neither as talented nor as fundamentally sound as New York's Super Bowl-winning teams from avoiding a start that teams historically do not recover from.
Matt Miselis is an NFL league-wide columnist for BleacherReport. Follow him on Twitter.
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