From Jon Wagner. SNYGiants Columnist

Trailing by two touchdowns less than five minutes into the game, the New York Giants had the Cleveland Browns right where they wanted them.

For the second time in as many home games, the explosive Giants (3-2) stormed back from a surprising and sizable first-half deficit against an inferior opponent, with a 41-point outburst.

Three weeks ago, New York overcame a 17-6 second-quarter hole to beat Tampa Bay (1-3) in a 41-34 shootout.

On the same field on Sunday, the Giants spotted the Browns (0-5) a 14-0 lead before they got their initial first down without the help of a penalty. But, on a milestone-filled day, wide receiver Victor Cruz (five catches, 50 yards) caught a career-high three touchdown passes and running back Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for a career-best 200 yards on 30 carries to lead New York to a 41-27 victory before 79,911 fans at MetLife Stadium.

The favorite target of quarterback Eli Manning (25-for-37, 259 yards, three touchdowns, one interception) though, was rookie wide receiver Rueben Randle. The second-round draft pick, who after entering the game with just a single career reception, led all receivers with a game-high six catches for a game-high-tying 82 yards to help head coach Tom Coughlin tie Giants legend Bill Parcells for second place on the franchise’s all-time list with 77 regular season victories with New York.

Cleveland reached a few landmark numbers as well, but with very mixed results. While third overall draft pick, running back Trent Richardson (17 carries, 81 yards, one touchdown), became the first rookie in team history to score a touchdown in a fourth consecutive game, the Browns matched a club record by losing for an 11th straight time (dating back to last season) and dropped their first five games of a season for the first time since returning to the NFL in 1999 (after the original Browns left Cleveland to become the current Baltimore Ravens).

Things actually looked much better for the Browns at first, as they scored on their first three possessions while the Giants had a turnover and punted the first couple of times they touched the ball.

That didn’t last long however, as Cleveland only managed two more scoring drives while punting three times and getting intercepted twice over its final seven possessions. Meanwhile, New York bounced back from its slow start to score on six trips in a row and on seven of their final nine, as the Giants scored 41 of the game’s next 47 points after the Browns’ early lead.

Similarly, Bradshaw’s big rushing day came after a bad beginning, as he lost a fumble on the first play from scrimmage when the right shoulder pad of Coughlin’ in-in-law, offensive lineman Chris Snee, knocked the ball loose. Richardson ran for seven yards on the next play and for a 15-yard touchdown on the play after that, to give the Browns a 7-0 advantage just 52 seconds into the game.

A defensive pass interference call gave New York a first down on its next possession, but that drive ended with a punt, and five plays later, rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden (22-for-35, 291 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions), a first-round pick who will turn 29 next week, threw a touchdown 62-yard strike to fellow rookie, wide receiver Josh Gordon (a second-round pick), to extend Cleveland’s lead to 14-0 just 4:57 into the game. Gordon caught just two passes, but had 82 receiving yards and the first two touchdown receptions of his NFL career.

Helped by a 14-yard defensive pass interference penalty drawn by Randle, and then consecutive completions of 12 and 11 yards from Manning to Randle, the Giants cut the Browns’ lead in half, marching 92 yards on 11 plays in 6:41, scoring on a three-yards touchdown throw from Manning to Cruz, with 3:22 left in the opening quarter.

The Browns answered with a ten-play, 50-yard drive and a 32-yard field goal by kicker Phil Dawson, to push their lead to 17-7, just 1:21 into the second period, but New York, the NFC’s highest scoring teams with 152 points, capitalized on Cleveland’s self-destructing carelessness to score 20 points over the last 6:46 of the quarter, including 17 points in the final 2:52 of the half.

Kicker Lawrence Tynes capped a 14-play, 68-yard drive that consumed 6:53, with a 29-yard field goal to get the Giants to within 17-10, and three plays after a 38-yard completion by Weeden to the New York 34-yard line, Weeden badly overthrew Gordon, and was picked off by safety Steve Brown, who returned the ball 46 yards to the Browns’ 40-yard line.

Manning connected with Randle for 36 yards up the left sideline on the next play, and one play after that, Bradshaw tied the game with a four-yard touchdown run, after which he emphatically leaped and spiked the ball in the back of the end zone.

The display of emotion typified the way Bradshaw ran for the rest of game after his earlier costly miscue, as his rushing prowess helped his team control the ball for nearly 11 minutes more than the Cleveland.

"I was angry at myself for the fumble and I just used it," Bradshaw said. "I was disappointed with the fumble, but you put it out of your mind. I knew I was cool. We knew the running game was there, we were confident."

Safety Will Hill forced a fumble by Josh Cribbs on the ensuing kickoff following Bradshaw’s score, and Brown, just moments after setting the Giants up for a game-tying touchdown, put New York in position to take the lead for good by recovering the loose ball.

Five plays later, Manning found Cruz for a seven-yard score that gave the Giants their first lead, 24-17, with 1:10 left in the half.

Forcing a punt and using two of their time outs, New York took over at its own 42-yard line and following a 12-yard run by Bradshaw, Randle drew another pass interference call, albeit a very questionable one, for 24 yards, allowing Tynes to end the half on a 40-yard field goal that increased the Giants’ lead to 27-17 at halftime.

Punting on their opening possession of the second half, the Browns pinned New York at its own 5-yard line, but Bradshaw broke free on a 37-yard run up the left side, to the Cleveland 40-yard line. Four plays after that, Manning ended a nine-play, 95-yard drive with a 28-yard touchdown up the right side to Cruz, for a 34-17 Giants’ lead with 5:06 left in the quarter.

At that point, Cruz was the league’s only player to have recorded three receiving touchdowns in a game this season, until wide receiver Marques Colston later broke the New Orleans Saints’ franchise record for career receiving touchdowns with a three-touchdown night of his own.

Following Cruz’s final touchdown of the day, Cribbs redeemed himself for his earlier fumble with a 74-yard kickoff return, but the Browns were forced to settle for a 41-yard field goal by Dawson, to trial 34-20 with 3:27 remaining in the period.

The teams then traded punt before a couple of bizarre plays led to an interception for each team.

First, Manning went deep up the left side for Cruz, who was interfered with by cornerback Sheldon Brown, although no penalty was called. With Brown’s arm draped across Cruz’s arms too early, the ball popped up in the air off of Cruz’s hands and into the arms of safety Usama Young, who brought the ball back 44 yards to the New York 27-yard line on the third play of the fourth quarter.

Richardson caught a fourth-and-three pass from Weeden for ten yards to the Giants’ ten-yard line, but on third-and-five from the New York five-yard line, Weeden fired a pass into the facemask of defensive end Justin Tuck and caught the ball.

Not realizing the rule against throwing another pass on the same play in that case, Weeden completed a second throw in the end zone, but whistled for an illegal forward pass, and on third-and-ten, he was intercepted in the end zone by linebacker Chase Blackburn.

Bradshaw ran for 28 yards to midfield just two plays later, and three plays after that, rookie first round pick, running back David Wilson, who carried just twice, put the game out of reach with a 40-yard run for his first NFL touchdown, putting the Giants up 41-20 with 5:41 to go.

Weeden led the Browns 76 yards on seven plays, in just 1:45, and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Gordon, to cut New York’s lead to 41-27 with 3:56 remaining, but Hill recovered an onside kick and Cleveland never touched the ball again.

With New Orleans’ home win over San Diego on Sunday night, the Browns remain the league’s only winless team, and with Philadelphia and Washington both losing on Sunday afternoon, the Giants moved into a first-place tie with Philadelphia atop the NFC East, a half-game ahead of idle Dallas and one game in front of Washington.

Next up for the defending Super Bowl champion Giants is a trip to San Francisco, the site of New York’s NFC title game victory last year, after Big Blue had lost there in the regular season, ten weeks earlier. Kickoff between the Giants and the San Francisco 49ers (4-1) is scheduled for 4:25pm ET.

Note: The son of Giants’ star defensive end Osi Umenyiora was hospitalized with an asthma attack on Sunday, but was later released from the hospital.

Tags: Cleveland Browns, Giants-Browns, New York Giants, NFL

A general view of a New York Giants helmet on the turf before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)
A general view of a New York Giants helmet on the turf before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants are the third-most valuable franchise in the NFL, with a current value of $3.3 billion, according to Forbes' 21st annual NFL Team Valuations list

According to Forbes, the Giants' total revenue for the 2017 season was $493 million.

The Cowboys ($5 billion valuation) and Patriots ($3.8 billion) came in first and second on the list, respectively. 

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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during warmups before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during warmups before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. is tired of losing, and hopeful Big Blue's stagnant offense can come alive. 

"I don't remember the last time I won a game was," Beckham said Thursday. "Maybe some cards or something, but not an NFL football game. I haven't won one in a long time. It's definitely not a good feeling, not something you come here to do. You don't come here to lose, you just don't."

After a big Week 1 performance during the Giants' loss to the Jaguars, Beckham was largely shut down during their Week 2 loss to the Cowboys, catching four passes for 51 yards while being targeted just nine times.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Danny Abriano
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New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (William Hauser)
New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (William Hauser)

Giants LB Olivier Vernon (ankle), who has missed the first two games of the season, has still not returned to practice. And it appears highly unlikely he'll be able to play on Sunday against the Texans. 

Head coach Pat Shurmur said late last week that the Giants were hopeful Vernon would be able to return for Week 3, but he has not made any meaningful progress. 

CB Eli Apple (groin) also missed practice Thursday, while LB Connor Barwin (knee) and TE Evan Engram (ankle) were limited.

Tags: Eli Apple, Evan Engram, Olivier Vernon
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Odell Beckham Jr. (13) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Odell Beckham Jr. (13) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. has a bone to pick with the NFL. 

On Thursday, Beckham took to Twitter to announce his frustration with the league constantly administrating random drug tests on him. Sarcastically claiming it was his "997,546" random test, Beckham says these screenings are taking time away from him doing his job. 

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE TWEET

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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Many have given their case as to where the blame should be placed for the Giants' 0-2 start to the season. The offensive line's shaky play seems to be at the top, with head coach Pat Shurmur taking a brunt of the backlash as well. 

And then there's the play of 37-year-old QB Eli Manning that is in the spotlight as well. Former Jet and current ESPN Damien Woody is on that bandwagon. 

Appearing on ESPN's "Get Up" morning show on Wednesday, Woody ripped Manning's level of play, and basically said he's finished after just two weeks into the new season...

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard
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Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Pat Shurmur was an assistant coach in Philadelphia back in 2007 and he remembers the tornado that swirled 90 miles to the north when the Giants started 0-2 that year. He recalled seeing a back page of a newspaper with a picture of Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin under a headline that wondered "Will they survive?"

"Then, lo and behold, they won a Super Bowl," Shurmur said on Wednesday. "Now that doesn't say that's what's going to happen (now), but you just have to play it out."

His point was that patience is sometimes necessary and it can be rewarded. Of course, Coughlin and Manning were in Year 4 with the Giants when the walls (and the tabloids) started closing in on them during that 0-2 start.

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley
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Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Giants LB Olivier Vernon (ankle), who has missed the first two games of the season, has still not returned to practice.

Head coach Pat Shurmur said late last week that the Giants were hopeful Vernon would be able to return for Week 3 on Sunday against the Texans.

CB Eli Apple (groin) and LB Connor Barwin (knee) also missed practice Wednesday.

Tags: Olivier Vernon
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Saquon stays positive 00:01:00
Giants running back Saquon Barkley stays positive despite Big Blue's tough start, saying "in this locker room, nobody is overreacting."

Giants RB Saquon Barkley is not panicking about the team's 0-2 start -- something he believes is a much bigger concern outside the locker room than inside.

"In this locker room, nobody is overreacting," Barkley said Wednesday. "People outside are overreacting. We understand that 0-2 is not a great start, but this is not college."

On the play of the offensive line -- Barkley and the team's other running backs have gotten blown up early more than any other running backs in the NFL, and Eli Manning has been sacked eight times -- Barkley said it's "common" for people who don't play the sport to place the blame on one thing, noting it's a group effort. 

Tags: Saquon Barkley, Danny Abriano
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The Giants' 39-20 win over the Broncos capped Bill Parcells' first championship season. (AP)
The Giants' 39-20 win over the Broncos capped Bill Parcells' first championship season. (AP)

ESPN's Ian O'Connor's new book, "Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time," has many revealing tales in its pages. And of course, Belichick's time with the Giants is highlighted. 

In particular, O'Connor spoke with former Giants head coach Bill Parcells, who worked alongside Belichick for years in New York. Parcells touched on Super Bowl XXV specifically, though, and it quoted saying he isn't sure why Belichick's game plan from that upset win over the Bills is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

Instead, he thinks offensive coordinator Ron Erhardt's game plan should be enshrined. 

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Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. has always strived to be the greatest. But the road to his stardom today in the NFL wasn't the easiest. 

In an interview with comedian Kevin Hart on his web series, "Cold as Balls," Beckham indulged on his football path from his days at LSU and how it didn't go as planned. 

"When I was in college, I wanted to win a national championship," he said. "Made it to the national championship, got blown out. I said I wanted to win a Heisman [Trophy], never came close. Said I wanted to be a top-10 pick, was the 12th pick. So, it was like, now that's the only thing I had left, I gotta win Rookie of the Year."

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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The Giants' offense has sputtered to start their 2018 campaign, even with new pieces on the roster. Rookie RB Saquon Barkley is the biggest fresh face of them all, with players like G Will Hernandez and LT Nate Solder behind him. 

However, Big Blue is facing the same problems it did last season. First and foremost, the "revamped" offensive line hasn't paid any dividends yet as it looks to be the same lackluster group of old. But, even with all their struggles, veteran QB Eli Manning isn't off the hook. 

The Giants' line play forces Manning to roam outside of the pocket, and throw on the run. But Manning can't scramble with quickness when things go awry, making him to either take a sack or force a ball where it shouldn't go. There is also the fact that he is 37, and descending into the final years of his career...

Tags: Eli Manning, Scott Thompson
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Eli Manning (10) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Eli Manning (10) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Giants' rebuilt (save for Ereck Flowers) offensive line has been a mess during the first two weeks, but Eli Manning said the Giants being 0-2 is on everyone, calling it a "combination of stuff."

"There was nothing that we didn't have an answer for," he said Monday. "Enough things might mess up a little bit, it's a combination of everybody, it's not just the offensive line. When sacks are happening obviously the offensive line gets blamed most of the time but that's not necessarily the case. You got running backs, you got quarterbacks, you got receivers, everybody plays a part in that.''

Manning's point isn't completely off base...

Tags: Eli Manning, Danny Abriano
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Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor believes his former team, the Giants, still own New York when it comes to the Giants-Jets rivalry. (Ed Mulholland)
Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor believes his former team, the Giants, still own New York when it comes to the Giants-Jets rivalry. (Ed Mulholland)

Being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a blessing, but some of those enshrined want more than their bust, ring, and gold jacket. 

In a letter addressed to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, and Pro Football Hall of Fame President C. David Baker, Eric Dickerson -- the chairman of the newly-assembled Hall of Fame Board -- sent out demands that includes "health insurance and an annual salary for all Hall of Famers that includes a share of league revenue."

"They see us honored and mythologized before games and at halftime, and it would be reasonable if they thought life was good for us," Dickerson wrote. "But on balance, it's not. As a group we are struggling with sever health and financial problems. To build this game, we sacrificed our bodies. In many cases, and despite the fact that we were led to believe otherwise, we sacrificed our minds."

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Sep 16, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) leaves the field after the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Heitman)
Sep 16, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) leaves the field after the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Heitman)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants' entire offseason plan was built around the premise that Eli Manning had "years" left as a productive, and maybe even an elite, starting quarterback. That's why the Giants went into win-now mode, believing they had the quarterback to lead them on a championship run in the next two years.

Two games later, it sure looks like their plan was flawed -- that they were much farther away from contention than they ever imagined. But Manning doesn't deserve the blame for that...

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 16, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) stiff arms New York Giants defensive back Landon Collins (21) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Heitman)
Sep 16, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) stiff arms New York Giants defensive back Landon Collins (21) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Heitman)

After a loss in Dallas last night, the Giants have once again started their season 0-2. It is the fifth time in six years that this has occurred for Big Blue. 

But Giants S Landon Collins is sure things are going to turn around. Collins tweeted out a message for all those doubting the Giants already, saying the team is willing to put in the work to figure things out and bounce back. 

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE TWEET

Tags: Landon Collins
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning talks to center Jon Halapio as he is carted off the field after being injured in the third quarter against Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning talks to center Jon Halapio as he is carted off the field after being injured in the third quarter against Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Giants C Jon Halapio suffered fractures to his lower leg and ankle during last night's game against the Cowboys, the team announced Monday. Though it hasn't been officially announced, the expectation is Halapio will be out for the rest of the season. 

Halapio got crushed underneath the line during a run play, and was in clear pain on the turf. John Greco had to come in for him after he was carted off the field in an aircast. 

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Giants' offensive line is so bad and so thin, the loss of any player is significant. But center is such a key position, this might be a really big blow.

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 (Tim Heitman)
(Tim Heitman)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants are a team in crisis at 0-2 after a miserable, 20-13 loss in Dallas on Sunday night. And they're back to their same old offensive problems.

Here's a look at how their specific position groups played on Sunday night...

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Janoris Jenkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 16, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson (57) causes a fumble on a sack of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Heitman)
Sep 16, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson (57) causes a fumble on a sack of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Heitman)

This isn't how the Giants wanted to start their season again, but nonetheless, they finds themselves 0-2 for the third straight year after a loss to the Cowboys Sunday night. 

It has been the norm for the Giants of late. How many times have they started the season on the wrong note? 

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Scott Thompson
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New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches from the sidelines in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches from the sidelines in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants were so sure that a healthy Odell Beckham Jr., a rebuilt offensive line and the addition of Saquon Barkley would be enough to wake them out of their years-long offensive nightmare.

Two games into the season, it looks like they may have been wrong. Really wrong.

Their offense was absolutely pathetic on Sunday night in a 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. They barely got anything going either on the ground or in the air. They hardly even threatened to score any points until the game was basically over. And if it weren't for Barkley (14 catches for 80 yards, 11 rushes for 28 yards), they would've spent the game looking like they were standing still.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley runs against Dallas Cowboys defensive back Jeff Heath in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley runs against Dallas Cowboys defensive back Jeff Heath in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley was New York's leading rusher and receiver in Sunday's 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Barkley finished with 28 rushing yards on 11 carries and 80 receiving yards on 14 receptions, the most in a game in franchise history, as the Giants fell to 0-2 for the second straight season.

Through their first two games of the season, the Giants have scored just 31 points and totaled 579 yards and two touchdowns. Barkley, alone, has accounted for one of the touchdowns and 236 total yards (or 41 percent of New York's total offense).

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Saquon Barkley
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The Giants started the season 0-2 for the second straight season with a 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

New York was outgained 299-254 as Odell Beckham Jr. was held to four catches for 50 yards and the team was limited to just 35 yards on the ground.

Eli Manning was sacked six times for 59 yards and lost a fumble, while Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 160 yards and a touchdown and ran for 46 yards.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley
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Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The touchdown was the first of his NFL career. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The touchdown was the first of his NFL career. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME

The Giants (0-1) at the Dallas Cowboys (0-1) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 8:20 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

A warm day with temperatures near 90 should cool off into the upper 70s by kickoff. Whether that matters or not depends on whether Jerry Jones has the roof open or closed.

WHAT IT MEANS

Did somebody say "Must win"? OK, I did. Since 1990, there have been 231 teams that have started the season 0-2 and only 28 of them (12 percent) made the playoffs. Those are not good odds for the loser of this game. And yes, yes, the Giants did it in 2007. We all remember that. But that's the exception, not the rule. The reality is that whoever loses this game will be in a suddenly quick hole after opening the season with dreams of competing for the NFC East title. If either the Redskins or Eagles win (they're both 1-0) that hole is going to feel very deep, too.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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DraftKings Sportsbook Minute 00:01:05
Pay Mayo takes a look at the Giants/Cowboys Week 2 matchup in the latest DraftKings Sportsbook Minute

What is the path for the Giants +3 this weekend?

Pat Mayo says that it's all about slowing down Ezekiel Elliott and exploiting the Dallas defense in a way that they couldn't against Jacksonville in Week 1

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Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass as offensive guard Will Hernandez (71) blacks Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson (97) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws a pass as offensive guard Will Hernandez (71) blacks Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson (97) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants QB Eli Manning has a new head coach and a clean slate this season, but he is eager to show the team that he can still perform at a high level as starting quarterback.

"I want to prove them right," Manning said in an interview with Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report. "That they did make the right decision. I think it's still about keeping the focus on my jobs, my assignments, going out there and playing well, getting the game plan and being a good leader for this group."

Manning is likely feeling more comfortable under coach Pat Shurmur, as well. Backup quarterback Kyle Lauletta explained that Manning was forced by coach Ben McAdoo to change his footwork last season, which could have pushed Manning outside of his comfort zone. This season, he is going back to his original plan.

Tags: Eli Manning
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Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

 Giants LB Olivier Vernon (ankle) has been ruled out for Sunday night's game against the Cowboys in Dallas.

Head coach Pat Shurmur said the Giants are hopeful Vernon will be able to return next week. 

New York doesn't have any players listed as doubtful, and LB Tae Davis (hamstring) is questionable.

Tags: Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Sterling Shepard, Wayne Gallman
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New York Giants' Landon Collins (21) returns an interception for a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Giants' Landon Collins (21) returns an interception for a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott fired back at Giants S Landon Collins a day after Collins said keeping the ball in Prescott's hands would give Big Blue a better shot at winning.

"Challenge accepted," Prescott told reporters on Thursday. "Challenge accepted."

Collins said Wednesday that the team needs to focus on stopping explosive running back Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday night against the Cowboys. And as far as Prescott? Not so much...

Tags: Landon Collins, Danny Abriano
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Odell talks Giants offense 00:01:16
Odell Beckham Jr. talks about the great potential of the Giants offense and having fun with rookie Saquon Barkley?s touchdown ball

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. knew rookie running back Saquon Barkley's 68-yard touchdown run was a long time coming, even if last Sunday's 20-15 loss to the Jaguars was his NFL debut.

And now, Barkley has his souvenir ball ... again.

Beckham posted a video earlier in the week of him jokingly stealing Barkley's first touchdown ball in the locker room, and admitted the ball is back where it should be: in Barkley's possession.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) can't reach an overthrown pass while defended by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) can't reach an overthrown pass while defended by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Shaquille O'Neal was so dominant at basketball in his day that, sometimes, teams would just give up trying to defend him and voluntarily force him to the free throw line all game. The tactic was soon branded "Hack-A-Shaq".

In a different sport, Giants dominant WR Odell Beckham understands the treatment. The explosive receiver twice forced blatant defensive pass interference calls against the Jaguars, potentially saving touchdowns but giving the Giants first downs. Bechkam compared it to what O'Neal had to deal with.

"Like 'Hack-A-Shaq?' That's fine," Beckham said Thursday.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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Saquon Barkley (26) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Saquon Barkley (26) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Two of the NFL's premier young running backs will face off on Sunday night in Dallas during primetime with the country watching.

The Giants face the Cowboys and the biggest storyline is Saquon Barkley vs. Zeke Elliot. Barkley is looking forward to lining up against the Cowboys star and the pair have been in contact this season. What have they been talking about?

"He texted me saying congratulations on the touchdown run and the start of the season," Barkley said Thursday. He continued to add that they haven't discussed Sunday's matchup much. "No, not really, not really. Obviously it's a grind week. He's over there preparing to win this game, I'm preparing to win the game for my team, but tremendous, wish him the best of luck to a great dude."

Tags: Saquon Barkley
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Nov 19, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants corner back Janoris Jenkins (20) runs back an interception against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 19, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants corner back Janoris Jenkins (20) runs back an interception against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Giants WR Sterling Shepard (back) returned to practice Thursday as the team prepares for Sunday night's game against the Cowboys in Dallas.

CB Janoris Jenkins left the team facility without participating due to what the Giants said was a family issue -- though the issue was not related to his brother, who was charged with aggravated manslaughter in July, according to Pat Leonard of the Daily News.

LB Tae Davis (hamstring) and RB Wayne Gallman (knee) were limited for a second straight day, while LB Olivier Vernon did not participate. 

Tags: Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Sterling Shepard, Wayne Gallman
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Sam Darnold (14) Saquon Barkley (26) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Sam Darnold (14) Saquon Barkley (26) Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley had himself a solid debut this past Sunday with 106 rushing yards and his first career touchdown run. But, when it comes to New York rookies, it was Jets QB Sam Darnold that got the most attention. 

Darnold led the Jets to a rout of the Lions on Monday night, and it brought about the conversation of the Giants passing on the 21-year-old signal caller to take Barkley in this year's Draft. Some believed the Giants should have gone after a quarterback with the veteran Eli Manning winding down his career. 

However, GM Dave Gettleman proved the Giants are in win-now mode by taking Barkley. And S Landon Collins believes that was the better pick anyway. 

Tags: Landon Collins, Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley
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Giants prep for Dallas 00:01:02
Pat Shurmur, Landon Collins, and Eli Manning talk about Sunday night's Week 2 NFC East showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Giants didn't see the season opener result they wanted witha 20-15 loss at home against the Jaguars on Sunday. But they can't dwell on that as they look ahead to a tough road matchup against their heated rival -- Dallas Cowboys. 

The Cowboys also suffered a Week 1 loss, so both teams will be looking to rebound on Sunday Night Football. Head coach Pat Shurmur as well as S Landon Collins and QB Eli Manning discuss their matchup against the Cowboys, and how they can get that first win of the season...

 

Tags: Eli Manning, Landon Collins
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Sterling Shepard is currently listed as the Giants starting WR2 on the depth chart.  (William Hauser (USA Today))
Sterling Shepard is currently listed as the Giants starting WR2 on the depth chart. (William Hauser (USA Today))

Giants WR Sterling Shepard was limited at practice Wednesday due to a back issue as the team prepares for Sunday night's game against the Cowboys in Dallas.

LB Tae Davis (hamstring) and RB Wayne Gallman (knee) were also limited, while LB Olivier Vernon (ankle) returned to practice.

For the Cowboys, C Travis Frederick (illness), DE Randy Gregory (concussion), DT Datone Jones (knee), DE DeMarcus Lawrence (groin), and S Xavier Woods (hamstring) were all out. 

Tags: Olivier Vernon, Sterling Shepard, Wayne Gallman
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Ereck Flowers had all sorts of problems with defensive end Calais Campbell and the rest of the Jacksonville Jaguars defense on Sunday.

Unfortunately for the Giants and their beleaguered right tackle, it's only going to get worse.

That's because the parade of pass rushers the 24-year-old Flowers will have to face in the coming weeks is frightening. In order, he'll see Dallas' DeMarcus Lawrence, Houston's J.J. Watt, New Orleans' Cameron Jordan, Carolina's Julius Peppers, Philly's Brandon Graham, Atlanta's Vic Beasley and Washington's Ryan Kerrigan.

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Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Here are the key takeaways from Giants head coach Pat Shurmur's Wednesday press conference...

On the status of Olivier Vernon:

"OV will be out there running around today, so you'll get a chance to see for yourselves. We'll see. He's making good progress, he's going to do more this week than he did last week and we're hopeful that he'll be back soon."

Tags: Olivier Vernon, Danny Abriano
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Saquon Barkley (26) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Saquon Barkley (26) Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

It's been months since Saquon Barkley heard his name called by the Giants in the 2018 NFL Draft. He has been through training camp and broke out his first highlight-reel play for his first career NFL touchdown on Sunday against the Jaguars. 

But flashbacks will come for the 21-year-old this Sunday night when he travels back to Dallas to face the Cowboys for his first taste of the heated rivalry. The Draft took place in AT&T Stadium, and when Barkley donned his new NFL jersey through its halls, he heard Cowboys fans shout, "We'll see you back here soon!"

"That is when it hit me," Barkley told Newsday's Tom Rock.

Tags: Saquon Barkley
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Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Olivier Vernon (54) Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Giants OLB Olivier Vernon will return to practice on Wednesday, coach Pat Shurmur said on WFAN.

Vernon missed the team's season opener against the Jaguars with a sprained ankle.

"He'll be out there this week," Shurmur said on WFAN. "He's getting closer. He's a fast healer, from what I'm told, and he's going to be at practice [Wednesday] and throughout."

Tags: Olivier Vernon
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Michael Strahan Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)
Michael Strahan Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports (Brett Davis)

Former Giants DE and Hall of Famer Michael Strahan never had the thought to kneel during the national anthem during his playing days. But, with that narrative in the league today, he does have an idea as to what he would do if he still strapped on his pads. 

Making an appearance on "The Ellen Show" with Ellen DeGeneres, Strahan was questioned if he would kneel or not, and he thinks the answer would have been yes. 

"You know, I don't know," Strahan said at first. "I think I would have, I think I would have."

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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley runs for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley runs for a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

As if breaking multiple tackles in his 68-yard touchdown run wasn't impressive enough, Giants rookie running back Saquon Barkley has another accomplishment.

The No. 2 pick out of Penn State was named the most elusive running back in Week 1, according to Pro Football Focus.

PFF measures elusive rating to determine which players are the most difficult to tackle. It takes missed tackles, total number of touches and yards per carry after contact into account, and Barkley's long touchdown run was a big proponent in that.

Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars
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Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Here are the key takeaways from Giants head coach Pat Shurmur's Monday press conference...

On the job status of Ereck Flowers, who Shurmur did not contemplate moving on Sunday:

"Like I said, he's like every player. I think I know where you're going with this, he's like every player. He had a lot of really good plays and he had a couple that he'd like to have back. ... He had the tripping penalty and then on the hold, and that happens frequently, the quarterback scrambled, which was good, and unfortunately there's times when those holds occur. That was the gist of it the first drive. ... He's like every player. Again, he had a lot of really good reps and he had a couple he'd like to have back. He's going to work to get better just like every player."

Tags: Ereck Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., Danny Abriano
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New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (74) blocks during an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns. (AP)
New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (74) blocks during an NFL preseason football game against the Cleveland Browns. (AP)

Ereck Flowers did not acquit himself well against the Jaguars during the Giants' Week 1 loss, in what was his first regular season game after switching from left tackle to right tackle. And fans are not hiding their feelings.

"Ereck Flowers is a soon-to-be free agent, American football offensive tackle currently playing for the New York Giants of the National Football League," is what his Wikipedia entry (which has since been edited back) read after the game. Hat tip to reddit user Syckological...

Tags: Ereck Flowers, Danny Abriano
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Saquon Barkley's debut didn't get off to a flying start. On his first two NFL carries, he couldn't even break the line of scrimmage. He did nothing of note in the first half at all.

Yet somehow there was a feeling that something was different. Somehow, watching Barkley, everyone knew.

"I mean, I knew right away," said Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell, who helped tackle Barkley for no gain on the rookie's first run. "The first run and the first couple of times I tackled him, I said, 'This kid has something.'"

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. gestures after a first down catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. gestures after a first down catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said he has a new outlook on the game of football after he missed most of last season with a fractured ankle.

"I'm just in a different place," Beckham said after he recorded 11 catches for 111 yards in Sunday's 20-15 loss to the Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. "Once you see everything flash before you, and you don't know if you ae going to be the same person again, you don't know if football is going to be the same again, I got a different perspective."

Beckham, the star Giants receiver who signed a $95 million contract extension prior to the season to become the highest-paid wide receiver in the league, repeated how he spent night after night praying to get back onto the field for a game for the first time since Week 5 last year.

That he did.

Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars, Odell Beckham Jr.
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New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers blocks as Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Robert Ayers rushes during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers blocks as Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Robert Ayers rushes during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Giants have a $95 million wide receiver, a running back they took second overall in the NFL draft and a franchise quarterback they believe can still play for "years." They also have a tight end they took in the first round a year ago and another receiver they took in the second round in 2016.

Those are a lot of talented weapons they've invested in heavily.

And once again, it looks like any potential they have is going to be crushed behind a crumbling offensive line.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Shurmur and team comment on loss 00:01:32
Pat Shurmur, Eli Manning & Odell Beckham Jr. comment on the Giants season-opening loss to the Jaguars

The Giants had to settle for three field goals and were unable to take advantage of a scoring opportunity inside two minutes in a 20-15 loss to the Jaguars on Sunday afternoon. >> Box score

Down by five inside two minutes, Eli Manning led the Giants' offense down the field, but ulitmately a dropped pass by Sterling Shepard and a turnover on downs doomed the Giants' drive.

New York's defense managed to quickly stop the Jaguars to set up another potential final drive for the Manning and the offense, but Kaelin Clay muffed a punt with less than a minute remaining in the fourth to seal the win for Jacksonville.

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Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) drops back to pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) drops back to pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants spent the summer dreaming about what a healthy Odell Beckham could do for their offense when paired with Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard and a revived Eli Manning.

But it looks like the fix to their offensive problems isn't going to be as quick as they hoped.

The Giants' offense was surprisingly ugly in its debut under new coach Pat Shurmur on Sunday.

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Giants rookie RB Saquon Barkley sprinted down the right sideline for 68 yards to score his first NFL touchdown against the Jaguars on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Click below to watch the video

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants have only been to the playoffs once since their last Super Bowl championship, now seven seasons ago, and that trip didn't turn out well at all. They are intent on going back and lasting a little while sometime in the final few years of Eli Manning's career.

Will it be this year? The Giants believe they are loaded for a run and they are counting on a return to the postseason.

Here's a look at whether their postseason dreams are actually a realistic goal.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When training camp opened back in July, John Mara was admittedly still stuck in a "nightmare". It had been nearly seven months since the Giants had ended their disastrous 3-13 season. But the memories were still painfully fresh.

"I haven't gotten over last season quite yet," he said. "I have to be honest about it -- I did not see it coming. I felt very good this time last year. I think most of you predicted that we were going to have a great season, some of you even predicted we'd go to the Super Bowl. I wasn't quite buying into that but I certainly did not see 3-13 coming.

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Damon Harrison, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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