5 things New York Giants must fix to beat Seattle on Monday night and turn the season around

5 things NY Giants must fix to beat Seattle on Monday night and turn the season around


They were embarrassed by the Cowboys and outclassed by the 49ers, both in prime time, and needed a comeback of epic proportions to rally from 21 points down in the third quarter to stun the Cardinals for their only victory.

And realize this: when the Giants take the field for their next game, the calendar will have already flipped to October.

Brian Daboll wants his team – players and coaches alike – to embrace the process over results, but not without urgency to every detail, every step along the way as the most critical stretch of their season approaches.

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll reacts on the sideline during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

Up next: three games against opponents that were also in the playoffs a year ago, beginning with the Seahawks on Monday night at MetLife Stadium followed by road dates at AFC East powers Miami and Buffalo in consecutive weeks, the latter again in prime time in a return to Orchard Park for Daboll, general manager Joe Schoen and many others now calling the Giants’ organization home.

“You have to live in the moment in our profession,” Daboll said Tuesday morning. “You have to address the things that need to be addressed each week. Every year is different. Every week is different. It’s a week-to-week league, so stay in the moment, focus on the things we need to improve on, all of us, and that’s what we try to do every week. There’s urgency every week. Every game is a one-game season. You just focus on what you can do every week, prepare the right way and ultimately go out there and perform the right way.”

Here’s a look at the five things the Giants (1-2) must fix to beat the Seahawks (2-1) on Monday night and turn around their season:

Can anyone tackle on this team?

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs during a game against the New York Giants, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

The Giants have missed 31 tackles on the season, according to Pro Football Focus, including a staggering 16 in their 30-12 loss to the 49ers. You can’t compete with the NFL’s best teams if you can’t get the fundamentals straight.

San Francisco features Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, three of the most difficult players in the league to take down. That’s ultimately true, and was a factor in the Giants’ struggles. But the Seahawks also have two of the most physical players in running back Kenneth Walker and wide receiver DK Metcalf.

“That’s not why we lost two games,” Giants safety and co-captain Xavier McKinney said on a video call Monday. “We have to be better with [tackling]. The fundamentals matter, and we have to be a lot better in that aspect — which we will. But that’s not the reason why the games are going how they’re going. I’m not going to stress too much over that because I know that we’re a good tackling team. Obviously, we’re just going through a little hiccup, but, like I said, we’ll correct it and we’ll keep moving forward.”

The Giants held a walkthrough practice Tuesday, albeit at an increased pace, but they won’t be back in full pads again until Thursday, the first of three consecutive practice in advance of their Seattle showdown.

The tackling issues are also part of the fallout from another aspect of their defensive game that needs to improve.

Stop chasing plays

The Giants have zero takeaways and the players are well aware of that. Co-captain Leonard Williams even cautioned against pushing too hard to create turnovers and get sacks – the Giants got their first two sacks against the 49ers – and how playing outside of the defensive system could create more problems.

There’s no question Williams is on to something. Far too often the Giants have gone for strips with defenders punching at the football instead of wrapping up, leading to what is essentially free yardage they can’t afford to yield.

The Giants love to blitz under Wink Martindale, and that’s not going to change, nor should it, quite frankly. They need to find a way to take advantage of what they do best. This scheme didn’t change overnight. But pressing to force turnovers in this league and chasing plays rather than just making the routine ones can be a death knell to a team that is still trying to discover its own identity.

Too predictable

This applies to both sides of the ball.

Creativity. Versatility. Schematically advanced to cause problems for the other team.

A team that is as well-coached as the Giants needs to keep the opposition guessing. Last season, they had somewhat of an advantage early on being a first-year staff. Maybe the other team deserves credit for making the Giants play the way they have, searching for answers for 10 of the 12 quarters played this year

But when the roster is constructed the way it is, and the staff wants to find ways to scheme to players’ skill sets, this has to produce something tangible every week. That’s not happening right now, and it has to change.

Slow starts

The Giants have trailed at halftime in their three games by a combined score of 77-6. That, of course, is not good.

They stressed starting fast all offseason, but slow starts have doomed this team so far.

The Giants have opened the third quarter trailing by 26, 20 and 11 points, respectively. That’s complementary football of the worst kind with both sides of the ball contributing. Time to flip that script, and especially at home Monday, considering the crowd could turn very quickly again if the struggles continue early.

Get healthy

New York Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas (78) sets to block during an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Daboll offered up a promising update when it pertains to the injury front: they’re getting better. Not many details beyond that, of course, with the first official injury report not due until Thursday.

But here are some notable tidbits:

Saquon Barkley (ankle) has progressed into the “day to day” category, according to Daboll. Obviously his presence would be a big boost to the offense, but after Barkley clarified his status last Thursday night on the Amazon Prime Video broadcast by saying he had a high ankle sprain and not the low ankle sprain that had been widely reported and confirmed, how he responds later this week will go a long way toward determining his status.

Andrew Thomas (hamstring) should be back at left tackle after missing the two games in Arizona and San Francisco. Thomas said he feels good and it sounds like he expects to return Monday night, but also cautioned that he has not practiced in pads yet. So that comes Thursday, and after that, he’ll have a better idea of just how ready he will be. Doctors told Thomas his hamstring could’ve lingered had he pushed it last week, so that was a factor, as was anticipated.

Meanwhile, Ben Bredeson is in the final stages of concussion protocol, and the Giants are hopeful he will gain clearance and be available to return to his spot at left guard by week’s end.

If Thomas and Bredeson are back in the lineup, Daboll indicated that Marcus McKethan would remain the starter at right guard and Joshua Ezeudu would be the Giants’ top reserve at four different spots not including center.

There’s the expectation that cornerback Tae Banks (arm) and outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (hamstring) will also be available against the Seahawks, although Daboll was not asked about Ojulari directly. The immediate availability of defensive tackle D.J. Davidson (elbow) is also uncertain.

Banks told NorthJersey.com after Tuesday’s walkthrough that he’s still getting treatment on his upper arm for a deep bruise, but everything checked out over the weekend and he expects to play this week without limitation. First practice of the week is Thursday, so we’ll see then whether his participation is limited.


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