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Behind Enemy Lines: What's The Biggest Issue Facing The Giants?


The Eagles host the New York Giants in the home opener at Lincoln Financial Field this Sunday at 1 p.m. The Eagles are coming off a tough loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, the Giants are looking to avoid an 0-3 start to the season which would include two losses in the division. Over the previous 26 seasons, only 12 percent of the teams that open the season with two losses make it to the postseason.

For a look at what's going on with the Giants, here are four questions with Jordan Raanan, who is the ESPN NFL Nation Giants reporter. You can follow him on Twitter **@JordanRaanan**.*

1. What is the primary issue facing the Giants?

Raanan: "Their offense is a mess right now. Go check the numbers, any number. They've scored 13 points in two games. They've run for less than 100 yards. They've allowed eight sacks. They're averaging just over 5 yards per passing play.

"None of this is good, and most of these are problems that stretch back to last year. The Giants have now gone eight straight games without reaching 20 points. Their problems from last year apparently haven't been fixed, beginning with their leaky offensive line.

"The Giants can't protect their quarterback off the edges. Left tackle Ereck Flowers has already allowed four sacks and been flagged for a holding penalty in the two losses. Right tackle Bobby Hart has been dealing with ankle problems and missed most of Monday night's matchup with the Lions. The Giants could be slapping a new offensive line combination together for Sunday afternoon."

2. Is Eli Manning affected more by the lack of a run game or the O-line struggles?

Raanan: "Wow, pick your poison. Both severely damage his effectiveness. Manning has never been a mobile quarterback. He's 36 and less mobile than ever now. He has lived off play-action passes throughout his career, but the offensive line struggles seem to be in his head. The veteran quarterback is seeing ghosts at times. It's almost as if he's rushing in anticipation of there being pressure even when there isn't. That's never good for a quarterback.

"Manning is on the back nine of his career though. He doesn't navigate the pocket well and needs time to do damage. So the offensive line struggles are really debilitating. It prevents Manning and the Giants' offense from moving the ball consistently."

3. What's Janoris Jenkins' status and how much of an impact was it not having him against Detroit?

Raanan: "Jenkins is dealing with an ankle injury and wasn't at the Giants walk-through on Wednesday. He will likely be a game-time decision. Jenkins came out last week and gave it a try before the game. The thinking was that he wasn't healthy enough for Monday against the Lions, but if they gave him the week to rest it should be ready for the Eagles. We'll see.

"Jenkins' absence was huge, and not in the way most would assume. The Giants held Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to 122 yards passing. Ross Cockrell did well in coverage against rookie Kenny Golladay. It was in the run game where Jenkins was sorely missed. Cockrell and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie combined to miss a handful of tackles on the edges. Two of those turned into long runs of over 20 yards. Jenkins is among the best cover and tackling cornerbacks in the league. Those plays wouldn't have happened if he was in the lineup."

4. If you're a Giants fan, what is the biggest reason for optimism after the 0-2 start?

Raanan: "Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is getting healthier. It has almost been five weeks now since he injured his ankle in a preseason contest against the Cleveland Browns. Beckham practiced last week and played Monday night for the first time since the injury. He was limited, and not his normal, dominant self.

"When Beckham is right, he can carry the offense. He's done it for the past three years. He's a dynamic playmaker that can do it all. The Giants will look way more competent and dangerous once he's closer to full strength. Add that big-play ability to a defense that has allowed just three touchdowns the first two weeks of the season and Giants fans have reason to believe this group will turn it around before it's too late."

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