Both teams got their doors blown off Sunday. The Giants were punked by the Carolina Panthers 38-0 while the Steelers got smacked by the Chicago Bears 40-23. At least the Giants’ ass-whupping was not on a national stage.
Looking at this from a strictly objectional point of view, the Giants’ and Steelers’ seasons are pretty much over. After all, only a handful of teams who start the season 0-3 make the playoffs – three to be exact. And missing the playoffs would be quite disappointing given the lofty expectations both teams carried heading into the 2013 season.
So now here’s the question that must be asked: how in the hell can both teams turn around their seasons?
Let’s start with the Giants.
New York must find themselves a running game to take the pressure off of Eli Manning. Sure Manning is a two-time winning Super Bowl QB, I get that. However, dude cannot do it himself. David Wilson has to continue to validate this first round selection and stop fumbling the damn ball. Hell the Giants are so desperate they brought back malcontent Brandon Jacobs, he of two yards on three carries. And that offensive line is horrible. Carolina had no business sacking Manning SIX TIMES IN THE FIRST HALF.
The Giants D has to start playing like the D of old. Only thing is, the depth along the defensive line has been compromised. Osi Umenyiora is no longer around to help create havoc on the pass rush. With studs like Jason Pierre-Paul playing at less than 100%, the Giants’ D-line is not nearly as strong as it used to be. As a result, the rest of the defense is getting exposed. The linebacker corps has been pedestrian at best, and the secondary is not something to shout about. Let’s face it, if your secondary allows Cam Newton to punk you to the tune of three touchdown passes, it’s not any good – period.
Now let’s end with my Steelers – Jesus Christ, where do I begin?
First of all, fire offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Ok, sure, the Steelers did better on offense statistically. They outgained the Bears 459-258, and QB Big Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 400 yards. However, the running game continues to be putrid. It only gained 80 yards on the ground, led by the immortal Jonathan Dwyer’s 39 yards on 12 carries. Rookie Le’Veon Bell cannot come back from injury soon enough. Oh, and that damn offensive line. Sure it hurts that stud center Maurkice Pouncey is out for the season. However, those two 2nd round draft picks on the O-line is simply not getting it done. I don’t know if it’s bad coaching or poor scouting, either way that’s an area that needs fixing FAST.
And of course, it didn’t help that Big Ben played like “Large Benjamin” in accounting for four of Pittsburgh’s turnovers, resulting in 17 points for Chicago.
Now the defense…
Statistically, the defense is playing well. It ranks in the top-5 statistically, which is all good – except it hasn’t been providing any “splash plays”. The defense 10 sacks this season, which ties for 4th in the AFC. Not bad, right? However, once again the Steelers’ D has not forced any turnovers – that’s right folks, ZERO, ZILCH – this season. When saddled with an offense that has its fair share of challenges, the defense needs to force more turnovers to help its offense.
Bottom line: we have not yet reached the first quarter of the season, and both teams could fix their problems and turn their seasons around. Given past history, I’m not counting on it…