Giants lose to Cowboys 36-31

Giants give the ball and the game away to Cowboys in season opener

9/9/13 in NFL   |   ZacWassink   |   74 respect

Sep 8, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsOdds are that a team that turns the football over six times isn't winning that game.

There's a lot to be said for not pushing any panic buttons after four quarters of meaningful football. After all, the New York Giants have twice won the Super Bowl after dropping the season opener to the Dallas Cowboys as they did on Sunday night. Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season did show that Big Blue have some serious gaps, problems that have no quick fixes and ones will need to be addressed if New York is to compete for even a playoff spot this year.

It should be pointed out that it wasn't all bad for the Giants at Dallas. Victor Cruz began paying back part of that big contract he signed this summer with a five-grab and three-touchdown outing, but I was even more impressed by the performances of Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle. Both New York wide receivers reeled in five Eli Manning passes and both also accumulated over 100 receiving yards. Perhaps most important was that the often-injured Nicks didn't appear to be at all slowed down by the groin injury that plagued him throughout training camp. That's one down and 15 to go for the Giants WR who is in a contract year.

Manning is going to need his top-three wide receivers and tight end Brandon Myers to be 100 percent and at their best every game, because he does not, at the moment, have a reliable option in the backfield. David Wilson, thought by many to be on the verge of a breakout season, had a nightmare evening. He fumbled the ball away twice, and he ultimately found himself benched by head coach Tom Coughlin for the second consecutive year.

With Andre Brown lost to injury until at least Week 10, the underwhelming Da'Rel Scott is, in theory, currently New York's No. 1 running back. Numerous reports have stated that the team could sign Willis McGahee and/or former Giant Brandon Jacobs as soon at this Tuesday. Michael Turner also remains unsigned following the first Sunday of the regular season. While New York certainly needs help at the position, none of those individuals provide the team with the caliber of running back the Giants need moving forward.

Coughlin and his staff have a history of improving running backs who suffer from fumbleitis. Tiki Barber and Ahmad Bradshaw are the two examples that immediately come to mind. It is unrealistic to expect Manning to throw for over 400 yards per game. He needs a dependable starting running back that he can fall back on 15 to 20 times per game. Manning doesn't have that for the first time in his NFL career, and that's going to mean bad times for this offense if Wilson doesn't find the cure to what is ailing him.

There's little to complain about how the New York defense played at Dallas. That unit allowed only 331 total yards, and it surrendered a single touchdown in the second half of play. While the offense and special teams hung it out to dry time and time again, the Giants defense stepped up and made the necessary plays to keep Big Blue in the game up until the final minute. It also nearly knocked Tony Romo out of the contest before halftime. You couldn't ask for much else.

What's most upsetting isn't that the Giants lost to a hated rival. It's that there is little evidence to show that the better team won the game. New York gift-wrapped a victory for the hosts, and yet the Giants were still but a dramatic trademark fourth quarter Eli Manning drive away from stealing a win before a fluke pick-six ended their hopes of a rally. So the Giants lost by five points to the Cowboys.

All things considered, the game never should have been that close.

More: NY Giants season preview

Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview