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Minus Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants don't look very good

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Put those Super Bowl aspirations on the back burner. The New York Giants have a lot of work to do to even be considered playoff contenders, let alone a Super Bowl threat.

They were outclassed in their season opener on the road by the division-rival Dallas Cowboys, albeit without wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., their best offensive weapon. He didn't play because of a sprained ankle.

But right now that may be the least of the Giants' concerns after a 19-3 loss to the Cowboys. The three points are the fewest the Giants have scored in a season opener during the Super Bowl era since 1995, which also came against Dallas.

The Giants' offensive line remains troubling, their run game impotent and their quarterback jittery and unable to make enough plays downfield. The Giants ran for 35 yards. Eli Manning threw for 33 yards in the first half. He finished 29-of-38 for 220 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. He was sacked three times and under constant pressure.

"No part of the offense was functional [Sunday]," coach Ben McAdoo said.

It's likely all the Giants' offensive struggles are intertwined, and maybe Beckham solves them all. Or maybe not. That's the hope.

"Yeah, it's not as good [without him]. I can say that," said wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who made his only reception of the game in the final seconds. "That's a once-in-a-lifetime player who will definitely make our offense better when he gets out there and healthy. Looking forward to playing with him and I'm sure he'll make us a lot better."

But Sunday night likely left some wondering if the Giants did enough in the offseason to fix an offense that wasn't very good last year, when they averaged a paltry 19.4 points per game. Do they have enough talent around Beckham to reach their intended goal of putting a fifth trophy in the case?

They didn't even get close to 19 points on Sunday night. The Giants crossed midfield just once. Marshall, an offseason acquisition, was nonexistent. He had one catch on four targets in his Giants debut. It came with 20 seconds remaining.

Tight end Evan Engram, the Giants' first-round pick, caught four passes for 44 yards, but he wasn't the deep threat down the middle of the field they promised. That's in part because Manning rarely pushed the ball deep downfield.

Again, maybe that changes when Beckham is on the field. Maybe not.

The Giants received a taste of life without Beckham when he was suspended for Week 16 of the 2015 season. That wasn't pretty (they were manhandled by the Minnesota Vikings). The Giants without Beckham left reason to doubt whether the supporting cast is really good enough. Many of the warts that plagued them last year still seem to exist.

The defense, which wore down at times in part because of the offense's struggles, may be able to carry the Giants with Beckham. It wasn't able to carry them without him. The defense was on the field for an astounding 47 plays in the first half. The Giants ran 19.

The Cowboys dominated the first half, outgaining the Giants 265-49. The Giants managed two first downs and didn't have Beckham to bail them out.

"Obviously he's a tremendous player, but we have players and we have to play better than that," Manning said. "We have to do a better job finding completions on third [down] and converting those third downs. We just have to do a better job."

Fortunately, he will be back soon enough. There is reason to believe Beckham will return Monday night when the Giants play the Detroit Lions. He was running some routes at close to full speed before the Sunday night's contest.

Sunday night was a chance for the Giants to prove they're a good team with or without Beckham. The results weren't encouraging.