ARLINGTON, Texas -- The New York Giants are going to have a problem. It's on the defensive side of the football, where a 35-17 season-opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys exposed their insufficient talent.
It didn't matter that Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott spent the summer in Cabo, Mexico. Or that Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott isn't Patrick Mahomes, even though he looked like it on Sunday afternoon. The Cowboys did whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted while compiling 494 total yards.
The Giants (0-1) need to find a way to make this young defensive unit serviceable. Quickly. They need to figure if Antonio Hamilton or DeAndre Baker can hold up at cornerback opposite Janoris Jenkins. They couldn't against the Cowboys.
And where can they create a pass rush? Prescott's jersey might still be without a scuff after he was barely touched by the Giants defensive front. Giants fans probably should have realized there would be a problem there when defensive coordinator James Bettcher explained this week that he was looking for a group effort to conjure enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Translation: That dude who is a consistent pass rush menace isn't on the roster.
Giants general manager Dave Gettleman needs to look in the mirror after watching the product on Sunday. What many of us already knew -- that the Giants don't have enough defensive talent on the roster -- became almost irrefutable.
Most teams have playmakers at every level. The Giants are still searching for one at any level. Sunday proved they're not even in the same stratosphere talent-wise as the Cowboys, especially defensively.
Troubling trend: The Giants' offense needs to run through Saquon Barkley to be successful. He's their big play waiting to happen. The Giants' only touchdown came on the drive where he ripped off a 59-yard run.
So why would the Giants not feed Barkley relentlessly? They got away from him in the second and third quarters Sunday when the game slipped away. Barkley had six touches for 87 yards in the first quarter. He had just six touches in the second and third quarters combined, including one touch for 3 yards in the second.
And then there was the third-and-2 and fourth-and-1 plays midway through the third quarter where Barkley inexplicably didn't touch the ball. That can't happen. The Giants need to feed Barkley if they want to sustain consistent offense moving forward.
Silver lining: The good news is this was easily the Giants' hardest game of their opening four-game stretch. That Dallas team is talented, deep and primed to compete. New York's next three opponents aren't in the same league as the Cowboys.
The Giants should have more success at home against the Buffalo Bills, on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and home against the Washington Redskins. That will be the real test of whether they can avoid their third straight season of ineptitude.