NFL Panic Index 2017, Week 2: The Giants can’t win without Odell Beckham Jr.

Last season, the Giants had the Cowboys’ number. Until the Dallas starters all got the final week of the season off against the Eagles, the Giants had been the only team to hand them a loss — and they did it twice.

One week into the new season, 2017 is already different. Not only did the Cowboys dominate the Week 1 matchup, but the Giants looked completely lifeless on offense. A 46-yard drive in garbage time got the offense above the 200-yard mark, and if not for a field goal in the third quarter, they would have been shut out.

Then again, the Giants were missing their most valuable weapon on offense: Odell Beckham Jr. The dynamic wide receiver missed just his second game since 2015, and just like the first time, the Giants couldn’t get much going on offense. Eli Manning especially missed his top receiver. Manning threw for just 220 yards and was picked off once Sunday night. Two seasons ago against the Vikings, he totaled just 234 yards without Beckham in a 49-17 blowout loss.

And the Bills are sitting at No. 2, and the Patriots are third after losing to the Chiefs in Week 1 and beating the Saints in Week 2, which is a dubious honor. Nobody’s surprised that the Jets are bring up the rear here.

Perhaps my love stems from the fact that I grew up a soccer player, an undersized one at that (what up, late puberty!), and the only way I could have any type of participatory fantasy regarding the NFL was to imagine myself a kicker. Other kids my age dreamed of being Joe Montana, tossing that perfect spiral to the end zone. Others saw themselves as Lawrence Taylor, bursting into the backfield and laying down a bone-crunching hit.
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