The New York Giants finished the first half of the season with a 1-7 record. Here's a look at how they have fared and what's ahead:
First-half rewind: Anything that can go wrong, did go wrong. The Giants' offense has been worse than even the wildest expectations. They can't score points in a league when points are being scored at a record pace. The Giants have failed to top 20 points in five of eight games even with weapons such as Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard. The offensive line hasn't been able to protect (31 sacks allowed is tied for second in the NFL), and Eli Manning looks older and more beaten down by the week. He hasn't played well. Special teams hasn't either. The defense has been average. No wonder they are tied for the worst record in football. Grade: Bring on 2019
What is the Giants' biggest hole to fill? Franchise quarterback. There is no denying it at this point that the Giants have reached the end of the road with Manning. He's going to be 38 years old before this season's Super Bowl and hasn't played well in years while the team keeps losing at a record pace. Manning has eight touchdown passes in eight games. The Giants need to find their quarterback of the future after passing on Sam Darnold and others in this year's draft. They will have to find one in next year's draft or elsewhere. It's not going to be easy, and could take time, leaving GM Dave Gettleman exactly where he was hoping to avoid -- quarterback hell.
MVP: This was a tough choice between Beckham and Barkley. They're still producing at impressive levels. But Barkley has had slightly more impact in part because Beckham can't throw the ball to himself. Barkley is on pace for 1,038 yards rushing, an NFL running back-record 116 catches and 14 total touchdowns as a rookie. And there is little reason to believe he will slow down against lesser competition in the second half of the season.
Biggest surprise: The extent of left tackle Nate Solder's struggles were not expected. He was an above-average tackle with the New England Patriots. He has the third-lowest pass block win rate among offensive tackles through eight weeks, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That's not what the Giants or anyone expected when he signed a deal that was, at the time, a record for an offensive tackle. They need Solder to play better.
Hurdle to overcome: The Giants have to find a way to transition away from Manning. The locker room doesn't believe in him at this point. They need something to give them hope. Will it come in the second half of the season? Rookie Kyle Lauletta put a wrench in the situation with his arrest last week. We saw how hard it was last year for the organization to move on from Manning. Let's see if they can do it at some point in the second half of this season.