Eli Manning and offense coordinator Kevin McBride in a sideline meeting during their one-sided loss in Denver (33735)

The issues confronting the Giants run deeper than the 0-3 hole they have dug themselves into.

Suspend for a moment the thought that virtually no team over the last four decades has made the playoffs after losing their first three games of the season. Or that the odds of them sinking to 0-4 having to play the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday are well over 50 percent.

Any discussion of the Giants making the postseason is immaterial given their immediate concerns, which are vast. Sunday’s 38-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers illuminated what many Giants loyalists either turned a blind eye to or developed an unhealthy sense of denial for while watching their team struggle through the preseason: The foundation of their attack on both sides of the ball, the offensive and defensive lines, is abysmal.

“Overall, disappointing is not a strong enough word,” said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin following his team’s uninspired defeat. “I expected more.”

Consequently, at this juncture, less than a fourth of the way into the season, the prospects of a dramatic turnaround are unfavorable. Already, the Giants look aged and overmatched in the trenches. The offensive line has been unable to protect their quarterback Eli Manning and the defensive front is a non-threat to the opposition’s signal caller.

Those who watched the Giants in the preseason should have had some reservations regarding their ability to be a Super Bowl contender given the uncertainties they faced. Their offensive line—a unit that was under scrutiny last season—sustained key injuries to center David Bass and tackle David Diehl. Furthermore, a broken leg sustained by running back Andre Brown severely disabled an already suspect running game and marred the Giants’ pass protection, with second-year back David Wilson and little-used Da’Rel Scott straining in their blitz pick-up assignments.

Defensively, offseason back surgery to the supremely gifted defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul has had considerable ramifications. The Giants are devoid of the pass rush. With Pierre-Paul endeavoring to regain explosiveness, there are no players in the mold of the Dallas Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware or the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt to destabilize opposing game plans.

There is still hope the Giants can creep back into the playoff hunt. Let’s just not talk about it now.