By: Timothy Haggerty
The New York Giants have been a tough team to forecast for the past few years. A lot of that can be attributed to the unpredictability of Eli Manning and unforeseen impacts. For example, their star defensive player blew off fingers a few years ago (Jason Pierre-Paul), they subtly drafted one of the best receivers in football (Odell Beckham Jr.), and a second round safety they traded up to take two years ago is now arguably the best in the game at his position (Landon Collins).
The Giants made a big splash this offseason adding Brandon Marshall to an already deadly passing game. Marshall had an off year last year, but a lot of his struggles could be attributed to the poor situation he was in with the Jets. Between quarterback struggles and a hostile locker room, Marshall was never in a position to succeed.
They also drafted tight end Evan Engram out of Ole Miss in the first round. Engram has wide receiver speed at the end which could be lethal for opposing defenses. Pair him with Beckham Jr, Marshall, and Shepard, and it will certainly be a show.
Last year the Giants went 10-6, and many expect them to improve. NFL.com’s latest power rankings have the Giants at six, ESPN’s has them at 11, and Bleacher Report’s has them at two. However, it’s plausible that the Giants won’t even have a better record this year.
The Giants played one of the easiest schedules in the NFL last year. This year, they play one of the toughest.
Out of their 10 wins last season, eight of them were against teams that inevitably missed the playoffs. Out of all 16 games, only five of them were against playoff teams. The Giants even lost three times to non-playoff teams.
This year’s schedule is much, much tougher. They play six games against former playoff teams, and that doesn’t include the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, and Philadelphia Eagles twice, all teams that are expected to be better or are fringe playoff teams this year. The only ‘easy’ games come against the Chargers, 49ers, and Rams. The travel isn’t easy either, as the Giants have three games on the west coast and a fourth in Denver.
The New York Giants had one of the league’s worst running games last year, and they didn’t do a whole lot to improve it.
Paul Perkins seems like he will be the lead back for the Giants this year. He will be backed up by Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa. This is the same core as last year without Rashad Jennings. Unless Perkins breaks out, this is not what you want to see.
The offensive line struggled last year too and that didn’t get a major upgrade either. D.J. Fluker was a nice add that gives them more depth if someone goes down on the right side. A lot of the offensive line will depend on how guys like Justin Pugh and Ereck Flowers improve, if they even improve at all.
The New York Giants are going to be very dependent on everyone to be healthy this year. Any injury could really unravel things. The offense relies on the many options of the passing game, if anyone goes down they lose the variety that will kill teams. Eli Manning’s health is the absolute most important thing on the offense, with no bright option other than him at quarterback.
With the defense, they could maybe afford an injury on the line, but otherwise they need the health all around. They aren’t deep enough to lose players left and right.
Any injury will significantly hurt the team. I know predictions don’t account for players getting hurt as they shouldn’t, but it would derail any hopes of the Giants going far into the winter.
I really think the New York Giants are going to be a top ten team this year. It’s so tough to say where, as a lot of this team’s power is yet to be seen.
If the defense continues where it left off and the offense is as lethal as we think, they could be a 13 win team. For now, I will play it safe and say they win 11 games, with the losses coming from Philadelphia, Oakland, Kansas City, Arizona, and Seattle.