The Giants surprised many with an 11-5 record last year, but I do wonder if there is more to read into the Green Bay postseason loss than the 11-5 record, as they also lost to the Packers in the regular season as well as the Steelers.
Offense: Eli Manning threw 26 TDs and 16 picks. That is not a good ratio when you consider this was a 29th ranking rushing attack. For longtime NFL fans the thought of a Giants team rushing for 88 yards a game has to boggle the mind. To try and correct that, the Giants brought in DJ Flucker, who has yet to play up to potential, and 2 free agents, as well as spent a 4th rounder on adding running backs. I don’t know if adding bodies other than a roadgrading tackle was the best use of the offseason. The Giants did add more weapons for Eli in Brandon Marshall and first round tight-end Evan Engram. Again, I get the feeling this was trying to improve that 17th ranked passing, but when the game gets tight the Giants are not going to be able to kill the clock.
Defense: Now we are talking. 2nd in points allowed. Eli and Odell got all the love, but this is why the team got 11 wins. Jason Pierre-Paul and Vernon Oliver might be one of the best duos in the NFC, and Damon Harrison was just a terror to run near. For some reason Johnathan Hankins left, either due to the player or the office, but he has a second-rounder looking to step into those big shoes. The second level is by far the weakest unit, and the middle linebacker position is going to have to be figured out as we go.
Looking at the secondary, I must apologize to Eli Apple, who broke my streak of calling a top 10 bust correctly in a major way. His tag team partner Janoris Jenkins was worth every penny of his contract. Landon Collins went to the Pro Bowl, and Darian Thompson should be back to full health after foot surgury. This group is one of the best in the NFL.
Special Teams: The coverage units are a disappointment, and they have a rookie at kicker. Brad Wing seems to be improving as a punter.
Overall: Somehow I get the feeling that the Giants are not for real. Stopping them from scoring doesn’t seem to be that hard. Scoring on them is the problem. This isn’t basketball where I can make the Small Forward beat me. I can’t run inside and I can’t run outside, I can’t throw deep or over the middle. Outside of trapping off a linebacker or spit a tight-end out there, how do you exploit the middle when there is so much speed on the back-end? I can’t throw to the running back 20 times. I have to have a dynamic WR that can win once or twice and/or a QB that can thread needles.
I give them 3 wins in the division. 2 wins in the NFC West, and 2 in the AFC West. The fun ones are the bonus games with Tampa and Detroit. I’m giving them both to the opponents. 7-9.
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