Title: 32 Teams in 32 Days: New York Giants
What to expect
The New York Giants are relishing in the news of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension. Although the Giants did a good job last season containing Zeke the Freak , an offense with no Elliott makes it easier on the defense.
New York will feature some new faces on the offensive side of the ball. They added veteran receiver Brandon Marshall to their receiving corps. The Giants also used their first-round draft pick on tight end Evan Engram. Engram brings speed and habitual mismatches to the Giants tight end position. Although his blocking skills aren’t the best, Engram will be a productive member of the receiving group.
And then, there’s this guy.
— New York Giants🔵 (@NYGiantsHQ) August 14, 2017
Odell Beckham Jr. created more than waves when he went on the record stating he aimed to be the highest paid player in the league. Beckham will take advantage of Marshall’s presence, Engram’s mismatches, and Sterling Shepard’s crisp and sudden route maneuvers. Shepard suffered what initially appeared to be a serious injury in training camp. He returned to practice and appeared good to go. He will feed off of the attention given to Beckham and Marshall. With OBJ spending time practicing one-handed catches, 2017 may have its share of highlight reel moments.
Defensively, the Giants will look just about the same as they did last year. That is a good thing. Safety Landon Collins’ play continues to ascend. The secondary remains a position of strength for this Giants team. Janoris Jenkins had a solid season last year in his first with the G-men. He’ll look to repeat and help New York contend for the NFC East crown. Eli Apple looked like a rookie at times, but really came into his own as an important member of this secondary. He’ll look to build off his 49 tackles, one interception going into 2017.
New York lost stout run defender, Johnathan Hankins, to the Indianapolis Colts. His presence in the middle will be missed. Hankins started all 16 games and was a force on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants signed former Buffalo Bills DT Corbin Bryant. Bryant spent time in Chicago and Pittsburgh. Bryant will probably not give the team what Hankins did, but he’s displayed enough flashes of disruption to prove he will contribute. He’ll help big bodied Damon Harrison clog the middle of the line.
Having Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon on the edge provide a relentless pass rush. In combination with New York’s secondary – and decent play from the linebacker corps – this defense will be tough.
The Giants will have a solid season and will be competing for the NFC East. My bet is the division comes down to the Cowboys and the Giants. Although the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins will earn division wins here and there, the Giants remain the biggest threat to the Cowboys.
Schedule walk through
Week 1: VS./@ Dallas Cowboys
The Giants ruin the Cowboys home opener, which is something they’ve done before. New York’s receiving corps will be problematic for the young Cowboys secondary. OBJ will shine and benefit from the additional receiving threats added in the offseason.
Week 2: VS./ DETROIT LIONS
Eli and company host the Detroit Lions. The offense runs like a well-oiled machine and the defense forces QB Matthew Stafford to turnover the ball, maybe twice. The Giants win big.
Week 3. VS./@ Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants travel to Philly. The Eagles provide a tough division challenge. Rookie Derek Barnett introduces himself to Manning. QB Carson Wentz starts the season much like 2016, with a strong performance early on. The Giants drop this one, but it’s close.
Week 4. VS./@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
“Famous” Jameis shows off his new arsenal of pass catchers. One is a face the Giants are familiar with, in DeSean Jackson. This is a competitive contest and comes down to a QB mistake – and it’s not Eli.
Week 5. VS./ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Giants host the Chargers. Bosa is disruptive, but the Chargers offense struggles get in a rhythm. Giants win this one.
Week 6. VS./ @ Denver Broncos
Denver will play New York tough. With uncertainty at QB, the offense is handled by the New York Football Giants. The Broncos defense keep the game close.
Week 7. VS./ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Russell Wilson finds a way to dissect the Giants defense. He takes what they give, and makes plays with his legs when he must. The Seahawks defense isn’t threatened by the Giants’ receiving corps. In the battle of the defenses, Seattle wins.
Week 8. BYE
Week 9. VS./ LOS ANGELES RAMS
Upset of the week. The Giants underestimate the Rams and Eli can’t escape the relentless rush of Aaron Donald. A flustered Manning makes a few errors and the Rams somehow come away with a win.
Week 10. VS./@ San Francisco 49ers
Manning cannot catch a break. After being tossed around by Donald in the previous week, he is brutalized again by Reuben Foster, Solomon Thomas, and any other defensive player wearing Red and Gold. An out of sync Eli means back-to-back losses.
Week 11. VS./ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Andy Reid has experience in facing the NFC East. The Giants have his number in Week 11 and win with a field goal in the closing minutes. Rumblings of a QB controversy in Kansas City are brewing.
Week 12. VS./@ Washington Redskins
Kirk Cousins leads his Redskins to a division win. OBJ and Josh Norman battle all game long, but the Giants offense struggles to score touchdowns and have to settle for field goals. It costs them the game.
Week 13. VS./@ Oakland Raiders
At this point in the season, the inconsistent Giants face a hot AFC contender. Derek Carr and the offense score. And score. And score. New York can’t stop them, and the Giants playoff hopes will depend how they finish the year.
Week 14. VS./ DALLAS COWBOYS
In the second meeting, the Cowboys are at full strength. Elliott has a big game as he looks to make up for missing the first division battle. The Giants defense hangs tough, but Elliott is relentless. A late Eli Manning turnover will be the difference in this one, as the Giants split the series with Dallas.
Week 15. VS./ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
The Giants are in playoffs-or-bust mode. Beckham demands the ball. Manning feeds him. This recipe puts up a pair of touchdowns. Engram has a solid game as he finds the end zone with Philly’s focused solely on stopping OBJ. New York Wins.
Week 16. VS./@ Arizona Cardinals
The offense continues to put points on the board, although the Arizona defense make it difficult. The Giants benefit from the Cardinals failing to find create any offensive momentum.
Week 17. VS./ WASHINGTON REDSKINS
The Giants get revenge against Washington when in matters the most. A win secures a wild card berth. Cousins and the ‘Skins are trying to play the spoilers, but the Giants are just too focused. They find a way into the playoffs and with the offense finding its’ stride, nobody wants any part of New York in the post season
- Eli Manning – 4200 yards, 31 touchdowns, 19 interceptions
- Odell Beckham Jr. – 1500 yards, 18 touchdowns
- Brandon Marshall – 980 yards, 8 touchdowns
- Landon Collins – 7 interceptions
- Jason Pierre-Paul – 5 sacks
- Sterling Shepherd – 780 yards, 7 touchdowns
- Evan Engram – 850 yards, 4 touchdowns
- Eli Apple – 4 interceptions
- Wayne Gallmanv- 860 yards, 8 touchdowns
Originally, I predicted the Cowboys would win the division. With the news of Elliott’s suspension, I think that is questionable now. I’ll stick to my pick with Dallas as the NFC East champs, but the Giants will earn a playoff spot.
Ceiling-12-4 – The Giants have the talent on both sides of the ball. If they can avoid being inconsistent, the potential is their to secure a top seed in the NFC.
Floor-7-9 – They split with their division and are not the same team week in and week out. The receiving corps dramatics are difficult for Manning to deal with. A lack of running game make the team one dimensional and unsuccessful.
If this team can avoid an Eli Manning collapse, they could make it as far as the NFC Championship game. I don’t expect they will win it, however.
But, Manning is full of post season surprises.