NFL Season Prediction: New York Giants
Justin Tuck (DE)
Hakeem Nicks (WR)
Kevin Booth (OL)
David Diehl (OL)
Linval Joseph (DT)
Ryan Mundy (S)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (CB)
Walter Thurmond (CB)
Robert Ayers (DT)
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR)
Geoff Schwartz (OL)
JD Walton (OL)
Kellen Davis (TE)
Rashard Jennings (RB)
Ben McAdoo (OC)
The New York Giants are coming off a disappointing 2013 season where they found themselves scrambling to finish 7-9 in a dismal NFC East. The NFC East has been known as one of the best divisions in football for quite some time now. Last year was a completely different story with the East being regarded as one of the softest divisions in the NFL with all teams struggling to finish above .500. The Giants attempted to address that this offseason by completely dismantling their team and rebuilding it from the ground brick by brick.
The first step is one that should have happened a long time ago and that was the ‘retirement’ of Kevin Gilbride. Even at points during the Giants last Superbowl winning season their offense looked inept and the defense carried them through the season.
Gilbride was famous around MetLife Stadium for terrible play calling, bad running, and worse passing offense. They hope all of that changes this year with the hiring of Packers’ quarterback coach Ben McAdoo. He is known for helping Aaron Rodgers to an amazing season with a high paced balanced offense. He likes quick reads and quick releases. This plan should get Eli Manning back on track after coming off his worst season of his professional career. Eli has had ups and downs in preseason as he and the rest of the team learns the new offense and more importantly learns to play together on the same page.
There is no doubt that getting the ball out of Manning’s hand quicker will help him stay off the ground and reduce the turnovers they were so prone to last year. It is safe to say that the majority of Manning’s problems last year started up front in the trenches. The offensive line was so inconsistent there were times Eli literally did not have one second to go through a progression. The starters were plagued with injuries and shuffled around all season long. The Giants started to address that with the signing of Geoff Schwartz and JD Walton. They also drafted Weston Richburg out of Colorado State who was regarded as one of the top Centers coming out of the draft. He is likely to see starting time this year with a solid showing so far in training camp and preseason.
Another problem that Manning and the Giants had with the offense last year was the balance. There was a point in time that all Giants fans will remember where power running was our bread and butter. The Giants have had one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL in the past few seasons. Thirteen out of sixteen games last year the Giants leading rusher ran for under 81 yards. Eight of those games the leading rusher did not even manage to accrue 50 yards. This puts way to much pressure on the passing game to excel and move them down the field. This is another area that the Giants looked at this offseason and worked to improve. They signed Raiders back Rashard Jennings in free agency as well as drafted stand out back Andre Williams out of Boston College in the fourth round. With the resigning of Peyton Hillis it is obvious that Coach Coughlin and Ben McAdoo will bring the Giants power running game back to the NFL East.
The Giants wide receivers did not have a good season last year and fans hope the new offense will bring new life to some existing players. The Giants are not overly upset at the loss of Hakeem Nicks. Despite a couple productive years the Giants were not willing to resign the injury plagued malcontent wide receiver. Jerry Reese believes that Ruben Randle has the skills to step up and fill the void in the two spot.
The depth on defense has been an issue for a couple years now with the Big Blue. The Giants signed a number of defensive backs including Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond who both made Superbowl appearances last year. With the key additions and the strong play of Prince Amukamara the defensive backs finally have the depth needed to make it through a brutal 16 game season in the NFC East.
Jameel McClain, Robert Ayers, and the resigning of Jon Beason will help bolster a strong front seven. With Kiwanuka returning to the defensive line position with a recovering Jason Pierre-Paul the front line hopes to get after the passer this year like they have in the past.
The biggest problem with the Giants this upcoming year will be simply learning to play together. A lot of the players on this team have never played together before and an entire new offense. There will be bumps in the road and hurdles to overcome along the way. The Giants have taken a step in the right direction. Make no mistake; unless Coughlin and the coaching staff can mesh this team quicker than expected, the Giants are in no position to compete deep into the playoffs. They may be able to compete in a reeling NFC East though.
The Giants have some solid pieces in place but my final prediction for this season is…New York Giants 8-8.
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