The Giants finished with an 11-5 record in 2016 but that was only good for a wild card playoff and a road game in Green Bay that ended badly. The reason is that the Cowboys 13-3 record prevented what was a solid team from even getting a home game.
The Giants even accounted for two of the losses by Dallas and yet it just wasn’t good enough so the prospect that Elliott will bring them down a peg is good news for the men in blue.
One of the team’s biggest problems last year was the lack of consistency on offense. New York finished 25th in total offense despite two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning at quarterback and superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
Manning has often been inconsistent but did have a decent season statistics wise with 4,027 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. The problem is that he threw 16 interceptions. Chucking balls to the guys in the other colored uniforms have plagued Peyton’s younger brother throughout his career.
He does, however, have those two Super Bowl wins against the New England Patriots dynasty, the only two such losses in Tom Brady’s career and both were the result of Manning’s play so you can’t take those rings away from him.
The fact is that he is aging and at 36-years-old may not have much left in the tank in terms of career longevity. To borrow a term from his famous Hall of Fame brother, this could be his last rodeo.
The Giants biggest offensive problem as it has been through the duration of Manning’s career is the lack of a serious running game to take some of the pressure off of him. In 2016, the Giants finished a horrific 29th in rushing.
Their leading runner Rashad Jennings only had 593 yards and after being cut, managed to go on to win the title in the popular ABC talent show, “Dancing With the Stars” which may be a better career for him than as a starter in the NFL. He’s 32-years-old anyway.
The team drafted former Clemson star Wayne Gallman in the fourth round and at this point, he’s the cream of the crop despite never having started a pro-football game.
The flamboyant Beckham Jr. is promising to not hold out for a new contract and the Giants added veteran Brandon Marshall via free agency from the crosstown Jets. They also grabbed Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram in the first round of the draft so Manning shouldn’t be lacking for targets.
Beckham, in particular, should be looking for redemption after his playoff stinker against Green Bay. He caught hell for going to Miami to take a ride on pop star Ricky Martin’s party boat the week before the game and wants to put the rest any lingering perceptions that he let his teammates down.
The offensive line continues to be a problem area and the Giants chose not to address it via the draft.
Defensively the Giants are solid but not spectacular. They finished tenth overall and were especially good at stuffing the run, ranking third in run defense.
Pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul rebounded off of an embarrassing fireworks mishap and leads the front four. The linebackers are solid if unspectacular and the secondary isn’t as bad as its 23rd overall rank would seem to indicate.
Head coach Ben McAdoo returns for his second year.
So, what does it all mean?
It all depends on how Ezekiel Elliott’s decision to appeal his suspension plays out. By not just sitting out the first third of the season, a failure to succeed could result in his being unavailable to Dallas during the stretch run.
The Giants are good enough to win the NFC East if the Cowboys take a step back. The Philadelphia Eagles are still a year or so away with a young quarterback and the Washington Redskins always seem to find a way to shoot themselves in the foot.
They should make the playoffs and have just enough to be dangerous.
This could be the year for Manning if he wants to mount another title run, wouldn’t it be incredible if he can make it three in a row against Brady and the Patriots?