The New York Giants have regressed four straight seasons, and with four key players in the final year of their contracts, this team will be looking to make a run at the NFC East title this season.
But with injuries and doubts and an Old Fashioned 12th-year Head Coach, does Big Blue have enough to hang with the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East? It looks like they don’t, but with WR Odell Beckham and QB Eli Manning, at least they have a chance. Let’s look at some key games, trends, new players and make some picks.
Big Blue Should Go As Eli Manning Goes But Need to Avoid Injuries, Improve on Defense
The New York Giants and General Manager Jerry Reese did an admirable job bringing some decent talent into this team this Offseason, but it seems the G-Men (6-10 SU in 2014) may suffer from aging, a lack of confidence and simply being in the same division (NFC East) as the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. The same old song and dance. The most important player in longtime Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s (99-85-3 ATS) team is obviously 34-year-old QB Eli Manning (84.3 Total QBR, #5 in NFL and ahead of his Big Brother Peyton at #6 with a 82.1 Total QBR). If Manning the Junior can stay healthy and click with his now numerous targets on Offense, New York NFC could surprise....and maybe finish 9-7 at best? The Giants overall SU record has been dipping like a Bearish Stock Market the L4 seasons: 13-7 (2011), 9-7 (2012), 7-9 (2013), 6-10 (2014), and this Giants team (4/1 to win NFC East, Boylesports) team did what was expected of them within the NFC East, going 2-4 SU, and has been the total definition of an average ATS team in conference play the L4 NFL Regular Seasons: 3-3, 3-3, 2-3-1, and 3-3. Hey, could you guys please paint my little house Beige and make the all of trimming Ecru? At least the G-Men did win it all back in that first season, 2011, topping the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
The Giants (150/1 to win Super Bowl, bet365) do deserve credit for trading up on Day 2 of the NFL Draft to get Alabama S Landon Collins, and top pick OG Ereck Flowers (Miami-Florida) should be a mainstay on the Giants OL for years to come. Also adding parts like Free Agent LBs JT Thomas and Jonathan Casillas will provide depth at the position, while signing Free Agent RB Shane Vereen (Patriots) was brilliant. But maybe New York’s best move in the Offseason? Bringing in Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Where this team could shock and improve is by playing the kind of Defense that got them to Super Bowls, and the roster is much thicker and talented on that side of the pigskin in 2015. With Spagnuolo, the Giants will look to improve on their 20th-ranked Turnover Differential Margin (-3), and with players like talented CB Prince Amukamara and DE Jason Pierre-Paul—both in the final years of their contracts with Big Blue, along with Manning and WR Rueben Randle—the Giants (20/1 to win NFC, Ladbrokes) might be able to pull it all together with so much talent. But the ridiculousness of shooting one’s self in the leg at a Strip Club or having to have a critical finger on a critical hand removed because you were playing with Fireworks, really reeks of a team that’s still immature and not taking their professions seriously enough. And with the Cowboys (+150 NFL odds to win NFC East, bet365) and Eagles (+175, Bwin) taking it much more serious and having establish more consistent cultures of winning lately, the Giants will be pushed again this season and will likely struggle trying to get to the .500 mark. Another 6-10 or maybe 7-9 season seems in order.
Where this team can also possibly keep the opponent’s off guard is by dominating with the Passing game, which means Manning will have to shine and he very well could. He knows he’s getting older. And with freaky sensation Odell Beckham Jr. (91 receptions, 1,305 yards, 12 TDs) at one WR spot, Victor Cruz (23 receptions, 337 yards, TD) at the other and TE Larry Donnell (63 receptions, 623 yards, 6 TDs), Manning has some pretty nice targets. Then toss in Free Agent RB Shane Vereen (Patriots) joining the fold and some depth at WR now with the underrated Rueben Randle, Preston Parker, Dwayne Harris, Corey Washington and Rookie WR Geremy Davis (Connecticut). That’s depth. But, Manning (34 years old), Beckham (acrobatic and injury-prone) and Cruz (off knee surgery) will all need to stay healthy for the bulk of the Regular Season and this Giants team will have to win all of the games listed below as “Possible Wins” and then probably beat either Dallas or Philadelphia at Home at MetLife Stadium to be 3-3 SU in the NFC East this time around. Luckily for the G-Men, the Regular Season schedule has three winnable games in the first 5, meaning if New York can somehow beat the Falcons and Redskins at Home in Weeks 2 and 3 and then beat the 49ers, also in East Rutherford, in Week 5, then maybe a 3-2 start is in the works and some confidence may be brewing for Big Blue. But the Eagles, Cowboys, Saints and Super Bowl champion Patriots in 4 of those next 5 games may rain on any perceived happiness this season for New York. But starting 3-2 and winning 2 or maybe 3 of those next 5 games and sitting at 6-4 after 10 games is a possibility, and both Dallas and Philadelphia have shown to have some schizophrenic football tendencies (over a given season) and may open a gap for a giant Giants’ surprise. At least New York has a decent and intelligent QB with which to work in Eli Manning (379-601, 4,410 passing yards, 30 TDs in 2014). Now how effective can he be this season and will he show any further signs of aging are two of the big questions for the team. As a pass-happy Eli goes in 2015, so will the Giants likely.
New York Giants QB Depth Chart: Eli Manning—Ryan Nassib—Ricky Stanzi
Who’s New and Could Have an Impact? Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Rookie OG Ereck Flowers (Miami-Florida), Rookie SS Brandon Collins (Alabama), Rookie DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (UCLA), Rookie S Mykkele Thompson (Texas), Rookie WR Geremy Davis (Connecticut), Rookie OL Bobby Hart (FSU), Free Agent RB Shane Vereen (Patriots), Free Agent WR Dwayne Harris (Cowboys), Free Agent LB JT Thomas (Jaguars), Free Agent LB Jonathan Casillas (Patriots)
Possible Wins on Schedule: Week 2: Falcons; Week 3: Redskins (Giants -5½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, NFL Games of the Year); Week 5: 49ers (Giants -3½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, NFL Games of the Year); Week 9: @ Buccaneers; Week 12: @ Redskins; Week 13: Jets; Week 16: @ Vikings
Some Good Potential Betting Spots in Regular Season: Betting on the G-Men and taking the points against the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and Tom Brady in Week 10 at Home at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. New York is 15-2 ATS L17 against the AFC East when Underdogs and 11-0 ATS when getting 3½ points or more. And of course, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened that game with New England 3-point favorites in their 2015/16 NFL Games of the Year odds. Also, fading Big Blue in Week 1 at Dallas seems like a good idea and the lowest number on the betting board for that game now is -5½ at the SuperBook, down ½ from the -6 opener at the world’s largest sportsbook, currently being renovated, but still fully functioning, as usual here in scorching Las Vegas. The Giants are 1-3 ATS L4 against the Cowboys, and in this game last season, America’s Team defeated the Giants, 31-21 as 4½-point favorites at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The Total in this game, which will open up NBC’s Sunday Night Football season, is 50.
Any Good Giants Bets Now? New York Giants Season Team Win Total Under 8 +120; Dallas Cowboys -5½ over Giants, Week 1; New York Giants -5½ over Washington Redskins, Week 3, NFL Games of the Year (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Recent Positive Relevant Trends: Giants 5-0 ATS L5 vs Jets; Giants 4-0 ATS L4 Home vs Redskins; Giants 5-1-1 ATS L7 vs Bills, 3-0 ATS L3 Away; Giants 6-1 ATS L7 vs Patriots, 3-0 ATS L3 Home; Giants 7-2 ATS L9 vs 49ers
Players to Watch: WR Odell Beckham Jr., WR Victor Cruz (returning from Knee injury), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Right Index Finger amputated after fireworks accident); Rookie SS Landon Collins, Free Agent WR Dwayne Harris, CB Prince Amukamara, QB Eli Manning, WR Rueben Randle
New York Giants Futures Picks: New York Giants Regular Season Team Win Total Under 8 +120 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Dallas Cowboys -5½ over Giants, Week 1 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), New York Giants -5½ over Washington Redskins, Week 3, (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, NFL Games of the Year)