New York Giants
Head Coach: Tom Coughlin
2014 record: 6-10 overall, 2-4 NFC East
2014 Postseason results: None
Odds to win Super Bowl 50: 105/2
Odds to win NFC Championship: 41/2
Odds to win NFC East Division: +415
Regular season wins: over 8.5 -115 / under 8.5 -115
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Last year, the New York Giants had an up and down season. The Giants started off the season 0-2 with losses to playoff teams the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals. New York would then win 3 straight games, before a seven game losing streak effectively ended their season. The Giants would then win 3 straight before closing the season with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Apart from a win over the 9-7 Houston Texans, every other win was against teams with 6 wins or less. The Giants beat the 4-12 Washington Redskins twice, the 6-10 St. Louis Rams and Atlanta Falcons, plus the 2-14 Tennessee Titans.
The Giants look to improve in 2015 and at least contend for the NFC East title. That task will be difficult because the Dallas Cowboys and Eagles are simply much better right now. The Giants are coming off back to back losing seasons for the first time under Coughlin. It was only 3 seasons ago that this team won the Super Bowl.
The Giants were #10 in total offense at 367 yards per game, including 267 passing and 100 rushing yards. New York was #7 in passing and #23 in rushing. The Giants averaged 24 points a game. Coordinator Ben McAdoo returns for his second season.
Quarterback Eli Manning is back after throwing for 4,410 yards with 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, and also rushing for a touchdown. Manning rebounded from a terrible 2013 in which he threw 27 interceptions. Manning has started 178 straight games dating back to 2004. Only Brett Favre and older brother Peyton have had longer consecutive games streaks in NFL history. However, if something were to happen to Eli, Ryan Nassib is the back-up. He threw only 5 passes last year.
Running back Andre Williams is back after rushing for 721 yards on 217 carries with 7 touchdowns, along with making 18 catches for 130 yards as a rookie last year. Rashad Jennings is also back after rushing for 639 yards on 167 carries with 4 touchdowns, plus 30 catches for 226 yards. The Giants also signed free agent Shane Vereen from the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Vereen had 96 carries for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns, and he also made 52 catches for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. Fullback Henry Hynoski will also get a few carries.
The lone bright spot for the Giants in a miserable season last year was the breakout performance of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. Despite missing the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury, Beckham still made 91 catches for 1,305 yards with 12 touchdowns. Beckham claimed he played in those games with two torn hamstrings, but the Giants say they were just strained. Either way his numbers were incredible and he was both the AP and Football Writers’ offensive rookie of the year.
Former Pro Bowl wide receiver Victor Cruz tore his ACL last year. He looks to return healthy in 2015, after making 23 catches for 337 yards and a touchdown. Rueben Randle returns to his more comfortable spot as the #3 receiver after making 71 catches for 938 yards and 3 touchdowns last year. Tight end Larry Donnell had 63 catches for 623 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. Preston Parker had 36 catches for 418 yards and 2 touchdowns. Back-up tight end Daniel Fells had 16 catches for 188 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Giants expect improvement on the offensive line. Guard Geoff Schwartz and looks to stay healthy after an injury plagued season last year. The Giants drafted Ereck Flowers in the first round out of Miami-(FL). Flowers is expected to start at right tackle. Justin Pugh will move to guard. Will Beatty was supposed to be the starting left tackle but he is out indefinitely with a torn pectoral. Weston Richburg will start at center. Guard Chris Snee had to retire because of an elbow injury after a great 10 year career all with the Giants.
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The defense was terrible last year allowing 376 yards per game, including 241 passing and 135 rushing yards. The Giants were #29 in total offense and #30 in rush defense. The Giants allowed 25 points a game. New York fired defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and brought back Steve Spagnuolo as the new coordinator. Spagnuolo was the coordinator for the Giants’ first Super Bowl title under Coughlin in 2008, when New York upset the then undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLI.
The big story on this side of the ball was star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul having to have a finger amputated after a fireworks accident on the Fourth of July. He is questionable for week one. Pierre-Paul had 12.5 sacks last season. If he can’t go, then George Selvie, acquired as a free agent from the Cowboys will start at end in his place. Robert Ayers and Damontre Moore combined for 10.5 sacks at the other end last year. Johnathan Hankins had 7 sacks last year at tackle. Cullen Jenkins will start at the other tackle.
Linebacker Jameel McClain led the Giants with 116 tackles on the weak side. However, he is questionable with a neck injury. Jonathan Casillas could start in his place after the Giants signed him from the Patriots. Devon Kennard will start on the strong side and Jon Beason will start in the middle. J.T. Thomas and Mark Herzlich will also see time at linebacker. Victor Butler is suspended for the first four games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie look to stay healthy in 2015 after injury plagued seasons last year. Jayron Hosley and Trumaine McBride will also see time at corner. The Giants lose safeties Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle to the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears respectively. The Giants drafted safeties Landon Collins (2nd round, Alabama) and Mykkele Thompson (4th round, Texas). Collins is expected to start, but Thompson is out for the season with a torn Achilles’ tendon. Nate Berhe will start at the other safety. Chykie Brown and Cooper Taylor will also see time at safety.
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Kicker Josh Brown made 24 of 26 field goals last year. Punter Steve Weatherford averaged 45.5 yards per punt and landed 25 punts inside the 20. The Giants signed free agent Dwayne Harris from the Cowboys to return kicks and punts. He looks to revitalize a woeful return unit.
The Giants open at the Cowboys, before hosting the Falcons and Redskins on a Thursday night to close out September. October brings home games against the San Francisco 49ers and Cowboys, and road games at the Buffalo Bills and Eagles. In November, the Giants have road games at the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Redskins, plus a home game against the Patriots. New York doesn’t have their bye until week twelve. December brings home games against the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers, and road games at the Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings. New York closes the season at home against the Eagles at home.
The offense will be very good, especially if they can cut down on the turnovers. However, with the health of stars Jason Pierre-Paul and McClain in question, their are too many uncertainties on defense. The Giants are projected to win around 8 games, but that seems a little high. I think New York goes 7-9 and misses the playoffs again.
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