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New York Giants 2018 NFL Team Preview


2017 Record: 3-13
2017 ATS: 7-9
2017 Over/Under: 8-8
2018 Regular Season Wins Total: 7.5 wins

Last year’s New York Giants were an embarrassment both on and off the field. Originally projected to be a 9-win team, the Giants fell well short of expectations with a 3-13 record. The lone bright spot was a 4-0 ATS record as an underdog of +7.5 or more; a perfect example of just how far their power rating declined. Injuries, poor coaching, suspensions, chemistry, and finger pointing…the list of obstacles was immense. Both sides of the ball performed at a league-worst level. The New York Jets and Chicago Bears somehow scored more points. The defense surrendered 32 touchdown passes while showing no ability to pressure or sack (27) opposing quarterbacks. The game-changing pressure the Giants hung their hat on during their two Super Bowl runs was non-existent.

Off such a dismal campaign, radical changes were plentiful this offseason. Head coach Pat Shurmur takes over for the disgruntled Ben McAdoo. Shurmur posted an unsightly 9-23 record during his two seasons in Cleveland; one of many to struggle for the league’s worst-run organization. He did however thrive as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator a season ago. Mike Shula was tabbed as offensive coordinator but Shurmur will call plays. An aging Eli Manning is reportedly in peak shape and ready to lead an offense loaded with firepower. Odell Beckham played in just four games last year and will be moved around to attack mismatches. No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley will provide another nightmare matchup for opposing defensive coordinators. The offensive line was completely overhauled with former New England Patriots left tackle Nate Solder inked to a massive contract. Overall, the offense has the potential to be the most improved unit in the NFL.

Defensive coordinator James Bettcher was brought in from Arizona. He’ll employ an aggressive, 3-4 blitzing defense. At their peak, the Giants never resorted to a blitz-heavy scheme thanks to a star-studded front seven. They no longer have the talent to apply that type of organic pressure which means the secondary must improve. A starting point will be the returned health of cornerbacks Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins who missed a combined 12 games in 2017. The stop unit got a big scare when linebacker Olivier Vernon went down with an ankle injury during the preseason. X-rays came back negative but he’s listed as “questionable” for Week 1’s game vs. Jacksonville. A new coordinator and a new system suggest the defense will be a work in progress to start the campaign. That said, it’s a nowhere-to-go-but-up type of situation.

With the new coaching staff and a recommitment from just about everyone in the organization, New York should be vastly improved this season. But for all the projected improvement it’s possible it doesn’t show up in the win-loss column due to an extremely difficult schedule. Just look at the Giants’ road games: Dallas, Houston, Carolina, Atlanta, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Washington and Indianapolis. The list of opposing quarterbacks is tough as well which puts the onus on a defense a year removed from allowing 24.3 ppg. But with a manageable home slate, I do strongly lean towards the Giants going over their season over/under win total. Bettors should keep an eye on the rebuilt offensive line. Mixed reports on the meshing of the unit continued throughout training camp and the preseason. However, there’s far more upside with this year’s group which again, should spark a significant spike in offensive production.

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Erin Rynning

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