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New York Giants: 2017 Preview

Can the Giants repeat their success from 2016? Find out in our season preview!


The 2016 Giants season ended at Lambeau Field in the NFC wild card game. The Giants finished second in the NFC East with a record of 11-5. It was an impressive season to say the least as their defense finished second in points per game only behind the New England Patriots. Despite the stellar defense, the offense couldn’t keep up at times. The Giants only scored 19.4 points per game, ranking them 26th in offensive production in the league. They headed into the 2017 offseason in desperate need of some offensive weapons.

Offseason additions & losses

In
Out
Rhett Ellison, TEJohnathan Hankins, DT
Brandon Marshall, WRRobbie Gould, K
Keenan Robinson, OLBMarshall Newhouse, OT
DJ Fluker, G/TCoty Sensabaugh, CB
Geno Smith, QBLarry Donnell, TE
Shaun Draughn, RBRyan Nassib, QB
Evan Engram, TE (Draft)Victor Cruz, WR

The Giants started off their offseason by parting ways with aging veterans Rashad Jennings and Victor Cruz. They couldn't keep all their expiring contracts on the books in free agency either. Some of the key departures from the Giants in free agency include defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse.

To keep their defense in tact, they signed a long term deal with Jason Pierre-Paul and signed Duke Ihenacho as a free agent. Their biggest offensive deal came in free agency when they signed Brandon Marshall to a two-year contract.

In the draft, the Giants went heavy on offense, drafting tight end Evan Engram, quarterback Davis Webb, and running back Wayne Gallman. Will these pieces be enough to help Eli steer the offense in the right direction?

2017 schedule

Week
Opponent
1@ Dallas Cowboys
2vs Detroit Lions
3@ Philadelphia Eagles
4@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5vs Los Angeles Chargers
6@ Denver Broncos
7vs Seattle Seahawks
8BYE
9vs Los Angeles Rams
10@ San Francisco 49ers
11vs Kansas City Chiefs
12@ Washington Redskins
13@Oakland Raiders
14vs Dallas Cowboys
15vs Philadelphia Eagles
16@ Arizona Cardinals
17vs Washington Redskins

The Giants are scheduled for four prime-time games this year, including two Sunday night games, a Monday night game, and even a Thanksgiving night game against the Redskins.

Four out of their first six games are on the road, so they need to take advantage of their home games late in the season. They also need to take advantage of the rest of their division. They are clearly neck-and-neck with Dallas for best in the division, and some would argue they're better so long as they can stay consistent. After all, the Giants did sweep the Cowboys last year, giving Dallas two of their only three losses. The problem was that the 2016 Giants were an unpredictable roller coaster thanks to their up and down offensive production.

Three players to watch: Eli Manning

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It might sound weird to keep an eye on the starting quarterback, but it may not be for the reason you're thinking. As much as I believe Eli will end up in the Hall of Fame someday, he is quickly ruining his chances season by season.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP has solidified himself as a below average quarterback in the NFL right now. He looks lost at times in the pocket, and I don't know if more offensive weapons will solve his problems. I really think that Eli has just lost it, I'm not sure if he can ever be great again. At times during last season, I just came to accept that the Giants wouldn't put up prolific offensive numbers. People spent so much time trying to figure out why and what was wrong with Eli. I'm not sure that anything is wrong with him, I just think he can't do it anymore. Eli doesn't blow teams out of the water, he plays down to the level of his competition, and you can only win so many games like that.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that a younger version of Eli would dominate with the amount of weapons he has now. Eli wasn't surrounded by this kind of talent for the early part of his career, but he still found a way to get it done. Now, we are seeing the inverse of that. I'm not sure how much longer we'll see Eli starting for the Giants, but he'll have to channel his younger self and step up his production if he wants to continue there.

Brandon Marshall

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The key offensive addition this offseason was Brandon Marshall. While this is Marshall's fifth NFL team in his career, he's seen success at every stop so far. Last year, Marshall had one of the worst years of his career, but many blame that on the poor play of Ryan Fitzpatrick. I'm here to play Devil's advocate; what if Brandon Marshall is over the hill? 

One comparison I've been making, yet has gained no traction, is Andre Johnson. Johnson was a big name acquisition for the Indianapolis Colts just two seasons ago after spending his entire career with the Texans. His production and presence were hyped up in the offseason, yet he only produced 41 receptions for 503 yards and four touchdowns. That was the year we found out that Johnson was, indeed, over the hill at age 34. The time has to come for Marshall eventually, and at 33 years old, I think it will be this season. There are plenty of mouths to feed in the Giants offense, and with the offensive production not being there last year, there's no reason to think an offensive explosion is on the horizon. If you're thinking about drafting Marshall in your fantasy league, I would reconsider.

Evan Engram

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The first round pick of the Giants has been one of the most hyped players on the roster this year. He's 6'3", 240 lbs, and he's got the skills of a versatile wide receiver. He can play on the outside, he can play in the slot, and he even has pretty good breakaway speed for a guy his size. He's not built to be the prototypical NFL tight end, but he's a receiving threat. He needs to work on his blocking game, but if the Giants can hone that, they've got something special on their hands.

Prediction

Despite the poor outlooks for the Giants offense, if they can put together something competent, they should have a similar record to last year. Their defense is still a force to be reckoned with, and I do like the pieces they've added on offense, I just fear that Eli Manning might be the problem.

I'm predicting a 10-6 season for the New York Giants, finishing second once again in the division behind the Cowboys. At 10-6, I'm still projecting them to make the playoffs as a #5 seed, but ultimately losing in the wild card round to the aforementioned Cowboys. 

How do you think the New York Giants will do this year? Let us know in the comments below!

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Alex Freeman

Graduate of Ferris State University in Michigan. Bachelor's degrees in Psychology & Sports Communication.

NFL = Religion Fantasy Football = Life College Basketball = Obsession

New York Giants: 2017 Preview

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