NFL 2014 Preview – New York Giants

The New York Giants began the 2013 season in dismal fashion, losing their first six games before turning it around and winning seven of their last ten.  The Giants will try to sustain that momentum going into this season.  They’ll be bolstered by a new, fast-pace offense.

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The New York Giants began the 2013 season in dismal fashion, losing their first six games before turning it around and winning seven of their last ten.  The Giants will try to sustain that momentum going into this season.  They’ll be bolstered by a new, fast-pace offense.

The Giants hired Ben McAdoo from Green Bay to run their offense.  McAdoo is already instilling an up-tempo attack, a drastic shift away from former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s deliberate philosophy.

Regardless of the offensive game plan, Eli Manning must perform better.  Manning threw a league-high 27 interceptions last season and looked completely flustered at times.  The Giants need him to return back to his Super Bowl-winning form.

Manning will have plenty of new faces to work with, which could be a good thing.  At offensive line, free agent signee Geoff Schwartz will take over at left guard.  The Giants also drafted center Weston Richburg in the second round hoping that he’ll win the job vacated by the recently retired Chris Snee.  Jacob Pugh enters his second year at right tackle.  Left tackle remains an uncertainty, however.

With the sudden and tragic ending to David Wilson’s young career, Rashad Jennings will carry a heavy load at running back.  Jennings had a solid 2013 campaign for the Raiders, rushing for 733 yards (4.5 yards per carry) and six touchdowns.

First-rounder Odell Beckham replaces Hakeem Nicks at receiver, joining the emergent Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz, arguably the best slot receiver in the league.

Defensively, the Giants have a revamped secondary.  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed this offseason and will tandem with Prince Amukamara at corner.  The Giants also signed the underrated Walter Thurmond to cover the slot.  Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle will likely start at safety.

At linebacker, the Giants hope Jon Beason will be healthy and effective, especially since they lack elite talent at the position.

Nevertheless, the real key to the Giants defense will be defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.  If he can return to his elite pass-rushing form, the defense will get its edge back.  Pierre-Paul’s health and performance may be the difference between another mediocre season and a playoff run.

The Giants currently stand at 40-1 to win the 2015 Super Bowl and 25-1 to win the NFC.  Fortunately, they may have one of the easier roads to the playoffs, having the 26th most difficult schedule in the NFL (.465 opponents’ win percentage).