2014 NFL Preview: New York Giants

2014 NFL Preview: New York Giants

The 2013 Giants began the season 0-6 and looked like a franchise lost at sea. Then they somehow managed to finish with a 7-3 record and Tom Coughlin once again tossed himself a job security life preserver. Only three years removed from a Super Bowl victory, counting out the Giants when they seem ready to fall apart isn’t advisable. Despite Eli Manning’s horrid decision-making and a rebuilt defense, it would come as no surprise if Coughlin steered the ship back to the playoffs. The last NFC East team to repeat as division champions was the Eagles in 2003-04, so predicting which one of the four will be the flavor of the year isn’t easy. Can Big Blue turn things around and return to the top of the standings in 2014? Here’s a preview of their impending season.

Outlook: Eli and Co. are learning a new offense under coordinator Ben McAdoo after seven years of relative success with Kevin Gilbride. Manning and receiver Victor Cruz have to bounce back from dud campaigns, and one of three running backs has to emerge as a reliable ball carrier. Jon Beason is on schedule to start the season after tearing a ligament in his foot during OTAs. The offensive line has been retooled, but it’s still a work in progress. Jason Pierre-Paul needs to resurrect his career in a contract year after two straight injury-plagued seasons. Coughlin has some talented pieces in place, but getting all the new faces on the same page will be a challenge.

New arrivals: Geoff Schwartz, John Jerry, and J.D. Walton were brought aboard to “fix” the interior line. All three are journeymen, so it’s no guarantee they are the solution to recent woes. Jameel McClain is a solid if not spectacular addition to the linebacker corps. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie inked a 5-year, $39 million contract in March; he’s an athletic freak, but has had a Jekyll-Hyde career thus far. Rashad Jennings looked great in a few games last year on an awful Raiders team, but he has yet to prove he can be a full-time lead back. First-round wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has the skills, polish, and versatility to make an immediate impact.

Wave goodbye: Justin Tuck and his 60.5 career sacks landed in Oakland with a two-year contract. He was inconsistent, but also anchored a defensive line to a pair of Super Bowl titles. Hakeem Nicks never played a full season with the G-Men and scored only three touchdowns in 2012 an 2013. His exit to Indy was the best for all parties involved. Terrell Thomas’ bad knees were too risky to re-sign, and he is still looking for a job. Linval Joseph was solid starter at defensive tackle, but the $31 million price tag the Vikings paid was deemed too high.

Over/Under wins – 7.5: This team has no business winning more than 7 games. But just when the Giants seem dead, they spring back alive. There’s no way Eli can be worse than he was in 2013 when he hurled 27 interceptions. Right? The defensive makeover will make them better and Beckham Jr. will be a Rookie of the Year candidate.

Bet the Over