2015 NFL Preview: New York Giants

2015 NFL Preview: New York Giants

Since winning Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants have been in slow decline. They fell to a disappointing 6-10 in 2014, the franchise’s worst record in a decade. Head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese are firmly on the hot seat. One more non-playoff season could put an end to the regime that captured two championships. Eli Manning is still technically in his prime at age 34, and is coming off the best statistical campaign of his career. However, the lack of proven talent around him is a concern, and an aging defense that ranked 29th in total yards and 30th against the run a season ago doesn’t appear to be noticeably better. Coughlin and Eli have a history of pulling rabbits from hats, so counting the Giants out completely is never wise. Here’s a preview of the 2015 New York Giants.

Outlook: Despite being prone to stretches of downright awful play, Manning remains one of the league’s most proven and reliable quarterbacks. With Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz (if healthy), and Rueben Randle, Eli has a deadly trio of wide receivers at his disposal. The season-ending injury to left tackle Will Beatty hurts an already spotty offensive line. And Jason Pierre-Paul’s irresponsible 4th of July antics cost him a finger and likely a portion of the regular season, not to mention a potential lucrative contract extension. Big Blue is battling Washington for least amount of talent in the NFC East, but a sharp Eli coupled with an inspired defense will make them dangerous.

Later, dude: Veteran safety Antrel Rolle notched nine total interceptions and 21 passes defended in 2013 and 2014. He’s getting a little long in the tooth, so paying him $11.25 million over three years like the Bears did might not be the shrewdest decision. Center J.D. Walton started 16 games in 2014, but inconsistent play and poor run blocking is the reason why he’s a Dolphin. Defensive back Stevie Brown had eight interceptions in 2012; in his other three pro seasons he racked zero interceptions. Brown is now a Houston Texan. Reserve cornerback Zack Bowman was okay in 2014, but not good enough to retain.

Welcome aboard: Running back Shane Vereen caught 99 passes in his last two years in New England; he brings a versatile skill-set to the Giants backfield and will be a valuable check-down option for Manning. Rookie tackle Ereck Flowers will be thrown into early duty due to Beatty’s torn pectoral muscle. Flowers is brimming with potential, but he’s raw, especially as a pass protector. Safety Landon Collins will also be tossed into a starting role as a rookie. Like Flowers, Collins is a blue chip prospect who needs time to develop. Linebacker J.T Thomas was solid with the Jags in 2014 and could end up as a free agent steal after inking a 3-year, $12 million deal.

Over/Under wins – 8.5: The uncertain availability of Pierre-Paul is a problem for an undermanned defense. The offense has playmakers and the NFC East isn’t exactly loaded with elite defenses. Tough call, but 8 wins sounds right.

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