Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 NFL PREVIEW - New York Giants

NEW YORK GIANTS                                                

2013 Record: 7-9-0

Key Addtions: DL Robert Ayers; CB Zack Bowman; S Quentin Demps; QB Josh Freeman; WR-KR Trindon Holliday; RB Rashad Jennings; WR Mario Manningham; CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie; OL Geoff Schwartz; CB Walter Thurmond.

Key Losses: OL David Baas; RB Andre Brown; WR Hakeem Nicks; LB Keith Rivers; DL Justin Tuck; DL Linval Joseph; TE Brandon Myers.

HEAD COACH: Tom Coughlin

Offense: Following a disastrous 2013 season in which he completed just 57 percent of his passes, quarterback Eli Manning returns for his 11th season. The former Super Bowl champion QB passed for 3,818 yards with just 18 touchdowns and a whopping 27 interceptions last year. Josh Freeman has been brought in for a look to be a backup QB in 2014, competing with journeyman Curtis Painter for the job.
The running game has a plethora of backs in training camp, including former Jacksonville Jags and Oakland Raiders RB Rashad Jennings, who had a career high 733 yards on the ground a year ago for a 4.5 ypc average and six touchdowns. Along with David Wilson (injured for most of 2013) and Peyton Hillis, Jennings will look to become the starter this season. Rookie Andre Williams (Boston College) is also on hand to provide depth.
Victor Cruz leads the wide receiving corps after grabbing 73 passes for 998 yards and four touchdowns last season. Rueben Randle (41 catches for 611 yards and six TD) is the other projected starter. Jerrel Jernigan (29 receptions for 329 yards and two TD), along with rookie Odell Beckham (LSU) and veteran Mario Manningham (back for a second stint with the Giants) provide other targets for Manning. The Tight Ends include Adrien Robinson and Kellen Davis.
Up front will be center J.D. Walton, guards Geoff Schwartz and Chris Snee and tackles Justin Pugh and Will Beatty.

STATS - In 2013, the Giants anemic offense ranked 29th in scoring with just 294 points (18.4 per game) while averaging 307 yards per game (28th in NFL) while also ranking near the bottom of the heap in rushing (29th with 83 yards per game) and passing, gaining only 224 yards per game, which was 19th overall. Eli Manning was sacked 39 times while compiling just a 69.4 QB rating.

Defense: The Giants finished in the top ten in overall defense last season and will look to keep the team competitive once again in 2014.
The line in the 4-3 alignment will see Jason Pierre-Paul and Damontre Moore at the ends while Cullen Jenkins (five QB sacks to lead team) and Jonathan Hankins will play tackle. Long time starter Justin Tuck (team leading 11 sacks) left via free agency for Oakland, so depth is even more important heading into the 2014 season. Robert Ayers, Mike Patterson and rookie Jay Bromley (Syracuse) are on hand to spell the starters.
The linebackers are Jon Beason in the middle, flanked by outside backers Jameel McClain and either Spencer Paysinger or Jacquian Williams.
The secondary features Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at the corners with Antrel Rolle (six interceptions in 2013) and Will Hill (two picks) playing safety. Zack Bowman, Cooper Taylor, Stevie Brown, Quentin Demps, Trumaine McBride and Walter Thurmond will backup in the secondary.

STATS - The Giants were eighth overall in yards allowed, giving up 332 yards per game while ranking 14th against the run (109 ypg) and tenth (223 ypg) against the pass. The defense intercepted 17 passes a year ago while registering 34 quarterback sacks. New York also ranked 18th in scoring defense in the league, allowing just under 24 points per game.

OUTLOOK: Changes galore are in store for the G-Men this season as they look to get back to the post-season for the first time in three years.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin may or may not be on the proverbial "hot seat" this year as the team will look for all the new players to fit into place around Manning on offense. That's the area that needs the most work in 2014.
Playing in the NFC East means the Giants can turn things around in a hurry if the team comes together quickly. The Philadelphia Eagles look to be the odds-on favorites to win the division again this season and the Giants will look to get after it from the start after the 0-6 hole they dug for themselves a year ago.
Getting their bruising running game back to form is a priority and the men up front must mesh and open the holes for the backs to rumble through while also protecting Manning in the pocket. Speaking of Manning, he is coming off ankle surgery and needs to return to form and cut down on the turnovers this year.
The schedule appears on paper to be favorable for a better start for the Giants this season, but they must go out and perform once the games begin.
If the defense plays similar to what they were in 2013 and the offense shows vast improvement, the team can compete in this division and possibly get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they got hot and won it all.
The call here is for a 9-7 finish for the team. Depending on how they handle the division opponents in 2014 will determine the Giants chances for a post-season appearance.

2014 SCHEDULE:
Week 1- at Detroit
Week 2- vs. Arizona
Week 3- vs. Houston
Week 4- at Washington
Week 5- vs. Atlanta
Week 6- at Philadelphia
Week 7- at Dallas
Week 8- BYE WEEK
Week 9- vs. Indianapolis
Week 10- at Seattle
Week 11- vs. San Francisco
Week 12- vs. Dallas
Week 13- at Jacksonville
Week 14- at Tennessee
Week 15- vs. Washington
Week 16- at St. Louis
Week 17- vs. Philadelphia  

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