NEW YORK GIANTS
2014 Record: 6-10-0 (3rd in NFC East)
HEAD COACH: Tom Coughlin
New Players in 2015 - LB Victor Butler; LB Jonathan Casillas; DL Kenrick Ellis; RB Shane Vereen; WR Dwayne Harris.
OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 10th in NFL (367.2 ypg)
DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 - 29th in NFL (375.8 ypg)
Offense: Quarterback Eli Manning had a nice bounce back season in 2014, throwing for 4,410 yards with 30 touchdown passes and only 14 interceptions. Backing him up are Ryan Nassib and Ricky Stanzi.
The running game has a pair of backs in Rashad Jennings (639 yards, 3.8 ypc average and four TD) and Andre Williams (721, 3.3 ypc and seven TD) who are adequate.
The receiving corps is a strong suit with Odell Beckham, Jr. (91 receptions for 1,305 yards, 14.3 ypc and 12 TD), Victor Cruz (23, 337, one TD in six games), Rueben Randle (71, 938, 13.2 and three TD) and Preston Parker, who nabbed 36 receptions for 418 yards and two scores. The tight end is Larry Donnell, who made 63 receptions for 623 yards and six touchdowns.
The line is comprised of tackles Will Beatty and possibly top rookie pick Ereck Flowers (Miami, FL) along with guards Geoff Schwartz and Justin Pugh. The center is Weston Richburg.
Defense: The big question surrounding the Giants defense for 2015 is whether defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will be able to play. The All-Pro player severely injured his right hand in a fireworks accident this past summer.
If he is able to go, Pierre-Paul, who led the team with 12 1/2 QB sacks, is at one end spot while either Cullen Jenkins or Robert Ayers (five sacks) man the other end position. The tackles in the 4-3 set are Johnathan Hankins (seven sacks) and Markus Kuhn.
The linebackers include Jon Beason in the middle with outside men Devon Kennard (4 1/2 sacks) and J.T. Thomas. Backing up are Jameel McClain, Jonathan Casillas, Victor Butler and Mark Herzlich.
The secondary includes corners Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara, who made three interceptions last year. The safeties are Cooper Taylor and rookie Landon Collins (Alabama).
OUTLOOK FOR 2015 - The Giants have enough fire power with Manning and company to put up points, the problem area coming into the new season is on defense, where the G-Men ranked near the bottom of the league last year, giving up 25 points per game and ranking 29th overall in the NFL.
Veteran Head Coach Tom Coughlin knows the team can do better and the secondary is under going an overhaul after being lit up in 2014 to the tune of 241 passing yards allowed per game. The run defense wasn't much better, giving up 135 yards per game, including several big runs by the opposing team. That has to change if the Giants are to be considered playoff contenders this year.
The running game needs to be more consistent to give some balance to the offense. Manning has the weapons in the passing game and he had decent protection last year as well. He also cut down on the turnovers from 2013 by nearly half, which was a big plus. The Giants are also hopeful that WR Victor Cruz is fully recovered from a severe knee injury.
Playing in the NFC East is not an easy task with Dallas and Philadelphia looming large. The Giants haven't made the playoffs in four years and the drought may very well continue this season as well.
Figure on a 7-9 finish, possibly better if the defense picks up the slack from a year ago. The Giants are a team that could do better, the big question is will they do better?
Week 1 - at Dallas Cowboys
Week 2 - vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 3 - vs. Washington Redskins
Week 4 - at Buffalo Bills
Week 5 - vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 6 - at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7 - vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 8 - at New Orleans Saints
Week 9 - at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 10 - vs. New England Patriots
Week 11 - BYE WEEK
Week 12 - at Washington Redskins
Week 13 - vs. New York Jets
Week 14 - at Miami Dolphins
Week 15 - vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 16 - at Minnesota Vikings
Week 17 - vs. Philadelphia Eagles