NEW YORK GIANTS
2015 Record: 6-10-0
Head Coach: Ben McAdoo
New Faces for 2016 - DL Olivier Vernon, CB Janoris Jenkins, RB Bobby Rainey, DL Damon Harrison, LB Keenan Robinson, OL Byron Stingily, OL Ryan Seymour
OFFENSE: Eli Manning is back as the starting quarterback after throwing 35 touchdown passes last season (14 interceptions) and passing for 4,432 yards. Ryan Nassib will likely be the backup QB once again.
Rashad Jennings ran for 863 yards (4.4 ypc average) and three touchdowns last year and will get the bulk of the carries again this year. Shane Vereen (260 yards, 4.3 ypc and 59 receptions for 494 yards and four TD) and Andre Williams (257 yards and one TD) will back up.
The wide receivers are led by perhaps the best in the NFL as Odell Beckham, Jr. (96 receptions for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns) leads the way. Victor Cruz, who hasn't played in two seasons, is hopeful he will be ready by the opening of the regular season. The Giants need someone to step up to replace Rueben Randle, who left for free agency.
Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma) is a rookie who will be expected to step in right away along with others including Myles White, Dwayne Harris (36, 396, four TD) and possibly Paul Perkins, another rookie (UCLA). Tight End Larry Donnell had 29 receptions for 223 yards and two scores last season and again will split time with Will Tye (42, 464, three TD).
DEFENSE: Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon will be the ends in the 4-3 set while the tackles are Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins.
The linebackers include middle man Keenan Robinson while J.T. Thomas and Devon Kennard play the outside spots. Rookie B.J. Goodson (Clemson) can play the inside linebacker position and along with Jonathan Casillas, Jasper Brinkley and Mark Herzlich will be ready when called upon.
The secondary features safeties Landon Collins and Nat Berhe along with corners Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and free agent signee Janoris Jenkins, who had three interceptions with the Rams last year. Rookies Eli Apple (CB, Ohio State) and Darian Thompson (free safety, Boise State) will look to make an impact in the defensive backfield.
OUTLOOK: The Giants have a new Head Coach as Ben McAdoo takes over from Tom Coughlin (two Super Bowl titles in his era) and looks to see the defense improve from a league worst 32nd rank (420 yards allowed) which included getting torched to the tune of 299 passing yards allowed per game. In addition, the Giants gave up 27.6 points per game.
Bringing in Jenkins and drafting two rookies for the secondary should help, but the defensive front seven MUST get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks this year after a paltry 23 sacks for the team in 2015. Stopping the run (121 yards allowed) is vital as well to improve on the weak 24th NFL ranking there.
The offense (26 points per game) is in good hands with Eli Manning throwing the ball to Odell Beckham, Jr. and (possibly) Victor Cruz as well. Shane Vereen is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and should provide the check down safety valve for Manning once again. Rashad Jennings is a solid running back which helps balance the offense.
If the Giants can get better performance from the defense and the offense remains consistent as they were last season, this team can compete in the NFC East.
The Giants are looking to return to the playoffs for the first time in five years (Super Bowl title season of 2011) and that is not out of the question.
Fearless forecast - 9-7 this year
2016 TEAM SCHEDULE
Week 1 - at Dallas
Week 2 - vs. New Orleans
Week 3 - vs. Washington
Week 4 - at Minnesota
Week 5 - at Green Bay
Week 6 - vs. Baltimore
Week 7 - at Los Angeles (London, England)
Week 8 - BYE
Week 9 - vs. Philadelphia
Week 10 - vs. Cincinnati
Week 11 - vs. Chicago
Week 12 - at Cleveland
Week 13 - at Pittsburgh
Week 14 - vs. Dallas
Week 15 - vs. Detroit
Week 16 - at Philadelphia
Week 17 - at Washington