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2018 Season Review: 5-11 (4th in NFC East)
Just an awful fucking year for the Giants that started with the draft. Isn’t it kind of obvious that Eli Manning is not good anymore? I guess not for David Gettleman. I mean I love Saquan Barkley but the Giants passed on potential franchise QBs like Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen to start off their 2018 season. Those QBs may not have helped them last year, but this year could have been a potential big year for those guys to take over from Eli Manning, or at the very least they get one more year to learn behind a Super Bowl winning QB.
Instead they drafted Saquan and he was ironically, the only bright spot for this whole team. Barkley dominated from game one and proved he is a ridiculous, one of a kind talent. Barkley finished 2018 with 1,307 yards on 261 rushes with 11 TDs. He also added 721 yards on 91 receptions with 4 TDs. Christian McCaffery and Alvin Kamara both want to hit the 1,000 yard mark in both rushing and receiving, I think you can add Barkley to that list of guys who have a chance.
Other than Barkley, there wasn’t much on offense to be excited about as Giants fan. Eli Manning threw for 4,299 yards with 21 TDs and 11 INTs. The 11 INTs wasn’t bad but only 21 TDs doesn’t cut it in New York. Manning got help from Barkley and Sterling Shepard who had a mini break out year with 872 yards and 4 TDs, but his two biggest weapons Odell Beckham and Evan Engram only played in 12 and 11 games respectively.
Odell finished the season with over 1,000 yards and 6 TDs but it never seemed like him and Eli got on track. All year you were ready for Odell to breakout and it never happened. Odell was also this constant media distraction for the team. I am not sure if it had any effective on the locker room but every time you turned on ESPN, FOX, or NFL Network and Giants talk was going in, it seemed like it was negative talk on Odell. On his relationship with Eli and HC Pat Shurmur.
Evan Engram meanwhile, the highly drafted TE out of Ole Miss, kept missing games with injuries but was effective when he was in. He finished the year with 45 catches for 577 yards and 4 TDs.
The Giants offensive line was pretty putrid as well. Their OL gave up 47 sacks which was good for 10th worst in the league. I mean I guess it doesn’t help when your QB is Eli but still, not good. The Giants offense as a whole finished 16th in league with 23.1 PPG.
The defense also didn’t do the Giants any favor either. The defense two years ago was very good before they ran into Green Bay in the playoffs. Well apparently the Packers broke them because they gave up 25.8 PPG in 2018 and only managed 30 sacks which was second to last in the league. Oddly enough, they were tied with New England in that stat. They actually had a positive turnover differential at 2, force 16 INTs and forcing 5 fumbles. The Giants pass defense was pretty when looking at yardage, they gave up 252.8 yards passing per game, good for 23rd in the league while also giving up 118.6 rushing yards per game which was good for 20th in the league.
The Giants also had no play makers on defense. Landon Collins regressed a little bit but still got a huge pay day. Olivier Vernon was brought in but he only played 11 games. Funny enough, he still led the team in sacks with 7.0 on the year. That just shows how much the Giants need a pass rush in 2019.
Key Off Season Acquisitions
WR Golden Tate (4 years, $37.5 Million)
This was a head scratching move, even though Golden Tate is a very good player. The Giants lost OBJ in a trade, and then turned around and signed Tate who is very much in the same mold of Sterling Shepard. Not sure what GM David Gettleman was thinking here, which will be a common theme throughout this preview. It’ll be interesting to see what type of offense Pat Shurmur decides to unveil with Golden Tate, Shepard, and Evan Engram as guys who all play well from the slot/middle of the field. However, Tate will bring some edge to this offense and won’t be a distraction like OBJ was to the media. Tate will do everything right and be a huge help in the running game as he is a great run-blocking WR.
S Jabrill Peppers (via trade with the Cleveland Browns)
Giants lost Landon Collins. Giants needed help at Safety. Giants bring in a solid young former 1st round pick in Jabrill Peppers. Peppers may be a bit undersized for some at the safety position but he is an athletic freak and needs some help to unleash his full potential. Peppers hasn’t played bad with Browns at all, but he also has been great like the Browns probably expected when the took him in the first round out of Michigan. The Giants saved money and will probably get the same kind of production from Peppers that they did from Collins.
G Kevin Zeitler (via trade with the Cleveland Browns)
Zeitler was also a big get for the Giants in the Olivier Vernon trade and will play RG for them. The Giants two right guards last year, Patrick Omameh and Jamon Brown, were pretty bad. Those two guys allowed 39 pressures in 14 games last year. Zeitler on the other hand only allowed 11 all season and was ranked as the best pass-blocking guard by PFF. He was rated as the 6th overall guard by PFF in the 2018 season. Zeitler and Willie Hernandez at LG could arguably be one of the best guard combos in the league.
2019 NFL Draft
Round 1 Pick #6: QB Daniel Jones
We’re back to what the fuck was Dave Gettleman thinking. Gettleman loved Daniel Jones out of Duke he passed up on guys like Josh Allen and Ed Oliver who would help this team out immediately. Now if two years from now, Jones is a pro bowl type QB then everybody will eat their words, but I feel like that won’t happen for one main reason: Eli Manning. Eli is on the downside of his career and if the Giants aren’t winning early on, as much as Giants fans probably hate the Daniel Jones they are going to be clamoring for him to play. Daniel Jones does not look ready to play in NFL at all. He needs at least a year or two of sitting before I’d throw him out there but I don’t think Jones is going to get that luxury. The good thing for Jones is he’ll already have the pieces around him to succeed. A great RB, two very good WRs, and a good pass catching TE with an OL that should be improved.
Jones does a bring a big prototypical pocket passing QB body coming it at 6’5″ and 221 pounds. He threw for 2,674 yards with a 60.5% completion percentage, 22 TDs and 9 INTs. The surprise for his size, he he also ran for 319 yards and 3 TDs which will help him out in the NFL. He never flashed at Duke and looked like a star at QB. Honestly, he reminds me of every big body QB that comes out of NC State.
Round 1 Pick #17: DT Dexter Lawrence
Big boy here, 6’4″ and 342 LBS from a dominate Clemson DL. Lawrence did miss Clemsons two playoff games because he tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug but in 13 games he still racked up 44 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks, and 3 pass breakups. Lawrence is a big body that will be more of a run stuffer for the Giants but he should help solidify a DL that really has no standouts. The Giants play a 3-4 so we’ll see where they plug Lawrence in for the majority of his time on the field. At Clemson they played a 4-3 so this will be a change for Lawrence who could line up as a DE most of the time. He’ll be starting from day 1 for the Giants.
Round 1 Pick #30: CB Deandre Baker
Baker wasn’t the most talked about DB coming into the draft but he was a first team All-American and won the Jim Thorpe Award for the nations top DB in college football in 2018. The Giants traded back up into the first round to take baker as the only CB in the first round. Baker slipped a bit apparently because of some bad interviews but the Giants must of had a good one with him or just didn’t care. Baker should also be starting day 1 opposite Janoris Jenkins.
Key Off Season Departures
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (traded to the Cleveland Browns)
The obvious departure here, OBJ was the Giants only play-maker for the past few years. I guess his antics and personality wore thin on HC Pat Shurmur and everybody else inside the Giants offices. For one, OBJ antics were way over exaggerated and blown up by the media because of the star he is. He was for all accounts a great teammate according to the players in the locker room and he really didn’t do much that other players in the league already do. The kicking net thing was a little overblown, but his outburst of emotions were no different then what you see a guy like Tom Brady do sometimes. The Giants will need to replace his play-making and production from the past few years, and there’s not a guy on the roster who can do that all by himself. Saquan is only one guy, they need someone else to step up.
S Landon Collins (signed in free agency by the Washington Redskins)
The Giants replace Collins with Jabrill Peppers in the OBJ trade and I’m not sure the Giants are going to miss Collins. I’m sure they would have loved to have kept him but the Redskins threw a ridiculous amount of money at Collins nobody else was going to match. Dude got way overpaid, good for him.
OLB Olivier Vernon (traded to the Cleveland Browns)
Vernon was the Giants leading sacker and he only played 11 games. They have done nothing to replace Vernon’s production. Drafting Dexter Lawerence might help some guys get more one on one looks but in now way do the Giants have a pass rusher that scares you now that Vernon is gone.
The Giants are a boom or bust team in 2019. They have the weapons and OL on offense to be succesfull, but you can’t trust Eli Manning to play a Pro Bowl level. He hasn’t shown it in the past few years so there’s not reason to think he’ll all the sudden come out of his funk and start playing to that level but he’ll need to.
The Giants defense is also going to struggle. They don’t have a deep secondary or LB corps, their DL is probably the best unit but even that is short is on talent and they have zero pass rushers that scare you coming into the year. Hopefully for Giants fans some guy comes out of nowhere and is able to get constant pressure on the QB for them.
For those reasons on offense and defense this season success comes down to one thing for me: Saquan Barkley and the offensive line. If the Giants make the playoffs, it will be because Saquan has an MVP type season behind and OL that gels together and becomes one of the NFL best. If the OL plays that well, then that means they’re protecting Eli Manning and his old ass can sit in the pocket and make some plays. Manning can still throw for 25 -30 TDs but he needs help from a successful running game and great protection. Without that Manning is going to look like trash and this team will implode quickly.
GM David Gettleman really had a chance to help this team win sooner than later. He got some good assets back in both trades with Browns but screwed up the immediate future of this team by taking Daniel Jones at 6. Again, if Jones becomes a Pro Bowl QB then all is forgiven but most people agree that won’t happen. Gettleman could have take Josh Allen or Ed Olivier at 6 and gotten a pass rusher they were missing after Vernon was gone. Stacking that defensive line with two great prospects would have done wonders for that Giants defense. Instead, this defense is really empty up and front and in the middle.
The 2019 season could be VERY ugly for the Giants. If they don’t get out to a fast start and Manning is playing bad the New York fans are going to be wanting to see Jones play, every though they didn’t want him. If Jones sucks when he gets in also, his career could be over after one year. Gettleman gets fired. Shurmur gets fired. Manning is done. The Giants are in full rebuild with a star RB going into 2020. That is a very real reality for the New York Giants and their fan base.
The NFC East gets to play the AFC East and NFC North this year. The Giants getting last in their division get to also play the Buccaneers and Cardinals to round out their schedule.
The Giants being an NFC East team are obviously going to get a shit ton of prime time games they don’t deserve. Kick it off in Week 1, they get the late afternoon prime time game in Dallas against the Cowboys. They play at New England on Thursday Night in Week 6, they get Dallas at home in Week 9 on Monday Night Football, and then also play the Eagles on Monday night football in Week 14. Surprisingly, they don’t get a Sunday Night Football game but if they prove to be in anyway decent, they play the Bears and Packers in Week 12 and 13 which the NFL would probably love to flex.
As for divisional opponents, they don’t play the Eagles for the first time until Week 14 and then end the season with them at home. The Redskins they get in Week 4 and then in Week 16, while the Cowboys they play Weeks 1 and 9.
The Giants get a good bye week in Week 11, and then after that they alternate with away and home games. All in all they got a pretty good draw. They play three of their first four games against winnable teams and I can’t believe I’m saying this but they have a decent shot at being 3-1 going into their Week 4 home game against Minnesota. What a world.
Fantasy Player You Want
Other than Saquan? I have to go with Evan Engram. If he can stay healthy, Engram should be a top 5 TE in fantasy football. He’s a glorified WR that lines up at TE, he’s a guy the Giants can exploit match-ups with and behind Sterling Shepard he’s got the best rapport with Eli Manning.
Fantasy Player You Should Avoid
Going with Golden Tate here. Tate is a good WR but he’s never been the most fantasy relevant guy. In New York, he’ll probably be the fourth option in this offense behind Barkley, Engram, and Shepard. Combine that with people hating this teams offense, and them jumping on Tate as “name” to have in the Giants offense, I think he could get drafted way earlier than he should.
This Giants team is all on Eli Manning’s shoulders. You can criticize them all you want about trading Odell but this offense still has weapons with Shepard, Tate, Engram, and Barkley. They do get the AFC East which is the weakest division in football, but they also play the NFC North which is arguably the toughest division in football. I’ll give the Giants and break here and say they would potentially win 7 games this year but they’ll need to get off to a hot start to reach that. Divisional games are up for grabs, if you take that into effect the only real for sure loss I see for this team in the first 10 weeks in at New England.
If Eli Manning sucks, which is more likely than anything, this team could fall apart quickly. Daniel Jones does not look like an NFL ready player and it could get worse if they put him in. I can see this team winning just 3 games if things go bad for them early.