By, Faux John Madden (Special to OddsUSA.com)
The New York Football Giants (also known as the only reason Tom Brady doesn’t have 8 Super Bowl rings right now) enter the 2020 season with tempered hopes that they could improve upon their last three seasons that have seen the Giants go a combined 12-36 since 2017.
It’s a low bar to be cleared for sure.
It’s also a new era for the Giants.
For the third time in five years, the Giants are pressing the reset button on the franchise, which considering the run of success the franchise had under Tom Coughlin, is a bit alarming to the Giants faithful.
Giants faithful should rest easier at night though, knowing there’s no better way for a professional football team to reset than by entrusting a 69-year old general manager that still believes in building a roster like it’s 1990 and not 2020.
Nonetheless, the Giants embark on the 2020 season with their third head coach since 2017, the latest being former Bill Belichick disciple Joe Judge, and the first full season without Eli Manning as their starting quarterback since 2005.
The Giants enter this new decade after the 2010’s featured the best and worst of both worlds for the franchise. After winning Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 over the aforementioned Tom Brady led Patriots, the Giants have only had one winning season since. They have not won the NFC East since 2011, and all indications are that that’s not likely to change in the near future.
For the Giants to return to respectability and Super Bowl contendership, they are going to rely heavily on the young duo of quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.
To date, the Giants have handled Barkley’s immense skillset in a manner that would make the Lions blush with how they handled Barry Sanders. The offensive line remains a pain point for the Giants, as despite the solid play from new starting guard Kevin Zeitler, the tackle combination of Nate Solder and Mike Remmers proved to be on a different level of bad, and Barkley’s performance suffered greatly as a result.
This doesn’t even mention how the Giants would also ship off their most popular player to football purgatory when they traded Odell Beckham to Cleveland when the 2019 offseason opened up or how the Giants defense was still at the bottom of every statistical category despite using two of their three first-round picks on defensive players and acquiring former Top 10 pick Leonard Williams from their MetLife Stadium roommates, the New York Jets.
What else would you expect out of the Giants franchise lately?
Giants 2019 Season Review
We touched upon some of the Giants 2019 woes already, but the Giants 2019 season was not one that many Giants fans will look back upon fondly.
The Giants season started like the previous 57 Giants seasons before them — with a visit to Jerryworld in Dallas.
Eli Manning would do Eli Manning things, and the Giants would start the season 0-2 with a pair of losses to the Cowboys and Bills. The 0-2 start was apparently enough to signal to coach Pat Shurmur that the season was over, and rookie Daniel Jones was inserted for Eli, marking the second time that Eli was benched in his career, the first coming back in 2017 when Ben McAdoo and his slicked back hair with enough oil in it to fuel a small country benched Eli for Geno Smith.
Jones would go on to win his first two starts, a Jameis Winston meltdown led victory over Tampa and a win over hapless Washington placed the Giants at 2-2 and suddenly had their fans whispering that ‘Danny Dimes’ was about to take the Giants on a run.
What actually happened though is those two wins were a complete mirage and the Giants would go on to lose, an all-time franchise high, nine straight games before winning a couple of meaningless games at the end of the season to completely screw their chances at drafting Chase Young, and the Giants finished 2019 in third-place! With an um, 4-12 record.
But hey, they can only go up from here right?!
Dave Gettleman Approved Football Guys that Signed Here
CB James Bradberry (Panthers)
LB Blake Martinez (Packers)
TE Levine Toilolo (49ers)
LB Kyler Fackrell (Packers)
OT Cam Fleming (Cowboys)
S Nate Ebner (Patriots)
QB Colt McCoy (Washington)
RB Dion Lewis (Titans)
CB Ross Cockrell (Panthers)
Really? They Franchised Him?
DT Leonard Williams (Tender signed)
No Longer Dave Gettleman Approved Football Guys
S Antoine Bethea (N/A, Free Agent)
LB Alec Ogletree (N/A, Free Agent)
OT Mike Remmers (Broncos)
S Michael Thomas (Texans)
WR Cody Latimer (Washington)
CB Antonio Hamilton (Chiefs)
Giants 2020 Offensive Preview
The Giants hope the 2020 season leaves their fans clapping loudly, whether that’s from home watching on TV or if something drastically changes, in person at MetLife Stadium.
How do they hope you clap for the team?
Probably like new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett claps for his players.
For this to happen, the Giants will need Daniel Jones to take the next step in his first full year as the starting quarterback for the Giants.
Jones, to his credit, played pretty well in his rookie season given the circumstances. However, he did lead the league in fumbles with 18, and that is obviously a statistic that the Giants will need him to improve upon.
As mentioned previously, the offense really lives and dies with what Saquon Barkley is able to give them. Barkley is one of the most dynamic weapons in the game and can kill you on the ground or in the passing game, and for the Giants to have any chance at success in 2020 he has to be the focal point each and every week.
Daniel Jones will also have a decent stable of veteran weapons in the passing game, with Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard both returning to the team after missing time a season ago (Tate with a suspension and Shepard with injuries).
Tight-end Evan Engram also returns from injury, and if he’s able to stay on the field he gives Jones a big target to open up the middle of the field.
Once again, the Giants will look for their offensive line to provide more stability for their offense, something that hasn’t been the case during their recent struggles over the past three seasons.
Gone in 2020 are both offensive tackles from a season ago, as Mike Remmers departed for Denver in free agency and 2018 free-agent bust Nate Solder elected to opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus, as he has a newborn child that had a battle with cancer and Solder himself is a cancer survivor as well.
As a result of the offensive line struggles, the Giants used the 2020 NFL Draft to select the very large Andrew Thomas out of Georgia to play right tackle. Thomas, a 1st team All-American, stands at 6-5, 315 but somehow plays even bigger than that.
And while ideally, you’re selecting a franchise left tackle in the top five, Thomas will bring much-needed consistency to the right side of the Giants line and hopefully start to open up the running game more for their best player in Saquon Barkley.
If the line can gel and provide some room for Saquon to work, the Giants offense should be a respectable middle-of-the-league unit. If the line struggles again though, the Giants are in position to have a very long season.
Giants 2020 Defensive Preview
The Giants entered the 2020 offseason with roughly $60 million of cap room to play with, and they spent the bulk of it trying to shore up a pass rush that struggled to create consistent pressure all season and secondary that got lit up thanks to said struggles in getting to the passer.
Their pass rush of course would have been greatly aided by Chase Young in the draft, but the Giants were overeager to send Pat Shurmur out the right way, and ended the season with wins over Miami and Washington.
Because of those wins, the Giants slipped from 2nd in the draft to 4th, and were unable to address their pass rush woes via the draft.
Instead, Dave Gettleman looked to the Green Bay Packers to replenish some of the defense, and brought on 3-4 pass rushing specialist Kyler Fackrell to the team alongside his former teammate Blake Martinez to man the middle of the Giants defense.
Not to be outdone by division rival Washington with their Carolina Panther transplants, Gettleman also tapped into his own Panther pipeline by signing ex-Panther DB’s James Bradberry and Ross Cockrell to contracts.
Bradberry and Cockrell will be extra important, as the team is losing 2019 rookie DeAndre Baker following an off-field armed robbery incident that could end with Baker serving jail time.
Collectively, the Giants defensive unit is very young, with every starter being 26 years of age or younger. That bodes well for the future, but they may still struggle mightily on this side of the ball until the experience catches up to the skillset.
Giants 2020 Outlook & Prediction
It’s been a long time since we saw Mario Manningham make one of the toughest grabs in Super Bowl history to bring the Giants their fourth Lombardi trophy. Since that point, the Giants are a putrid 42-70 overall with only one winning season (2016, 11-5). The Giants are unlikely to break this trend in 2020, but if Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley can continue to grow together and the Giants defense begins to gel, we can see this Giants team being a team you don’t want to see in the second half of the season.
Giants 2020 Projection: 5-11, 3rd NFC East
Giants 2020 Betting Preview
We like the following futures wagers involving the New York Football Giants:
- Giants UNDER 6 wins — (+103) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Upon looking at the schedule, we see the Giants right at this projected number. We feel pretty safe about the Giants not finishing 7-9 or better, and while this may end right at 6-10, we think the plus money on the under is the move here.
- Giants to Finish 3rd Place NFC East — (+118) DraftKings Sportsbook
In the division finishing position market, the Giants finishing in 3rd place in the NFC East has the shortest odds for the team. We fully agree with the oddsmakers here, as while the division is a toss-up between the Eagles and Cowboys, we believe the Giants are better than Washington and will finish in 3rd as a result.
- Saquon Barkley UNDER 1200.5 yards rushing — (-110) DraftKings Sportsbook
We love Saquon Barkley as a player, but the first-half of the Giants schedule is absolutely brutal for a young offense trying to piece a new system together on the fly. Saquon would need to average 75 yards rushing per game this season to top 1200 yards rushing, we think he comes just short and hovers around 1100 yards on the year.