Last year’s version of the Giants looked good through five games with a 3-2 record, but a five game losing streak put a resounding halt to their season. They finished 6-10 missing the playoffs for the third season in a row. Pressure is at a high point for this team to produce and get back into the playoffs. With the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz’s return, the Giants look really good on paper offensively. The defense has to get better though if they want to compete in a tough NFC East.
1. What is going to happen to Jason Pierre-Paul? As most of you know, Pierre-Paul hurt himself in a July 4th fireworks accident that forced his right index finger to be amputated. Before the accident though, there was a question about whether or not he would be franchise-tagged by the Giants. I’m pretty sure that the Giants probably won’t sign him long-term. Even if he is tagged, his availability for this season is in question. This is a big blow to a defense that developed into a unit who sacked the quarterback (3rd in the league) last year.
2. Will ODB have a sophomore jinx? Odell Green-Beckham had a spectacular rookie season last year with 91 receptions and 12 touchdowns and several impressive catches. He gives the Giants true big-play ability. What will year 2 provide? Well, with a healthy Victor Cruz, he might see a decrease in numbers but I don’t see a huge drop. He does have a hamstring injury that has forced him to sit out OTA’s, but he should be ready to go come September.
3. Speaking of Victor Cruz, what effect would his return have? Cruz sat out the majority of last season with a torn patellar tendon. He thinks he will be ready for training camp. His return would be welcomed for the offense as he is a good route-runner who can work underneath as well as deep. He would open up the field for Beckham, Reuben Randle, and Larry Donnell. This offense has changed to more of a passing offense under OC Ben McAdoo, so having all weapons healthy would be a plus.
Eli Manning- Manning has a solid year as he threw for over 4,400 yards and 3o touchdowns. With the Giants throwing the ball more, Eli will see opportunities to compile good numbers, especially with everyone at his disposal. He was sixth in the league in passing yards without Cruz. I think he has the potential to be a top 8 quarterback in fantasy, I would take a chance on him being my starter if you go skill position players early. I like what Manning has around him.
The Giants’ draft was “Giant-esque”, not a lot of flash but lots of substance. Ereck Flowers fills in a need position at tackle. He is big and physical, which could provide a boost to the running game. Landon Collins was a much-needed pick as the Giants needed to find a safety with the departure of Stevie Brown. Owamagbe Odighizuwa might end up their most important pick because of what happened to Jason Pierre-Paul. He is a player with a high motor, which is one thing the Giants covet.
Victor Cruz bounces back and catches 80 balls this season.
We finish our tour of the NFC East as we go to the Nation’s capital and look at the Redskins.