Schedule: PIT, @CHI, SF, @LAR, @DAL, WAS, @PHI, TB, @WAS, PHI, BYE, @CIN, @SEA, ARI, CLE, @BAL, DAL
Additions: CB James Bradberry (FA), LB Blake Martinez (FA), TE Levine Toilolo (FA), DB Logan Ryan (FA), EDGE Kyler Fackrell (FA), OL Cameron Fleming (FA), (FA), DL Austin Johnson (FA), K Graham Gano (FA), LS Casey Kreiter (FA), CB Isaac Yiadom (Trade), OL Andrew Thomas (Draft),
S Xavier McKinney (Draft), OL Matt Peart (Draft)
Losses: OL Nate Solder (Opt-out), CB Sam Beal (Opt-out), OL Mike Remmers (FA), S Michael Thomas (FA), S Xavier McKinney (Injury), LB David Mayo (Injury)
Is Joe Judge Matt Patricia 2.0? He seems to be taking the same Belichick-esque approach as his fellow disciple. Modeling your style after the leader of the greatest dynasty in pro sports history has to be smart, right? Well, not exactly. For a six-time champion, it works great. For a first-year coach, not so much. Lions players quickly grew tired of their authoritarian coach during his 6-10 debut season. Now, his job is on life support. Six wins is a good ballpark estimate for the Giants, so Judge could be headed down the same dark path.
While the head coach makes his bold transition, New York’s new offensive coordinator should have a much easier time. Leading a team proved not to be his thing, but Jason Garrett has a good track record as an OC. He deserves some credit for Dallas’ number one offense in 2019. There are some exciting pieces for him to work with, too.
After being a much-maligned pick, Daniel Jones changed a lot of opinions last year, including mine. He had the typical promising rookie season, alternating between inexcusable turnovers and huge plays. A huge year in 2020 could be in order given all the talent around him. In the backfield, Saquon Barkley is one of the best in the game. After battling injuries for most of last season, he could deliver the special season many expected last time around.
For targets, Jones has no shortage of options. There’s no Odell Beckham-level player, but the Giants are loaded with good WR2s. Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton are likely to frustrate fantasy owners with weekly rotations of top receiver performances. Evan Engram will get in the mix, too. Despite his tight end listing, the 2017 first-round pick is essentially a big receiver.
Offensive line play is the one thing holding this unit back from elite status. Opt-out Nate Solder hasn’t come close to living up to his contract, but he’ll be sorely missed nonetheless. His replacement, Andrew Thomas, was the most pro-ready tackle in the draft and should enjoy an easier transition than most of his peers. Still, putting too much faith in a rookie is a dangerous game. Outside of right guard Kevin Zeitler, the rest of the offensive line is scary. If this group is just average, New York has the firepower to make a little noise this year. Even adequate play feels ambitious, though.
Defensively, the three-man front of Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Leonard Williams should be dominant. Last year, they were merely good. For this defense to stop anyone, they’re going to have to be special in 2020. I still have faith.
They won’t get much support from an edge group led by Markus Golden. While the former Cardinal had double-digit sacks last year, he had so little free agent interest that the Giants were able to bust out a fun loophole to keep him for nothing. He must’ve done something to become such a league-wide pariah. Despite showing him no love, New York needs a repeat performance to compensate for the weak pass rush around him.
Blake Martinez is not going to fix the linebacker position. Being a “tackling machine” isn’t nearly as important as being a good coverage guy in today’s NFL. Martinez is great at first and not so much at the latter. Opposing running backs and tight ends should eat against this weak group.
The Giants’ recent flurry of moves should tell you all you need to know about the state of the secondary. With Sam Beal opting out and DeAndre Baker being a really, really sore loser, the corner spot opposite James Bradberry is a major worry. Recent signee Logan Ryan will split time between safety and corner, so Big Blue still needs an every-down option. With nothing special around them, Bradberry and Ryan aren’t enough to keep this unit afloat. I don’t think highly of the defense, and the secondary is a big reason why.
Expect a lot of shootouts for New York this year. Also, expect them to come out on the losing end most of the time. The offense will have too many sacks and turnovers while the defense is just plain bad. Throw in potential locker room issues, and you have the recipe for a poor record. The schedule isn’t doing them any favors, either.
What’s your record prediction for the Giants? What did I get right or wrong? Sound off in the comments.