Sports

Big Obstacles Ahead for Big Blue

What to Know About the Giants 2017 Campaign

By: Steven Aiello

Another season lies ahead for the Giants, and expectations are high for the team. Following the team’s disappointing finish in last year’s wildcard round, the Giants look to bounce back by making the postseason once more, and possibly winning it all.

The Giants were one of the more surprising teams in 2016, posting an 11-5 record with first year coach, Ben McAdoo, and one of the most impressive defenses of the past decade. Said defense was the biggest factor in the Giant’s 11-5 record and it put them on the map as one of the more legitimate contenders in the NFL.

Fans will be pleased to hear that the defense remains largely unchanged from last season, with only one starter, Johnathan Hankins, not returning for the 2017 season. Arguably the defense’s biggest strength was the secondary, which ranked in the top 10 for touchdowns allowed and interceptions, so the secondary remaining unchanged is a bonus for the Giants.

The offense has also seen some improvements, mainly with its receivers. New York released Victor Cruz, whose production has been in a steady decline, replacing him with Brandon Marshall from the Jets. The Giants also acquired Evan Engram from the draft, while Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard remain on the team.

The addition of Marshall and Engram gives more passing options for Eli Manning, who returns for his 14th season in the NFL. Although Manning is not nearly as skilled as some of the other NFL quarterbacks, he is still a relatively consistent quarterback who has proven himself in moments that matter.

Despite all the pros of the team, the Giants are not without some concerning flaws. The offensive line, for instance, remains unchanged from last season and the special teams, specifically with rookie kicker, Aldrick Rosas, suffers from being somewhat inexperienced.

The Giant’s offensive was undoubtedly the worst aspect of the team, and a key factor for their lack of production in both points and yards. If the Giants offensive line can’t consistently provide Eli Manning and their run game protection, the team may very well not be able to reach the postseason.

The kicking situation is slightly less worrisome but with that said, an inexperienced kicker isn’t necessarily a positive for this team. Extra points and field goals are important in NFL games that can often determine the winner of games and an inexperienced kicker may end up missing those kicks, ultimately losing the game. Though the Giants have enlisted the help of former Bengals kicker Mike Nugent, their still remains a noticeable blemish on the team.

However, the most daunting part of next season is the Giants schedule. A far cry from last year’s schedule, this year sees the Giants facing a number of difficult teams, made more difficult due to most of these games being road games.

Three of their first four games are on the road against promising teams, and the Giants play the Andy Reid lead Chiefs following the latter’s bye; Andy Reid is 19-3 following bye weeks.

Although most expectations call for at least ten wins and the postseason, it is just as likely that the Giants won’t even win eight games, let alone make the postseason. Missing the postseason will definitely make this season a disappointment, though anything short of a Super Bowl victory could also be considered disappointing for the Giants.

Regardless, the Giants are more than capable of meeting those expectations. The team has a number of talented and capable players, and with enough perseverance, the team can win ten games and even the division, barring an injury to a starting player.

With Eli Manning’s career nearing its end, there’s only so much time the Giants have to win it all. Only time will tell if their defensive and offensive talent can lead the team to their fifth Super Bowl championship and secure Manning his third and possibly final ring.

 

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