Over the course of 32 days (or so) I will be previewing all 32 NFL teams, followed by an overall season prediction post, leading up to the start of the 2014 season. This post is previewing the New York Giants.
The Giants finished 2013 with a 7-9 record – their first sub-.500 record since 2004 — largely because the offense ranked 28th in the league in a season in which QB Eli Manning had a 3:2 interception to touchdown ratio and no running back had more than 500 yards rushing and the entire team had fewer rushing yards than both LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte,.
Manning had his worst season since 2008 with 3818 passing yards while his 18 touchdowns were his fewest since becoming the full-time starter in 2005 and his 27 interceptions were the most in his career and the most among all quarterbacks on the season. RB Peyton Hillis is the only returning running back from 2013; number two on this year’s depth chart at the position, he played in just seven games with the team last year, one start, running for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Last year’s top pass-catcher, WR Victor Cruz, returns this season after just missing the 1000-yard receiving mark in 2013. But WR Hakeem Nicks, who had the second-most receiving yards last year, is on the Colts this season.
If the Giants want to improve on last season’s record, Manning has to have a much better season than he did last year. The team is counting on newly signed RB Rashad Jennings — who has started a total of 17 games in his first five seasons in the league — to lead the running game while WR Rueben Randle is being asked to step into the role of the number two wide receiver to replace Nicks; he has 60 career catches for 909 yards in his first two seasons. The team’s schedule starts on the road against the offense-heavy Lions and includes back-to-back-to-back November games against playoff teams — including last year’s participants in the NFC Championship game, the Seahawks and 49ers.