In Ben McAdoo’s first season as the team’s head coach, the Giants look to improve upon their 6-10 record of a season ago. QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr. are going to lead the offense again, with second-round draft pick WR Sterling Shepard having a possibility to have an impact in his rookie season.
Manning had some of the best statistics of his career last season, throwing for 4,432 yards with 35 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Beckham had 96 receptions for 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns despite missing a game. TE Larry Donnell played just 8 games, catching 29 passes for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns. The running game didn’t do as well as the passing offense, with RB Rashad Jennings leading the way for 195 rushes for 863 yards and 3 touchdowns. Backup RB Shane Vereen didn’t do much carrying the ball but did have 59 receptions out of the backfield for 494 yards and 4 touchdowns. The defense was the third-worst in the league in terms of points allowed, giving up 442, but their 15 interceptions ranked in the top half of the NFL.
If the Giants can get more production out of the running backs than they did last season, that would help take some pressure off of Manning and his receivers, who put up the bulk of the team’s offensive numbers in 2015. Shepard is expected to start opposite Beckham and, while you never know what to expect from a rookie, there are high expectations for the rookie receiver out of Oklahoma. A big question mark for the Giants is if they’ll get anything out of WR Victor Cruz, who hasn’t played in a regular-season game since October 2014. He seems to be ready to start the season, coming off his calf injury, but people felt the same way heading into last season and he didn’t step onto the field in 2015. The Giants used their first-round pick in the draft on CB Eli Apple in an attempt to help the defense.
The Giants’ schedule begins with a road game against the Giants’ biggest rival, the Cowboys. Another division battle awaits the Giants in Week 3 when the defending division champion Redskins come to MetLife Stadium. Following that are back-to-back games at NFC North foes, with the Vikings in Week 4 and the Packers in Week 5. In Week 10, the Giants host the Bengals on Monday night, with a trip to Pittsburgh scheduled in Week 13 to take on the Steelers. The Giants end the season with divisional games in three of their last four contests: hosting the Cowboys in Week 14, then visiting the Eagles and Redskins, respectively, in Weeks 16 and 17. I think te defense will be better than last season, and with potential production coming from Shepard and Cruz, I think the Giants will beat last season’s record; I’m projecting a 9-7 record for Big Blue.