For the New York Giants, it was very much a case of so close yet so far in 2016. Ben McAdoo will take plenty of confidence from his side’s performance last year; especially considering it was his first season as a head coach.
Eli Manning was solid and consistent without forcing things and his play at the quarterback position was a key reason why New York managed to snatch one of the two NFC wildcard spots in the playoffs.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants were much improved. Landon Collins balled out in the second half of the year after a slow start to his career at Metlife Stadium and New York will only get better as Eli Apple and co grow accustomed to life in the NFL.
Against the pass, the Giants gave up 4,000 yards but 35 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and 17 interceptions suggest that McAdoo’s defensive unit showed vast improvement during the campaign.
In fact, you could claim that New York’s only real weak spot last year was at running back. The offensive line held up well on the most part; allowing just 22 sacks in 16 regular season games – an impressive statistic to say the least.
And whilst the line did its job, New York’s running game failed; with Rashad Jennings leading the team with 593 yards at a measly average of 3.3 yards per carry. Some NFL beat writers now expect the Giants to cut Jennings ahead of free agency…
— Jordan Raanan (@JordanRaanan) February 8, 2017
The Giants aren’t a run-heavy offense by any stretch of the imagination but the lack of a potent running game hurt New York this year. You only need to look at their results in the regular season to see just how good this side is; they beat the 13-3 Dallas Cowboys twice in their NFC East matchups.
Who knows, the Giants could run the division in 2017 if McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese get their draft strategy right.
With New York selecting 23rd pick in this year’s draft, LSU star Leonard Fournette will probably be off the board but Dalvin Cook and Christian MCaffrey may be there or thereabouts. Take your pick; both have tremendous potential. You could probably argue that Cook is the more complete back right now but McCaffrey has the talent to blossom into an elite option at the running back position. Either player would bolster New York’s tired-looking backfield.
New York lost just once on home soil last season and they will need the MetLife crowd to be right behind them ahead of the 2017 campaign. If McAdoo’s side can build on last year’s effort, the Giants could go deep into the playoffs – that’s how talented this franchise is. As of February 13th, New York are priced at 20/1 to win the Super Bowl in 888sport’s NFL betting markets and plenty of fans will be backing Big Blue to go all the way.
Pat McAdoo and this Giants side may be inexperienced on the whole but they have plenty of talent in their ranks and New York will be quietly confident of a Super Bowl push next year. Watch this space; the Giants will be there or thereabouts.