The New York Giants are coming off of a very eventful off-season with some brand new names joining the offense and a couple of guys getting massive extensions, it is clear that this organization is moving towards a win-now mode. This season is going to be a big one for the franchise’s most important players, Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones, as they are both likely seeking new extensions with the team. The Giants finished second in the division last year and there is a chance that this season this team will be division champions once again.
Last year was a big step in the right direction for the G-Men. At the time, first-year head coach Joe Judge had a really stellar year. The Defense also made a major improvement under Patrick Graham and the team played meaningful games throughout week 17, something that they were not able to accomplish for a couple of years. Most people out there believe the Giants are a below-average team and going to have a rough year, but if you really think about it if this team was to win one more game or if Jalen Hurts played that whole SNF game in week 17, the WFT would not have won the NFC East, but the Giants would have. Yes, 6-10 is not a great record, and sure Daniel Jones still had a good amount of turnovers last season and has to fully prove himself, but if the Giants did make the playoffs the beliefs around this team would be so different.
This season the Giants now have a revamped offense with 3 big-name wide receivers joining the mix. Kenny Golladay is the new #1 receiver of this core and the fact that he was brought in indicates that the front office expects this team to be competitive. It would be hard to imagine Evan Engram having a worse season than last year and Saquon Barkley is back. When talking about game changers in the league, Barkley is certainly near the top of that list. He is an explosive runner with so much power and he plays a big part in both the running and the passing games. Barkley being at Jones’s disposal is only going to help. In the last two seasons, Jones has not had a healthy Saquon at his usage for the whole season, if they can both stay healthy this offense can be really really good.
In order to win the division you need to have a better record than your division rivals and in the NFC East, there is no team that is so much better than another. The Eagles despite having a solid performance against the Falcons are not a playoff team as currently built. So that leaves it down to three teams: the Dallas Cowboys, the Washington Football Team, and the New York Giants. These three teams all were within one game of each other last season. After one week of play, these teams all have an 0-1 record. The Giants had a really poor second half and lost to Denver, Washington lost by a couple of points to the Chargers, and Dallas was defeated by the Buccaneers. Dallas looks like the team to beat right now, but at this current time, it is a leveled playing field in terms of record. Last year after Dak Prescott went down, his team was not able to do anything special, Prescott is a huge upgrade over Andy Dalton. But the big question is: How many more wins can the Cowboys get with Dak than they did with Dalton? The best I could see Dallas going is around 10-7. The WFT is not going to get more than that, especially not with Fitzpatrick and as mentioned earlier the Eagles are not going to do that well either. Due to the division not seeming to be so competitive, the Giants have a good chance of winning.
Another really important component of being successful is a team’s schedule. On paper, the Giants have a really light schedule to start off the year. A loss to a team like the Broncos is in no way ideal, but it is really not the end of the world. The Giants’ upcoming opponents include Washington, Atlanta, New Orleans, and Dallas. I think that it is pretty reasonable for New York to win at least 3 of these next 4 games. The Giants beat Washington in both meetings last year and with Heinicke starting on Thursday, expect the Giants to get their first victory of the season. The game against the Falcons is reasonably an easy game to win, Dallas as mentioned earlier is an average team, and it is too early to tell if the Saints are for real. So if the G-Men can start off 3-2 there is a really good chance of winning the division. Starting off strong in Football is so much different than having a good start in other sports, with only 17 games every single one counts. Getting an early lead in the division is really helpful, as division rivals will not have a lot of time to make up ground. Additionally, there is no telling if a hot start will slow down at a set point in the season.
There are always some surprising teams every year, don’t be surprised if the Giants are one this year and come out victorious in the NFC East.
Photo: (Noah K. Murray/AP)