Our track record is important for a post like this. We predicted 6 or 7 wins in 2014 when Vegas had them at 8. They finished 6-10. Last season we were upbeat in our season preview, predicting above Vegas at 9-10 wins with a shot at 11 wins in a rebuilding year. The team finished 11-5. It matters for a prediction that this site is objective.
In 2017, we’re predicting 10 wins but think 12 wins and a Super Bowl title are realistic. “Super Bowl” are not words we use lightly. 2017 has that possibility.
OBJ starts the season hurt. 18 days ago they said he was “day to day.” Yet here we are on the eve of Week 1 and he’s still going to be a gametime decision. That smells of horse manure. I’d be more bullish if I knew he was ready for the season. That’s what we’ve got.
There are plenty of “ifs” that we need for a Super Bowl title. If the Offense schemes correctly and helps Flowers w chips and doubles. If Hart protects Eli when the competition ramps up. If OBJ can get back and contribute. If Bromley, Tomlinson and Goodson can hold up their end. If injuries go like last season with Wellman’s efforts continuing to pay off. If McAdoo can get out of the way on Offense.
These are some of the reasons why the Giants have Super Bowl potential:
1) The Defense is hungry.
2) The Defense can be stellar.
3) Landon Collins.
4) Apple can take a nice step forward in Year 2.
5) JPP and Vernon won’t be hurt, so they can take the D to the next level.
6) Marshall is an enormous upgrade to Victor Cruz. (That Cruz is out of football at the moment tells you plenty.)
7) Engram is going to be a matchup nightmare in coming years, but even his rookie year he will help the Offense significantly.
8) Shane Smith and Rhett Ellison give the Offense a dimension they lacked last year.
10) Eli Manning is a Hall of Fame QB with plenty left to get a title.
Let’s talk negatives first. We are objective. We know full well the problems. Ereck Flowers. The run game. Mediocre LBers. Flowers did not improve in preseason vs last year. His footwork and technique are still woeful. It is up to McAdoo and Sullivan to scheme this liability away. Regarding the run game, it is no secret that this NY Giants blog has explained numerous times: pass first and set up runs in passing sets. If there are 7 or 8 players in the box, yes, the Giants cannot run the ball effectively. They lack road graders. Scheme away this weakness. Perkins vs a 6 man front will be able to provide the balance. This is the hand you are dealt. Guys like Marshall and Engram should be able to help the passing game enough so that the run game has less pressure.
Opposing Offenses will be wise to target the soft underbelly of the Giants: their linebackers. Goodson will get better as the season progresses. Assuming the team can make the playoffs, what is a liability now will not be a liability in January.
Let’s discuss the main reason for why we can consider a Super Bowl this season. One of the most underrated aspects in team sports is continuity. Classify it as an intangible. It is very real … as visible as the nose on your face. I watched (nearly all of) the ‘America’s Game’ series and was struck by how many of these athletes talk about that bond with their fellow players. I call it the ‘run through a wall for your teammates’ factor. You get 3 new high priced Free Agents last year and that locker room is a bunch of eyes assessing who is going to fight for who. It takes time to get players to buy in for each other.
Turnover was low going into 2017. Everyone knows everyone. These guys like each other. Harrison, JPP, Collins, Vernon, Jenkins and OBJ want to be great this year. The goals are there. There are ifs. But there are enough pieces so that all the Giants need to do is go out there and take it. They have a Defense that has the potential to be dominant. The Offense just needs a little improvement. It can happen. In 2014 I was sober. In 2017 I’m Super hopeful.