For a proud franchise like the New York Giants, it must have been incredibly difficult to start the 2013 season 0-6. With Tom Coughlin on the verge of being fired before the Bye Week, the Giants rallied to win seven of their final ten games. This veteran team has a fiery spirit and a tough, hard-nosed coach and I would not count them out in 2014 even though their ranking today is in the bottom half of the league.
18. New York Giants (2013 Record: 7-9)
That 0-6 start to 2013 was one of the early shockers of last season, but Tom Coughlin, who I think is a Hall of Fame coach, was able to right the ship in time for a late season push for the division. Unfortunately for Giants fans, they ran into a surging San Diego Chargers team and the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks who foiled their hopes for a shot at the NFC East. However, a 7-9 record after such a start to a season is definitely a consolation prize and fans should be excited heading into the 2014 regular season.
Key Losses: Linval Joseph, Andre Brown, Ryan Mundy, Brandon Myers, Hakeem Nicks, Bear Pascoe, Justin Tuck
Key Acquisitions: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Trindon Holliday, Robert Ayers, Walter Thurmond, Rashad Jennings, Charles Brown, Kellen Davis, John Jerry, Geoff Schwartz, Quintin Demps, Mario Manningham
The Giants definitely focused in on all of the right moves for free agency, upgrading at nearly every position. There isn't one signing or loss that I thought didn't help the Giants get better as a football team. Part of me thinks they could be the class of their division, but this club has a history of lacking discipline early in the season, which has caused them to have to fight and claw their way into playoff position. It's hard to put faith in that, so I will take the slight over from the Vegas odds here with nine wins.
It's probably foolish to do so, given that the Giants 2014 regular season schedule is riddled with tough matchups. Not only do they have to go up against the NFC West, but also the Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and Indianapolis Colts. Eli Manning apparently was quite pleased to see DeMarcus Ware move on to the Denver Broncos, which is high praise for any defense end from a former Super Bowl MVP.
Projected Record: 9-7
Jon: The Denver Giants, or "New York Giants" as they were formally called, signed Robert Ayers, Trindon Holliday, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this offseason. The three Denver castaways could all be key contributors for New York in 2014. As long as they don’t face the Seahawks, it should be smooth sailing for the Giants.
Topher: Tom Coughlin is holding this team together with just his will power, luckily he got some serious help this off-season with a solid draft and a conservative, but productive, free agency. Also I think adding new coaching on the offense could get Eli out of his funk. This division is filled with 8-8 teams with both Philly and Dallas around similar levels and while I don’t expect the Giants to make the playoffs I expect a one or two game improvement over last year, not enough to steal the crown from the Eagles but enough to be competitive again.
Jacob: The Giants made some nice under-the-radar moves in free agency, bringing in players to address needs on the offensive line and in the secondary. Adding Odell Beckham Jr. gives Eli Manning another toy, one that should be more fun to play with than Hakeem Nicks. If Eli can get back to form, the Giants will challenge the Cowboys for second in the NFC East. 7-9 wins.
Scotty: The Giants had an awful 2013 season. I think they will do much better this season. I like the additions they made, and I think they will be competing for the NFC East title at the seasons end.
Now I ranked them so low because I do have my concerns about their offensive line. Last year they could not protect Eli Manning at all. I also have concern about Manning. He’s coming off surgery, and his worst season as a pro? I think he can turn it around but right now i’m ranking them at 25.
Kyle: What a disappointing year for the Giants. We're about to find out if Eric Decker can excel without someone named Manning throwing him the football... oh wait. (Editor's Note: Well I messed that one up. Don't know what I was thinking. Sorry about that... - Kyle)
Laurie: Eli still has some playmaking ability in him. Giants will be better this year.
Pete: I think this could be a bounce back year. It seems like the Giants take the "every other year" approach to being competitive. Win a Super Bowl, suck the next year. Go back and win another ring, and go right back to sucking. Well, they were pretty horrible last year, so I see no reason why they won’t find themselves back in the big game again, unless other teams like the Saints and Niners can stand in their way. This team drives me crazy!
Ian: With 12 teams making the playoffs, it would appear that I have the Giants making the playoffs. Unfortunately, I have six NFC teams ranked above the Giants. You can never anticipate at team like New York to be bad two years in a row and this offseason they did a whole lot to improve a backfield that spent most of the time on the injured reserve last season. Rashad Jennings is one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL. Couple him with a hopefully helpful David Wilson and Peyton Hillis and the number of interceptions that Eli Manning throws should decrease drastically. First round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr. should at least create opportunity for Victor Cruz to do more of what Cruz does. Fourth round pick running back Andre Williams (a Heisman Trophy finalist and Doak Walker Award winner) should solidify an offense that couldn't help itself last season.
On defense, well the Giants are the Giants and they're going to be good to great when that is what is needed, despite losing Justin Tuck to the Oakland Raiders and Linval Joseph to the Minnesota Vikings. With a .465 strength of schedule (sixth easiest in the NFL), New York could definitely squeak into the playoffs. Once the Giants make the playoffs all bets are off as they have proven that they can win the Super Bowl.