The New York Giants are coming off a disappointing 6-10 season that has ownership calling this a make or break year for head coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese . New York has failed to make the playoffs in each of the last 3 seasons since winning the Super Bowl and are coming off their first back-to-back losing campaigns in Coughlin’s tenure with the Giants.

Last year’s poor showing was a direct result of a 7-game losing streak during the middle of the season. New York was also hit hard with injuries on both sides of the ball. What has some concerned about the potential for 2015, is the fact that the Giants 7 wins came against the likes of the Texans, Redskins (2x), Falcons, Titans and Rams.

The thing about New York is that under Coughlin this team has a history of coming out of nowhere to surprise. Whether or not the Giants have done enough to catch up with the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles is tough to say.

Last Season
NFC East
Record
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Over/Under
3rd
6-10
7-9
4-4
3-5
10-6
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
10th
29th
-3
23.8
25.0
2015 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
Ereck Flowers (OG), Landon Collins (SS), Owamagbe Odighizuwa (DE), Mykkele Thompson (S), Geremy Davis (WR), Bobby Hart (OG)
Additions
Shane Vereen (RB), Kendrick Ellis (DE), George Selvie (DE), J.T. Thomas (OLB), Dwayne Harris (WR)
Losses
Antrel Rolle (SS), Walter Thurmond (CB), Zack Bowman (CB), Spencer Paysinger (OLB), J.D. Walton (C), Quintin Demps (FS), Stevie Brown (FS), Mark Herzlich (OLB), Mathias Kiwanuka (DE), James Brewer (OG), Peyton Hillis (RB), Jerrel Jernigan (WR), Kevin Ogletree (WR), Jacquian Williams (OLB)
2015 Schedule & Odds
Week Opponent Spread Win Chance
1 @ Cowboys +5.5 0.31
2 Falcons -3.5 0.64
3 Redskins -2 0.53
4 @ Bills +3 0.41
5 49ers PK 0.50
6 @ Eagles +4 0.34
7 Cowboys PK 0.50
8 @ Saints +2 0.47
9 @ Buccaneers -2 0.53
10 Patriots +1.5 0.47
11 BYE
12 @ Redskins -1 0.51
13 Jets -5 0.68
14 @ Dolphins +3 0.41
15 Panthers -2 0.53
16 @ Vikings +1.5 0.47
17 Eagles PK 0.50
Estimated Wins: 8.80
Roster Breakdown

One of things that can get overlooked with a team that goes just 6-10, is the progress that is made over the course of the season. Towards the end of last year the Giants offense was one of the best in the NFL, as they averaged 29.2 ppg over their last 6, scoring at least 24 points in all 6 games. Overall, the offense ranked 13th in scoring (23.8 ppg) and 10th in total offense (367.2 ypg).

Those that watched this team down the stretch or play fantasy football, know that the emergence of rookie wide out Odell Beckham Jr. played a crucial part in the teams success over those last 6 games. During those last 6 games, Beckham caught a ridiculous 60 passes for 842 yards and 9 touchdowns. He had 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 scores on the season, despite only playing in 12 games. In what seems like the blink of an eye, Beckham has put himself in the elite category of receivers in the NFL.

You also have to give a lot of credit to Eli Manning, the veteran signal caller bounced back in a big way after an awful 2013 campaign. Under the tutelage of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, Manning threw for 4,410 yards and 30 touchdowns, while setting a career-high with a 63.1% completion percentage.

There’s every reason to believe that Manning will put up similar type numbers in 2015. Not only will he have Beckham for an entire season, but the Giants welcome back former pro bowl wide out Victor Cruz, who only played in 6 games. The emergence of Beckham and return of Cruz, should allow Rueben Randle to thrive as the No. 3 option. It could also open up things for tight end Larry Donnell, who quietly had 63 catches for 623 yards and 6 touchdowns.

New York wasn’t great at running the football last year, as their 100.2 ypg ranked just 23rd in the league. Part of the problem was free agent pickup Rashad Jennings struggled to stay healthy (missed 5 games). Jennings and 2nd-year back Andre Williams will share the workload in the running game, but it’s the addition of running back Shane Vereen that could take the offense to the next level. Vereen isn’t much of a runner, but is a dynamic pass catcher out of the backfield. He had 52 receptions last year with the New England Patriots.

The lone question mark, and it’s a big one, is the offensive line, which lost projected starting left tackle Will Beatty to a torn pectoral that may cost him the entire season. The good news is that the Giants used their 1st round pick on Miami (FL) tackle Ereck Flowers. New York had hoped to have Flowers start at right tackle to allow Justin Pugh to move inside to guard (more natural position), but instead he will have to step in and start right away on the blind-side. His performance could go a long way in determining if the Giants offense reaches it’s lofty potential.

As good as the offense may be, New York will have to get better defensively if they want to contend for the NFC East title or Wild Card spot. Last year the Giants ranked 29th in total defense (375.8 ypg) and T-22nd in scoring defense (25.0 ppg). While they ranked in the bottom half of the league against both the run and the pass, they were especially bad at stopping opposing teams from running it down their throats (135.1 ypg, 30th).

In an attempt to bring back some stability up front on the defensive line, the Giants placed the franchise tag on star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. As I’m sure you are aware, Pierre-Paul lost a finger in a stupid fireworks incident on the 4th of July. Right now the Giants are left in limbo with Pierre-Paul and what kind of player he will be with just 9 fingers. He’s also officially not under contract, as he has not signed the 1-year tender.

Chances are that even with 1 less finger, Pierre-Paul will be the Giants best pass rusher in 2015, which goes to show how important it is that he is able to play. If for whatever reason Pierre-Paul can’t play, the Giants will have to make due with Robert Ayers, Damontre Moore and rookie Owamagbe Odighizuwa at defensive ends. As for the interior, New York is excited about the future for 3rd-year tackle Johnathan Hankins, but don’t have much in terms of talent to play alongside him. Veteran Cullen Jenkins will be the other starter by default, but don’t expect much out of the 34-year-old.

At linebacker the Giants needed to get better and it’s unclear if they did. They brought in free agent J.T. Thomas from Jacksonville, but he’s not good against the run. Veteran middle linebacker Jon Beason is well past his prime and can’t stay healthy. The best of the bunch is 2014 5th round pick Devon Kennard, who really came on strong in the second half of his rookie season.

The Giants decided to part ways with veteran safety Antrel Rolle and it’s hard to blame them after Rolle played poorly in 2014. The front-runner to replace Rolle is 2nd round rookie Landon Collins, who slipped out of the 1st round due to concerns with his ability in coverage. It’s up in the air who will start alongside Collins at the other safety spot. Luckily New York does appear to have a couple of solid corners to work with in Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Future Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the NFC
to Win Super Bowl L
8
18 to 1
44 to 1
Odds Courtesty of 5Dimes
Projections

With all the doubters and his job on the line, I wouldn’t put it past Coughlin to get the Giants back in the playoffs. It’s something he’s done on numerous occasions. The last time the Giants were coming off a 6-10 season was Coughlin’s first year on the job back in 2004 and they came out and won the division with an 11-5 record the following season.

I think if you are looking for a sleeper team for 2015, the Giants are definitely on the radar. If Flowers can do an adequate job at left tackle, the offense could be special. That’s a big if, and I also have my concerns with the defense being good enough to keep opposing teams from matching New York score for score.

I’m taking the safe bet and picking the Giants to finish 8-8 and 3rd in the NFC East behind the Eagles and Cowboys. Unfortunately no value to be found with New York’s win total, which comes in at 8. Not that I would feel great about the over if it was 7.5. The Giants could just as easily go 6-10 again and wouldn’t surprise me if they went 10-6. Best bet is to see how this team performs early and try and pick your spots against the spread, though the best value may be in backing the OVER on the total given their potential offensively and concerns defensively.

NFC East Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
3rd
3-3
8-8
PUSH 8
Giants 10-Year Recap
Year W L Playoffs Coach Win Total
2014 6 10 Coughlin 8
2013 7 9 Coughlin 9
2012 9 7 Coughlin 9
2011 9 7 Won SB Coughlin 9.5
2010 10 6 Coughlin 9
2009 8 8 Coughlin 10
2008 12 4 Lost Div Coughlin 8.5
2007 10 6 Won SB Coughlin 8
2006 8 8 Lost WC Coughlin 9
2005 11 5 Lost WC Coughlin 6.5

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