In The Bettors Corner: New York Giants

When Doug Pederson replaced Jalen Hurts early in the fourth quarter in favor of Nate Sudfeld in week 17 against the Redskins the New York Giants were officially eliminated from the playoffs. Although a 6-10 record is hardly deserving of a division crown, that was life in the NFC East in 2020. The Washington Football Team won that game in Philadelphia and won the division with a 7-9 record. New York fans will blame Pederson, or they will blame Sudfeld. Hell, they would blame all of Philadelphia if that's what it takes to make them feel better, but the truth is the Giants had their chances. After upsetting the Seahawks in Seattle 17-12 in week 13 for their fourth win in a row, the Giants led the NFC East and controlled their own destiny. They would go on to lose their next three games, where they averaged only 8.6 points in those games. The offense was horrible, especially at home against Arizona and Cleveland in weeks 14 and 15. They beat Dallas in week 17 and needed help from Philadelphia to beat Washington, enter Nate Sudfeld. And it would be a fourth straight season of not qualifying for the playoffs for the Giants.

First-year head coach Joe Judge was successful in changing the culture and raising expectations while holding his players accountable. Judge is from the Bill Belichick coaching tree. He was in New England from 2012-2019, and before that was an assistant to Nick Saban at Alabama. So Judge is no stranger to winning and realizes six wins is not going to get it done in New York.

If the Giants are going to be a playoff team in 2021, it will be the offense that will need to show the most improvement and third-year quarterback Daniel Jones. All pro running back Saquon Barkley tore his ACL in week two, and the offense never really recovered. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett needs to improve an offense that finished 31st overall. Averaging 17.5 points a game. The only team worse was the Jets (15.2). Daniel Jones threw for 2,943 yards and 11 touchdowns in 14 games. The Giants made it a point to upgrade the talent on the offensive side of the ball. Drafting wide receiver Kadarius Toney from Florida with the 20th pick in the draft and signing the top free-agent receiver Kenny Golladay. With the return of Barkley, the offense should be better. How much better remains to be seen with a young offensive line that will have three starters in their second year. The Giants did finish middle of the pack in 2020, rushing for 110 yards a game.

Defensively the Giants went from one of the worst defenses in 2019 to being ranked 9th in points per game allowed (22.3) and 12th in yards per game( 349.3). Patrick Graham's defense was led by Leonard Williams with 11 sacks and Blake Martinez with 151 tackles. The Giants signed cornerback Adoree Jackson to play opposite All-Pro corner James Bradberry. And the Giants seemed to pull off the steal of the draft by moving down to pick number 50 to take Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari. Dexter Williams, Jabril Peppers, and Xavier McKinney all return to a young defense that appears to be loaded.

The Giants have the 8th easiest strength of schedule, with their opponents owning a winning percentage of .474 in 2020. They play 6 playoff teams from 2020, including the Redskins twice. After opening up at home against Denver, the Giants play three of their next four on the road. They play both Super Bowl teams from last year on Monday night football. Home against the Chiefs on November 1st and at Tampa Bay after their bye week on November 22nd. Road games at Miami, Los Angeles Chargers, and New Orleans will all be difficult. Judge has done a good job changing the culture in New York, and Patrick Graham and his defense seem like the real deal, but the Giants' offense needs to improve drastically for the Giants to be a playoff team. They play five of the top ten defenses from 2020. It is unrealistic to think the Giants can jump from 31st in the league to a top 10 offense in just one year. Win total is 7; I wouldn't be surprised if they ended 7-10. Eight to cash seems like a stretch.

New York Giants under 7.

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