New York Giants: Top Fundamental 5 for Success
By Michael Stewart
The New York Giants enter the 2016-17 season with high hopes and hopefully a return to the playoffs; which has eluded them for the past 5 seasons (last appearance in 2011). Many factors have played a part, such as; injuries, tough breaks, and mostly importantly, lack of talent. After many changes this past off-season by GM Jerry Reese, the Giants seem to have more talent (on paper) and depth to challenge for a playoff spot. There are many key factors that will play a vital role in the Gmen playing in January. Below I have compiled my fundamental top 5 in no particular order:
What Needs To Happen:
1. Stay Healthy: We all know injuries are part of the game, however; it seems that the Giants have endured more than their share of injuries over the last few years, especially to the secondary. This definitely needs to be kept to a minimum for the Giants to compete, especially at quarterback.
2. Eli being Eli: Whether you’re a fan of Eli or not, everyone agrees that if Manning is productive, then the Giants will have a chance. He doesn’t need to be in the top 5 in terms of stats in the league. He needs to minimize his mistakes (interceptions) and capitalize on opportunities throughout the season. If he could duplicate his numbers from the last 2 seasons…the Giants will be favorites in the division.
3. Balance Offense: A productive Manning will go a long way, however; having him attempting 40+passes per game is certainly not the answer. The Giants need to have a better running game in order to be considered a playoff contender. Last season, their running game was a disaster and possibly a result of employing a run by committee concept. This season, Rashad Jennings will be the featured back. Continuity and production should improve.
4. Upgraded Defense: This was a major problem for the Giants last season and GM Jerry Reese quickly addressed it through FA signings Janoris Jenkins, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Keenan Robinson, Leon Hall, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Jasper Brinkley. Reese also used three of his six draft picks on defense by selecting Eli Apple, Darius Thompson, and B. J Goodson. The Giants lost at least four games last season when entering the 4th quarter with a lead.
5. Turnover Ratio: In the 2015-16 season, the Giants had a turnover ratio of +7. Now that’s not bad and there were plenty of teams that had worse. However; in order for the Giants to really capitalize on their chances of making the playoffs, this stat needs to improve at least in double figures. Turnovers, especially in the 4th quarter…just can not happen. Increasing the turnover ratio by +4, would give the Giants most likely 2 extra wins; which could be the difference on making the playoffs.
Final Thoughts: Most of these can be said for every other team in the NFL. But based on the Giants past few seasons and personnel, these top 5 hold true for them to succeed more than almost every other team in the NFC. Although the Giants have a favorable schedule and they seem to have more talent, the proof will be on how the perform on the field.
I’m not about to proclaim this team a serious playoff contender, but I do expect them to improve on the number of wins from last season. Whether that will be good enough to make the playoffs is still unknown.