There is no New York Giants game for us to discuss today. So, while we wait for Monday night's season-opener vs. the Detroit Lions let's make up our own game. Let's play the 'New York Giants Numbers Game.' In a way, this also functions as prediction of how things will go for the Giants this season.
Here is how this goes. I will toss out some numbers, give you the context and tell you whether or not I am taking the 'over' or the 'under' on that number. Use the comments, as you always do, to agree or disagree.
So, let's get started.
17 -- That is how many interceptions Eli Manning has averaged per season during the first 10 years of his career. With a new offense that features fewer option routes by receivers and is expected to emphasize quicker, shorter throws will Manning finish the season over or under that number in interceptions. He threw 27 last season and has never thrown fewer than 10 since becoming the full-time starter in 2005. Valentine's View -- Under, but just barely
63 -- Yep, another Eli number. Manning's career-best completion percentage was 62.9 during the 2010 season. The Giants have tossed out the pie-in-the-sky goal of 70 percent completions for Manning this season. That is not happening. The Giants would probably be ecstatic if he hit 65 percent and are probably realistically looking for him to at least set a career-best in completion rate. The magic number for that is 63. Valentine's View -- Over
16.5 -- This is a number you should know. That is the number of sacks Jason Pierre-Paul had in his All-Pro season of 2011. Pierre-Paul, as we know, has driven yours truly up a proverbial tree with his constant talk about how good he thinks he will be in 2014. So, will he finish over or under that sack number this season? Valentine's View -- Under. Did I even have to tell you that?
35 -- The Giants really have no idea what they will get from any of their three tight ends this season. Will one of them catch at least 35 passes this season? Brandon Myers caught 47 passes a year ago, and Martellus Bennett had 55 catches in 2012. Valentine's View -- Under
85 -- This is my arbitrary over/under on receptions for Victor Cruz. Cruz had 82 receptions in 2011, 86 in 2012 and 73 in an injury-shorted 2013. If he doesn't catch 80 passes or more in this offense, designed to get the ball out quicker and allow play-makers like him to catch and run, that is a problem for the Giants. Valentine's View -- Over
25 -- Manning was sacked a career-high 39 times a season ago. Curtis Painter was sacked once, making 40 sacks surrendered by the Giants. Let's put the over/under for times Giants quarterbacks will be sacked at 25, which happens to be the average number of times per season Manning has been sacked during his career. Valentine's View -- Over
733 -- Rashad Jennings' career-high in rushing yards in 733, the number of yards he ran for with the Oakland Raiders a season ago. The Giants signed Jennings to be their No. 1 back, and thus are counting on better than that total of 733. Will they get it? Valentine's View -- Over, but probably around 900 instead of 1,000 or more. Andre Williams ends up taking a lot of carries.
56 -- That is the number of catches Hakeem Nicks had for the Giants last season. The Giants are praying that Rueben Randle can give them better production than that this season. Randle had 41 catches as the Giants' No. 3 receiver last season. Valentine's View -- Over
100 -- In two of the past three season the Giants have not been able to average at least 100 yards rushing, and last season averaged only 83.2 yards per game and 3.5 per carry. With new backs, a new scheme and a new line can they get back to averaging at least 100 yards per game on the ground? They need to. Valentine's View -- Over
7 -- Ah, finally the number that matters. This, of course, is the number of victories the Giants had last season. Will they do better or worse in 2014? Valentine's View -- Over. Hey, it's a gorgeous day. I'm in the Adirondacks looking at a beautiful lake. I feel good today. Besides, I'm often accused of being overly optimistic about the Giants.