Even during the peak of Tom Coughlin's career, hardly anyone favored the New York Giants. No one had much faith that the 2007 and 2011 championship rosters would amount to anything great. Analysts often raved about the offseasons from the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Now with the team missing the playoffs ever since 2011, expect this trend to continue. Despite a busy offseason from Jerry Reese, Vegas oddsmakers project the Giants to be a mediocre team. As per Bovada, here are their odds for the Giants win total.
Under 8 (+130, 13/10)
Despite this, I believe the Giants are a 10-win team for the 2016 season and here are five reasons why.
The passing game is elite
The 2015 season may have ended in a sour note, but do not blame the offense. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. led the offense for a sixth overall rank in points scored. This ranking was also without a single snap from their left tackle Will Beatty and their number two wide receiver in Victor Cruz. These were two are two considerable losses for the passing game yet the Giants still achieved high marks offensively. Now in 2016, the Giants are poised for an even bigger year with the arrival of Sterling Shepard and, hopefully, Cruz. If Cruz is still not healthy, a third receiver such as Dwayne Harris is still serviceable. Will Tye looks to progress from his productive rookie campaign while Jerell Adams has the talent to perhaps develop into the best all around tight end on the roster. With Eli Manning at the helm and a healthy dosage of weapons, the passing offense can carry the team to victories.
The offensive line is improving
Yes, much has been said about the offensive line from the fans and the media. Many dvocated for a right tackle with the 10th overall pick. However, doesn't this past season prove that these fears might be overblown? Ereck Flowers struggled mightily his rookie season, especially with a hurting ankle. Marshall Newhouse simply struggled, yet the offense was still among the best in the league. Many are worried for Manning's health yet the 2015 offensive line allowed the seventh-fewest hits on the quarterback in the entire league. Yes, not only were they not bad, but they were actually quite good at protecting Manning. Certainly the west coast offense has been helpful, which shows that the panic over the offensive line is largely unwarranted. Flowers looks to improve his game akin to Weston Richburg from his rookie year. Bobby Hart has looked serviceable in limited action and has the chance to take the job away from Marshall Newhouse. No, the Giants do not have a line like the Dallas Cowboys, but they do not have to in order to succeed.
Back to a real Giants defensive line
The 2007 and 2011 Giants have shown the wonders of what an elite defensive line can do. With the acquisitions of Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison, the Giants may sport the best and most balanced four-man defensive line they have had in years. Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul may not have the gaudy sack numbers, but they were very productive in disrupting the quarterback. In fact, Vernon was second in the league in quarterback hurries. Pass rushing has been an historical trait of the New York Giants and they look to reclaim their legacy. Now to add into that, they also have two behemoths with Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins. Harrison has been named the best run stuffer in 2015 according to Pro Football Focus. Hankins can stop the run, too, but he has pass rushing skills to go along with it. With young depth with upside such as Owa Odighizuwa and Jay Bromley, the Giants seemingly boast a top defensive line.
The secondary has upside
There might not be a single Giants fan who was not floored at the selection of Eli Apple. Many thought they had bigger needs, especially considering the amount of money paid for Janoris Jenkins. However, with Apple, the Giants now have better depth and upside in their secondary. Apple's size and athleticism is ideal to match against the athletic specimens that populate the wide receiver position. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins are also among the best corners in the league. Safety has been a sore spot for the Giants, but it would take quite a bit of bad luck for things to be as porous as in 2015. Landon Collins can only improve from his rookie season. For the free safety position, there is plenty of young talent that can contribute. Nat Berhe, Bennett Jackson and Mykkele Thompson are all draft picks who missed time with injuries. Third-round selection Darian Thompson might boast the best pure safety skills out of all of them. As a whole, the Giants have made a heavy investment in their secondary and it should pay off.
Better late-game coaching
With all due respect to the coaching staff in 2015, there is absolutely no chance the team can be any worse in crunch time in 2016. The Giants did everything wrong in the final minutes of their games. Wasted timeouts, poor play selection, terrible clock management, poor choice in personnel, these are all reasons for how the Giants snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Ben McAdoo might be a rookie head coach, but no rookie head coach has wasted as many opportunities as the 2015 Giants. It might be impossible to be any worse.