A few days ago, we wrote about ESPN using its Football Power Index to put the over/under win total for the New York Giants at a paltry 6.5 for the 2018 season. How do your Big Blue View contributors feel about that 6.5 number?
Let’s find out.
Give me the "over" here.
I could say that since I picked the Giants to go 8-8 when the 2018 schedule came out that I'm merely being consistent. However, I genuinely believe that the Giants will surprise some people this season.
I have been on the record as skeptical of some of Dave Gettleman's roster decisions so far in the off-season, creating roster holes unnecessarily and I'm not sure that the overall talent level of the team has been improved upon over last season. That being said, I am also on the record as believing that the biggest problem with the team last year wasn't the roster or talent level, but coaching and leadership at the top. Pat Shurmur's belief in the importance of relationships and teaching players will make a huge difference on the field and in the locker room. Likewise, his history of putting players in position to maximize their talents will help. I do believe that Eli Manning can still play at a high enough level to get it done, and actually being in a functional offense that is quarterback-friendly could pay huge dividends this season.
The Giants may not be the team that goes from worst to first this season, but I would not be shocked to see them .500 or better.
This is still an under for me, though my feelings are probably somewhere between the one-win difference between the Vegas win total (7.5) and FPI’s projection (6.5). For as many changes and improvements the Giants tried to make this offseason, there’s still a lot of factors that need to be overcome for this team to massively improve in 2018.
Per Sharp Football Stats, the Giants still have one of the league’s hardest schedules in the league despite a fourth-place in the division finish last season. That really only impacts two games and the fourth-place teams the Giants will face are the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers, two teams expected to be much improved from 2017. The rest of the schedule features the NFC East, NFC South, and AFC South, each of which includes at least three good teams. The schedule is front loaded, too, with the hardest first half schedule in the league before the Week 9 bye.
Then there’s the question of how much this team really improved in talent. The offense has the pieces on paper, but it’s hard to look at the defensive depth chart with much confidence even with James Bettcher as my favorite offseason addition. You can argue the effort level contributed greatly to a 24th-ranking in defensive DVOA last season, but there was a significant loss in talent going to 2018.
As much as the 2017 Giants definitely underperformed, they were still only a 4.1-win team by expected point differential. A two-win improvement to six wins isn’t nothing, even if it would feel just as disappointing to most.
I’m going with the over on this one. Usually — not always, but usually — when you have a brand new coaching staff in place and a roster overhaul, it’s an opportunity to start fresh to where now your opponents who are scouting you don’t have as much film as maybe they did in the past. As a result, if a team stays healthy, it can sneak up on opponents, especially if the new systems are fitted to the personnel’s strengths.
And for those who might argue that there is film out there on Pat Shurmur’s offense from his stint with the Vikings and on James Bettcher’s defense from his time with the Cardinals, again, the key here is different personnel.
Yes, some of the concepts are going to be identical no matter what, but since I believe no two players are alike, I’m very curious to see just how much the Giants, who by the way also have the benefit of an “easier” schedule thanks to their finishing last in the division, an sneak up on opponents.
Maybe I’m drinking Big Blue Kool-Aid, but I feel much better about this team than about whatever that atrocity was that the Giants fielded a season ago.
I’m not blind to the reality that there are still plenty of questions on this team — defense and the overall depth at the top of that list.
Still, there is a lot to feel good about. I’m sure we will eventually find things to complain about with Pat Shurmur, but he has more experience and less ago than Ben McAdoo. Dave Gettleman is a breath of fresh air. The roster, now peppered with veterans who have been successful elsewhere, seems to be more professional and cohesive.
What will it all translate to on the field? Who knows? I’m going to be optimistic — that’s a whole lot more fun than being pessimistic. Until I’m proven wrong I will believe the 2018 Giants will be a team that should be in the mix for a playoff berth.
The Football Power Index says the over/under for wins by the 2018 Giants is 6.5. Are you taking the over or the under?
This poll is closed