Earlier this week ESPN’s Jordan Ranaan made a bold prediction for the New York Giants after the first week of training camp.
A few practices later, it’s time for the Big Blue View staff to throw down some predictions of our own. So without further ado, let’s get out on those limbs!
Prediction: The Giants will be top-10 in points per game.
My bold prediction for the Giants is a fairly big one. The Giants will end up ranked in the top 10 in points per game. This is a pretty big stretch considering the Giants have not broken 30 points in a game for the past two years and were bottom of the barrel in points scored last year. I think that all changes for several reasons. Hear me out on this one:
1) Saquon Barkley is a potential gamebreaker. Odell Beckham is definitely a gamebreaker. Evan Engram is not a gamebreaker but the potential is crazy. The Giants have big play guys on the offense. Engram is a year in. Beckham is healthy. Assuming availability (big assumption), the Giants’ trio plus Sterling Shepard is probably a top 5 skill position corps. Add to that, the balance that a legitimate running threat like Saquon Barkley provides and your whole playbook opens up.
2) Speaking of playbook, Pat Shurmur has commanded a couple top flight offenses in the past and his playbook is much more complex than the relatively basic style of Ben McAdoo. Coaching matters. Significantly.
3) The offensive line will probably still not be great, but I do think from at least a run blocking perspective, they will be better. That should help take a load off Eli Manning’s shoulders, but I do still suspect he’ll be running for his life pretty often.
4) Finally, the defense will not be as good as it was last year. I think even though you have a defensive guru in James Bettcher, a new scheme takes time to implement. It’s going to be a rough few weeks. On top of that, I think our cornerback depth is dangerously thin. That could lead to some aerial fireworks and the offense will essentially be forced to speed up and produce.
There’s a lot of factors involved but this offense looks like a dangerous one. Will that lead to more wins. I should certainly hope so. How many? Great question and one I’m excited to find out.
Prediction: Amba Etta-Tawo finishes the season as the Giants’ third receiver.
Maybe it would be bold enough to say he makes the final 53 and plays, but I’ll say by the end of the season he’s the guy in three receiver sets. He has the ability to get open deep and he’s a better route runner than the “deep threat” label would give him credit for. In the 2017 draft class, Etta-Tawo was third in Target Yards Added, a metric I created in an attempt to separate college wide receivers from their quarterbacks — basically what does the receiver add to the offense. He has a wide catch radius, which helps on the intermediate routes, and he’s good on screens. That’s a good skill set to have for a third wide receiver and it should pay off for the undrafted free agent.
Prediction: Odell Beckham Jr. will not lead the team in touchdowns.
I assure you, I haven’t been drinking or smoking anything when I came to this prediction. And no, I’m not trying to “dis” the greatest receiver of this generation.
I’m embracing this bold because I truly believe that if all the weapons the Giants have on offense—tight ends Rhett Ellison and Evan Engram, receivers Beckham and Sterling Shepard, and running back Saquon Barkley—are healthy, this is going to take a lot of the onus off Beckham.
In the past the Giants have had to heavily rely on Beckham’ talents to remain in games. Those days appear to be over, as given the makeover this offense has had—and you can throw in the scheme to go along with the personnel—there should be no reason for them to make the opposing defense’s job easy every week by constantly throwing to Beckham every time he’s on the field.
Will the Giants rely less on Beckham this year? If what we have seen in training camp so far is any indication, it wouldn’t surprise me at all.
So sorry OBJ fantasy football owners. While Beckham is going to be a big part of this offense, he finally has a better than decent supporting cast around him who will challenge for the scoring title this year if everyone stays healthy.
Prediction: Eli Apple will have a Pro Bowl caliber season.
I’m not going to say that Apple will make the Pro Bowl, there’s too many complications to say that (things like player popularity or reputation). But I’m going to embrace the bold and say that Apple will justify that Top 10 pick.
He has all the physical tools to be a borderline shut-down corner, and has flashed that potential. But last year seemed like he was a ship lost in a perfect storm without safe harbor in sight. Fractured locker room, head coach in over his head, injury ravaged team, family problems, and dealing with his mother’s brain surgery.
Apple’s issues have always come from the finer points of playing his position, and it’s understandable why that would take a step backward last year.
But now, after having weathered that storm, with a new head coach who is devoted to forging relationships with his players, new position coaches, a new defense with healthy players around him, and a repaired locker room, I’m predicting that Apple will finally harness his considerable talents.
Prediction: Olivier Vernon has his best season
There have been questions about how Vernon would handle his transition from 4-3 defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker. Well, Vernon has handled that transition by thus far being dominant throughout training camp.
Having Vernon in coverage against the best pass-catching backs and tight ends in the league will never be a favorable matchup for the Giants. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher said in the spring the Giants wouldn’t ask Vernon to drop into coverage regularly. Instead, they wanted him to go forward — to get into the backfield and wreak havoc.
Bettcher has moved Vernon from side to side, sometimes standing and sometimes as a 4-3 defensive end. He has made life miserable for Ereck Flowers and Nate Solder. He was rude to running back Wayne Gallman.
Vernon has only had one double-digit sack career in six seasons. I think he is about to have another one.
Which Prediction Will Come True?
This poll is closed
Giants Will Be Top-10 In Points
Amba Etta-Tawo Will Be WR-3
Odell Beckham Will Not Lead The Giants In Touchdowns
Eli Apple Will Have A Pro Bowl Caliber Season
Olivier Vernon Will Have His Best Year (thus far)
Those are our bold predictions, so now I put it to you BBV, what bold prediction would you make?