How will the New York Giants, a team with a new GM, coach, and more than 30 players who weren’t on the team last season, fare in 2018? We get our first real taste on Sunday when they open the season by facing the Jacksonville Jaguars.
That will be a stern test for the Giants. While they are wiping away a 3-13 season, the Jaguars are coming off an appearance in the AFC Championship Game.
“We’re playing an outstanding football team, a team that fell one game short of going to the Super Bowl,” Giants coach Pat Shurmur said. “I experienced that last year in Minnesota, so they’ve assembled a very fine football team. They’ve got a quarterback that plays winning football, they were the number one rushing team in the league last year.”
The Giants will have Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Eli Manning, Evan Engram (out of concussion protocol) on the field together for the first time.
“There’s just so many weapons all over the place. It’ll be like fireworks out there going off,” said fullback Shane Smith. “Real excited about all those guys getting out there and seeing how the defenses are even going to be able to respond to that.
“There should be a lot of mismatches.”
The Giants may or may not have defensive end Olivier Vernon, who is “making great progress” in his recovery from an ankle injury, according to Shurmur.
The game will also bring Tom Coughlin, now in charge of personnel with the Jaguars, back to MetLife Stadium.
“I have certainly heard a lot about Tom and his years here -- 12 years. He helped the organization win two Super Bowls,” Shurmur said. “Prior to coming here, I have a professional friendship with Tom and we’ve been able to communicate. One of the guys I talked to when I was talking to former players and coaches was Tom in the offseason, and I’ve communicated with him a few times in the offseason. I’m going to go to his fundraiser (the Jay Fund Champions for Children gala) on (Sept.) 21st. I have great respect for Tom and what he accomplished, and certainly he left a very, very strong mark on this organization. All good stuff.”
The Giants entered the week as 3-point underdogs.
Stay with us all week as we bring you all the news, features and analysis you need to be ready this Sunday’s season-opener.