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NFL power rankings, Week 1: Cautious optimism for the Giants

Daniel Jones and the Giants have earned some respect

NFL: New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in years, the New York Giants are entering Week 1 of the NFL season with a healthy amount of respect from the national media.

Coming off a 9-7-1 season, the Giants are generally being ranked right in the middle of the pack in major outlets’ initial power rankings for the 2023 season. Some writers are expecting regression, some are expecting another playoff run.

The Giants are ranked 16th out of 32 NFL teams in our aggregate score, which averages out the power rankings from the sources listed below. That’s a stark contrast from the low expectations and general malaise that surrounded New York the past several Septembers.

Will the Giants make good on those expectations? We’ll track how the power rankings shift throughout the season as we learn more about the team, so check back each week for an update. For now, here’s what some of the top sports writers are saying:

SB Nation (16)

The Giants might actually be kinda good? Finishing 9-7-1 didn’t inspire a ton of confidence a year ago, but there’s a lot to like about this team. Brian Daboll is the real deal at coach, and while the decision to pony up big money for Daniel Jones could be a long-term mistake (Read: It’s a long-term mistake), they also made some really smart moves in the offseason.

Deonte Banks is going to be a big addition to the secondary this season for the G-Men and Jalin Hyatt adds another weapon for Jones. The signing of Bobby Okereke is one that flies under the radar, but he gives the team an organizational force in the middle they’ve been sorely lacking.

It’s too early to have much postseason confidence in the Giants just yet, but there’s something about this team that really could surprise considering the Cowboys elected to spin their tires a little this offseason. (19)

Brian Daboll built up a lot of goodwill with his surprising first-year success, which included the Giants’ first postseason win in 11 years. How high can this team fly? The Darren Waller acquisition and more speed at receiver give the offense a higher ceiling. This is a more talented team than last year’s version. But the defense must do a better job against the run and force more turnovers to net improvement in the standings. The front-seven reinforcements should help the run defense, but the takeaway question lingers. Big Blue’s 13 fumble recoveries a year ago were the NFL’s second-most, but the six INTs were tied for last. Can a reshuffled secondary (that likely will feature two rookies playing big roles) change that?

CBS Sports (18)

They play in a brutal division, which is why they might take a step back this year. But Brian Daboll is such a good coach that it’s hard to doubt them.

FOX Sports (16)

The Giants were a year ahead of schedule in Brian Daboll’s first season. Can they keep it up? Credit to them, they haven’t been idle. Darren Waller will help, as should a big-time rookie class. Everyone expects the Giants to be feisty, but it’ll be truly impressive if they can take another step forward and truly contend to win a loaded division. They have an early opportunity to make an impression, as the Giants have not beaten Dak Prescott since his rookie year, way back in 2016.

Pro Football Talk (11)

Last year might not have been a fluke but the start of something that will endure.

Sports Illustrated (15)

My visit to Giants camp this summer solidified that Brian Daboll will do whatever he can to win games. We don’t know what the Giants will look like on a week-to-week basis, and that may end up being one of the biggest matchup issues for opponents, given New York’s need to swing with the element of surprise. Darren Waller, if healthy, will be a major security blanket for Daniel Jones, who, with a more dependable option alongside Saquon Barkley, can further flummox defenses. Opposing teams will have to devote a lot of bodies to the box to ensure that a running back checkdown or tight end drag route doesn’t pilfer them to death.

Pro Football Network (15)

The Giants may not be as talented from top to bottom as some of the teams around them in the power rankings, but they have proven to be well coached. Additionally, they added some legitimate firepower that was lacking in 2022.

Still, they’ll be starting two rookies at cornerback in a Wink Martindale defense. That is a lot to ask of two very young players. Additionally, although this team is more talented than a season ago, their schedule is much more difficult. We can’t be surprised if they don’t repeat their nine-win season from a year ago.

Sportsnaut (17)

The New York Giants are essentially running it back with the same team we saw in 2023, albeit with some additions. There’s no denying the buzz surrounding Darren Waller, who will be the focal point of this passing offense, but let’s not forget his durability issues. We also need to wait and see if the Giants’ cornerbacks can hold their own when facing top competition. New York is solid, but we’d bet against the Giants making the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

Newsday (14)

This team won’t be taken seriously until they show they can beat the Eagles and Cowboys in their own division.

Bleacher Report (15)

“While many expect the Giants to regress after they seemed to overachieve last year, head coach Brian Daboll, offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Don “Wink” Martindale will continue to get the most out of their talent,” Maurice Moton said. “Though players win games, don’t underestimate the impact of a quality coaching staff.

“By the way, Daboll and Co. have a little more to work with this year than they did in 2022. This offseason, the Giants acquired Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders, drafted a speedy wideout in Jalin Hyatt, signed middle linebacker Bobby Okereke and their rookie cornerbacks, Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III, have looked impressive over the summer.

“When you combine those additions with the potential growth of quarterback Daniel Jones, right tackle Evan Neal, edge-rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and the presence of their core players, running back Saquon Barkley, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence II, left tackle Andrew Thomas and safety Xavier McKinney, Big Blue has a solid squad that can return to the playoffs.”

Yahoo Sports (18)

Love Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka, and Wink Martindale, but the Giants have a brutal road right out of the gate, and some of the 2022 playoff teams will regress. Here’s one of the better candidates.