Ever since the New York Giants won their dramatic come from behind Super Bowl victories against the New England Patriots during the 2007 and 2011 seasons, it seemed the franchise was headed in the right direction for successful future. Unfortunately, the Giants haven’t been able to reach the playoffs the past two seasons and finished last year with an unsatisfying 7-9 record. Many speculators blamed Eli Manning for the poor offensive production, as he threw for league’s worst 27 interceptions. Others blamed head coach Tom Coughlin for poor coaching, as the Giants began the year 0-6. So with all the negatives put aside, why will the Giants win the NFC East?
1. No more Kevin Gilbride- Referred by many Giants fans as Kevin “Kill-Drive,” the team finally parted ways with their offensive coordinator who was with the team since 2003. Despite Gilbride helping the Giants to two Super Bowl victories change is needed. The offensive scheme did not work last year, leaving many Giants fans criticizing Gilbride’s play-calling. Not only did Eli Manning lead the league in interceptions, the team only scored 294 total points the entire season which was 5th worst in the NFL. With the Giants hiring Ben McAdoo from the Green Bay Packers, a new offensive system is just what they need.
2. New Offensive System- Ben McAdoo’s new offensive system will help set the pace for the Giants to score more touch downs this season. Last year as the quarterback coach for the Packers, McAdoo’s presence was apparent as Aaron Rogers completed 66.6% of his throws, earned a total quarterback rating at 104.9, and only threw six interceptions. In comparison, Eli Manning completed 57.5% of his throws, had a total quarterback rating of just 69.4, and threw league high 27 interceptions. Under McAdoo’s new play calling, Manning should be able to have a bounce-back season and help lead his team to winning the NFC East.
3. JPP is back to 100%-After an unbelievable 2011 season with 16.5 sacks and helping to lead the Giants to a Super Bowl victory, Jason Pierre-Paul has not been back to his Pro-Bowl self . Due to ailing back pains requiring surgery and rushed onto the field too fast, the past two seasons have been very unproductive from JPP. In 2012, his stats dropped dramatically as he only finished with 6.5 sacks, and only two sacks for the entire 2013 season. Despite his debilitating injuries, JPP claims he’s 100% healthy coming into this season and will return with a vengeance. Look for JPP to be an unstoppable force and help Big Blue’s defense stomp out opponents and lead them to the top of the NFC East.
4. Key Offseason Moves-This offseason for the Giants has been filled with transactions. With the departure of Kevin Gilbride and the hiring of Ben McAdoo as the new offensive coordinator, there have also been multiple player moves. The Giants parted ways with defensive end and former co-captain Justin Tuck (who signed with the Oakland Raiders), cornerbacks Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas, and Aaron Ross, and wide-receiver Hakim Nicks-all who played critical roles to helping the Giants win. As tough as it was to see all these favorite players go, the team needs to begin winning again, so change is needed. The Gmen allowed 383 total points last year, surrendering about 24 points a game. There is absolutely no way the Giants can surrender that many points and manage to make the playoffs. With all the departures, the front office was able to sign a few top free agents to excite Giants fans. The Gmen acquired former Denver Broncos players Robert Ayers and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They also signed former Seattle Seahawk Walter Thurmond. Not only will Rodgers-Cromartie and Thurmond help upgrade the Giant’s secondary, Ayers will contribute greatly as a defensive lineman. Note also all three have Super Bowl experience. However, the most important free agent signing this offseason for the Giants has to be Rashad Jennings. After David Wilson was forced to retire due to a neck and spinal cord injury, Jennings will be the featured back in this new offense. Jennings played good football for the Oakland Raiders last season filling in for the injured Darren McFadden, rushing the ball 163 times for 733 yards and six touchdowns. Given the high expectation for every roster transaction, these new players will help propel the Giants back to the playoffs.
5. Veteran Leadership-Veteran leadership is key for any team’s locker room. You need to have players who others look up to for advice, to improve, and set the tone for winning. This year, the Giants are blessed with capable veteran players who are hungry for another Super Bowl victory and are ready to lead this team. Surrounded by their new teammates, Eli Manning, Antrel Rolle, and Jason Pierre-Paul are three New York Giants who will step up and restore leadership for the 2014 season. Since all of them have earned at least one Super Bowl ring in their careers, they know how to win and understand what it takes to be the best.
The 2014 expectations are high for the New York Giants. With all the off-season moves and the introduction of a new offensive system, the Giants have positioned themselves well to become to not only compete for the NFC East, but for Super Bowl XLIX.