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2015 NY Giants: I Got a Reeeally Bad Feeling About This, Which is Good?


Tom Coughlin NY Giants coach Bleacher Report

Image via Julio Cortez / Associated Press

The Giants 2015 season opens up on Sunday night against the Cowboys and I don’t think I’ve ever been less optimistic heading into a kickoff. Just off the top of my head, here’s an abridged list of reasons why the Giants will repeat last season’s 6-10 record:

Victor Cruz’s health
Right side of the o-line
No running game
No secondary
No run defense
No pass rush
Lackluster special teams
Most injuries in the league
Lame duck coach
Eli’s contract
JPP’s contract / health

Coming off last season and into this past spring, I thought the franchise was destined for another historic Super Bowl run. There was a method to the madness, a pattern that was tried-and-true. Every four years, we find thunder and lightning in a bottle. We wave a wand and magic happens. In ’07-’08 and ’11-’12, the Giants were underdogs coming into and throughout the 16-game slate, faced the AFC East, went toe-to-toe with the Patriots in the regular season and again in the Super Bowl, defying the odds. There was a similar feeling in the air that 2015 would follow suit. Just like those 2 previous seasons, many have discounted the possibility of Big Blue making the postseason in 2015 and, unlike the previous 2 banner seasons, I’m right there with the critics.

jason-pierre-paul-hand-chubbs-happy-gilmore

via Larry Brown Sports

Every day, I hear or read something different about JPP. He went home. He came in. He’s not talking with coaches, he is talking with management. He doesn’t need all his fingers, he can’t play with a lobster claw. This was to be the season that the organization needed JPP the most, where he could come into camp in great shape and get back to his 2011 form. He’d prove his worth, sign a mega contract and retire a Giant. Then Fourth of July weekend happened and the Giants have been put in a very difficult position.

I understand one man (JPP) does not a team make, but Jon Beason is banged up again, Jameel McClain – a player I liked and who did an admirable job filling in when Beason went down last year – was released, Damontre Moore can’t stop making mistakes, and the safety position appears to be the least safe on the field with a handful of guys sidelined with injuries. Us fans were respectfully happy to see Fewell go, welcoming Spags back with open arms, but the chef can only cook up something great with only so many ingredients.

One recipe-altering ingredient? Kam Chancellor. If the Giants could trade for the young All-Star, the defensive woes would be significantly reduced. But, my brain hurts from all the contradictory headlines around his status:

Seahawks reportedly shopping Kam Chancellor
Carroll says Seahawks have no interest in trading Kam Chancellor
Nothing has changed between Seahawks, Kam Chancellor
The Seahawks aren’t trading Kam Chancellor
Seattle prepares for the worst, ready to move on without Kam Chancellor

Then, there’s the offense. As a fan, you watch the preseason games and think, our offense looks like garbage. How in the hell can fans keep believing reports that Eli is more comfortable in year 2 of Ben Mcadoo’s system when they can muster only 10 points in like 12 possessions and Eli throws 0 touchdowns and a pick six. It’s hard to buy what the team is selling. “It’s just preseason”. Yeah, you said that last year. Is this a joke?

Without a healthy Victor Cruz, teams will key on Odell Beckham, Jr. Will Rueben Randle shake off the annoying injury from last year and step up as the #2? Can Larry Donnell find some consistency and not fumble the ball? Will Rashad Jennings give us 16 games with 50 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving per contest? Will Andre Williams convert goal line opportunities into touchdowns and short yardage situations into first downs? Will the team finally solve the red (or green) zone crisis? That’s a LOT of questions if you’re supposedly poised to be a top-notch offense.

I think (and hope) the X factor will be Shane Vereen. There’s been a lot of hype and pressure placed on the free agent signing from New England. I just hope he doesn’t become a crutch for Eli on third downs. For Shane to become effective, the McAdoo really needs to experiment and find ways to get Vereen in the mix in a variety of lineups. In the backfield, motioning out to the numbers, in the slot motioning into a pitch on a sweep, WILDCAT! Jk on the wildcat. I’m a wacky dude, I’d like to see all 3 RBs in the game inside the 20 with an empty backfield. You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!

Let’s NOT do the predictable 3rd-and-25 draw to Vereen every game.

Of course, a lot of the production ultimately comes down to the line and so far the left side with Pugh and Flowers looks All-Pro while the right side is a merry-go-round. I’ve never seen a more unbalanced line and more uncertainty from one side to the next. Geoff Schwartz was a heralded signing last year but couldn’t stay on the field. The reviews on John Jerry, Marshall Newhouse and Bobby Hart haven’t been positive. Won’t defenses take advantage of that?

With all that in mind, here are my updated predictions.

Sun, Sep 13 @ Cowboys 8:30 PM – L
Sun, Sep 20 vs Falcons 1:00 PM – W
Thu, Sep 24 vs Redskins 8:25 PM – W
Sun, Oct 4 @ Bills 1:00 PM – L
Sun, Oct 11 vs 49ers 8:30 PM – W
Mon, Oct 19 @ Eagles 8:30 PM – L
Sun, Oct 25 vs Cowboys 4:25 PM – L
Sun, Nov 1 @ Saints 1:00 PM – L
Sun, Nov 8 @ Buccaneers 4:05 PM – W
Sun, Nov 15 vs Patriots 4:25 PM – L
Sun, Nov 29 @ Redskins 1:00 PM – W
Sun, Dec 6 vs Jets 1:00 PM – W
Mon, Dec 14 @ Dolphins 8:30 PM – L
Sun, Dec 20 vs Panthers 1:00 PM – W
Sun, Dec 27 @ Vikings 1:00 PM – W
Sun, Jan 3 vs Eagles 1:00 PM – L

8-8. And that’s being generous. Something tells me the Bucs game is a trap and the Falcons, Panthers, and Vikings could come out guns blazing. You could be looking at a 4-12 campaign if the injuries begin to pile up, which is almost a foregone conclusion.

8-8 will not get this team into the postseason for another miraculous run to a Lombardi. Coughlin will most likely retire, Eli’s future will depend on who they hire as coach and his flexibility with the team’s cap and financials, and the team’s future will depend on Eli. Ryan Nassib hasn’t shown that he can take over starting duty. That leaves the draft and free agency, neither of which seem promising. Will you place faith in free agent Chase Daniel? Do you select draft prospects Cardale Jones, Connor Cook, or Christian Hackenberg?

I will say this about the 2015 Giants season: at least we’ll see a lot of points scored. I love offense and I should see plenty of it every week. And, the ’07 and ’11 seasons weren’t exactly inspiring until December, so maybe it’s good I feel queasy in September? I need a nap.

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