The New York Giants finished last season at 4-12, not surprising considering the transitional nature of their situation. After drafting QB Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in 2019, Eli Manning knew his time as the starter was shot. He ended up starting 2 games at the beginning of the season before the keys were handed over to Jones. Jones, a somewhat surprising pick at number 6, won his first two starts. The Giants then lost the next 9 straight, but Jones was statistically successful, setting up an intriguing 2020 season.
The Giant's clear focus in the draft this year was the offensive line. The team brass spent 3 of their first 5 picks addressing the protection of Jones. Highlighting that group was Andrew Thomas, a tackle from Georgia who was taken with the 4th overall selection.
On the free-agent market, the G-Men focused on their defensive backfield, which was among the worst last year. They ranked 28th out of 32 teams in terms of yards allowed last year, and are hoping the additions of Logan Ryan and James Bradberry can help shore up the defense. To further help on this end, the Giants used their 2nd round pick on safety Xavier McKinney out of Alabama, and linebacker Blake Martinez was brought over from the Packers to quarterback the defense. On special teams, they have a new kicker in veteran Graham Gano.
The Giants also hope to see improvement simply through better health. Key contributors like tight end Evan Engram, who missed 8 games last year, and Saquon Barkley, who missed 3, are healthy to start the 2020 campaign. Even while missing 3 games, Barkley still managed to rush for over 1000 yards and added over 400 yards receiving. This year, assuming health, Barkley is primed to explode. Jones now has a year under his belt and should be able to engineer an effective passing game, which will open things up for Barkley. His over/under line for yardage is set at 1200, while his touchdown line is set at 11.5. He only scored 6 times on the ground last year, but his injuries plus an offense in transition held him back. I like the over on both of those numbers this year if Barkley plays 16 games.
In just 12 starts last year, Jones amassed 3027 passing yards and hit on 24 TD passes. His prop numbers this year are 3799.5 on yardage and 26.5 on touchdowns. The over for 26.5 TD’s stands at +102. Again, we’re assuming health here and if Jones gets it, these numbers seem like a given. His defense is, in theory, improved, but it is not expected to be elite. That means high scoring games and Jones putting the ball in the air with regularity. The over on both is the play.
Engram is another player with a juicy number this year. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but the Giants offense should put up gaudy numbers this year if their guys stay healthy. So again, Engram is ticketed for the over on his betting yards total of 674.5 at -120. The Giants have hired Jason Garrett, formerly of the Cowboys, to run their offense. Garrett was in charge when Jason Witten went on a 6-year run averaging 92 catches and 1018 yards per year. He loves to use his best tight end. Also, while the Giants have a talented receiving corps, they have no true go-to number one threat, meaning Engram should be utilized consistently.
New York has only won 12 games over the last 3 seasons combined. They’ve also not won the NFC East since 2011 when they advanced to win the Super Bowl. This team is finally on solid footing, having found their quarterback of the future and a coaching staff that seems to be on the right track, but they are still in the process of surrounding Jones with what is necessary for NFL success.
The defense was awful last year and the staff came up a little short this year in making significant improvements. They’re likely to give up a lot of points again in 2020. That’s one of the reasons I’m so high on their individual offensive numbers. This team is going to play a lot of games that get into the ’30s. While that’s fun for fantasy football and individual prop bets, it’s not a good recipe for winning.
The Giants win total stands at 6. I really wish there was a hook added in either direction as it would make this more attractive to bet. If you’re determined to pick a side, take the under as I think 5-11 is more likely than 7-9. The Giants schedule to open the season is brutal. The first 5 games will send them on road trips to Dallas, Chicago, and Los Angeles to face the Rams. They have home games against the Steelers and 49ers. 0-5 is not inconceivable. They also have road trips to Seattle and Baltimore later in the season. They’ll outscore enough of their soft opponents like Washington and Cincinnati, but 7 wins is a tall order for a young team that’s still early in its evolution.
The rest of the odds are honestly bets only a hardcore (and optimistic) fan would make. The Giants are +1100 to win the division and +8000 to win the Super Bowl. Both bets are far fetched to play as evidenced by the gaudy numbers. It would be shocking if the Cowboys or Eagles didn’t win the division. That said, those two teams only combined to win 17 games last year, so it’s not like the NFC East is a powerhouse at this point. If you’re looking for a long-shot wager that could happen if the Giants are better than advertised, grab the +370 for them to make the playoffs. Going 8-8 and grabbing a wildcard is not totally out of the question in what will no doubt be a very odd year.
Final prediction: the NY Giants finish 6-10 and take 3rd place in the NFC East.