Projections are always fun, however simple. So with that in mind — here is some basic algebra in the form of 4x. Based on the first quarter of the season for the NY Giants here is what the final 2011 season stats for key members of the NY Giants will look like after week 16 if productivity stays this exact course.
QB Eli Manning – 320/500, 4264 yards, 32 TDs, 8 INTS, 8 Fumbles, 44 sacks.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw – 220 rushes, 912 yards, 8 TDs, 60 receptions, 476 yards, 4 receiving TDs, 4 fumbles.
RB Brandon Jacobs – 152 rushes, 464 yards, 8 TDs, 16 receptions, 236 yards, 4 receiving TDs, 0 fumbles.
WR Hakeem Nicks – 96 receptions, 1388 yards, 8 TDs.
WR Victor Cruz – 44 receptions, 900 yards, 8 TDs.
WR Mario Manningham – 32 receptions, 460 yards, 0 TDs.
TE Jake Ballard – 32 receptions, 480 yards, 4 TDs.
TE Travis Beckum – 4 receptions, 8 yards, 0 TDs.
Obviously, this is a pretty strict set of projections bases on the first 4 games of the 16 game season. This is straight math – and although I highly doubt things will play out exactly this way I think it’s interesting to embellish the numbers to their annualized state to see how some players are being utilized and how others are not.
For example, Mario Manningham. Did I really think Super Mario would get injured and be relegated to only a few catches and no TDs? No I didn’t and I really didn’t expect Victor Cruz to put up the numbers he has this season. So if these trends become the norm – the above projection is what we’ll get. Interesting to think about.
Same idea applies to Travis Beckum. Perhaps no other offensive weapon had larger plans penciled into their playbook than Travis Beckum, and yet no player has seen less field time than Beckum. If he finished the year with 4 receptions and 8 yards, he would obviously be on his way out of NY… so it will be interesting to see if Ballard really is the new hot hand at TE or if Beckum will come on strong as the pass catching H-Back we all thought he would be this year.
Hakeem Nicks — obviously he’s a beast and is on track for a breakout year as one of the best young receivers in the NFL.
And of course Eli Manning is on track for a monster year… in terms of yardage, TDs, minimal turnovers, and of course sacks. These annualized numbers are amazing and frightening at the same time — Manning has done everything asked of him, right down to taking more sacks to minimize his turnovers. However, if Eli took 44 sacks I would seriously doubt he could still stand by the end of the year, let alone throw a football. This is one thing that has to be addressed before the franchise QB joins his brother on the sidelines with serious, career threatening injuries.
On the run game. If both running backs can barely make 1400 yards together it will be the worst tandem performance for the Giants in a long, long time. It’s not panic time JUST yet, but we’re nearing the point of erasing the power running persona from the Giants identity all together based on what we’re seeing right now. Besides, one of reasons Eli is going to have so many passing yards is his utilization of the RBs in the checkdown game, another aspect of the offense that has seen a big resurgence this year and a major reason why the Giants haven’t turned the ball over as much in 2011. And, this is how 700 more yards are going to be accounted for out of the backfield with a little bit of misdirection. That’s where the extra yardage for the RBs are going, into receptions, not handoffs. Is it still a power run game? Well, it’s not exactly a finesse run game either…
In the end — it’s just as well I think. The strategy has benefited the Giants with fewer interceptions, more yards, and more TDs through the first four weeks. Taking a closer look at this offense, well, maybe these projections WON’T be that far off after all.