The New York football Giants are six days away from beginning their 2014 campaign, and based on the opinions of many notable ESPN contributors, Giants fans might be in for another let down. Yesterday, ESPN released the 2014 NFL predictions from their national contributors, a ‘who’s who’ of big names in covering the NFL. From know-it-all insider Adam Schefter, to Grantland’s Bill Barnwell, and all the way back to NFL draft guru Mel Kiper, these were certainly some big names in the industry.
Besides covering the NFL, what did they almost all have in common? Well, apparently none have very high hopes for your New York Giants.
Of the 16 national NFL contributors, not one predicted the New York Giants to win the NFC East. Actually, all but one (Bill Barnwell – Washington Redskins), picked Chip Kelly’s high octane offense to take that crown. Things got even worse for the Giants, as only one contributor, KC Joyner of ESPN Insider, even picked them to grab hold of one of the NFC’s two wild card spots. Ironically, KC Joyner is also the only ESPN contributor to pick the Dallas Cowboys to make the playoffs too, so maybe he is just a bit partial to the NFC East.
Scanning some of the predictions for individual awards, such as offensive rookie of the year, defensive rookie of the year, coach of the year, and most valuable player, it probably is no surprise not to see any Giants on any of those predictions either. Apparently, there isn’t much confidence in Eli Manning or Tom Coughlin among this group.
It is really hard to blame these NFL media members for their feelings, or lack thereof, towards the New York Giants this year. Ben McAdoo’s new look west coast offense has looked stuck in first gear, a far cry from the up-tempo Giants fans were hoping for, and told they were getting, when the Giants brought him into the fold.
The offensive line, one of the team’s weakest groups to begin with, has already lost its best newcomer, guard Geoff Schwartz, for much of the beginning of the year. Highly touted first round pick, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., can’t shake a hamstring issue. Based off preseason performance, and the lack of offensive weapons personnel wise, it certainly seems like the GMEN will struggle to score this season.
Defensively, the Giants have shown more promise, especially with their deep secondary already showing signs of improvement on last year. Big free agent acquisitions Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Zackary Bowman, & Walter Thurmond III are already impressing Giants’ fans.
However, there are still question marks at linebacker, despite rookie Devon Kennard showing promise. The defensive line, traditionally the Giants strongest unit, boasts some big names, but exhibited the same issues in the preseason that they showed last season — an ability to get “close” to the quarterback, but not bring them down for sacks. No matter how good a team’s secondary is, it is almost impossible to have a top defense in the NFL these days if a team’s defensive line can’t get to the quarterback.
The good news for the Giants is every team starts with a clean slate, a 0-0 record, and none of these “prognostications” have any actual bearing on a teams success. However, the warning signs are there that Giants’ fans could be in for a long year. So when you see a list of some of the biggest names in the NFL media not projecting success for the Giants, it confirms a lot of what we have seen on the field from our boys in blue (to this point).
The good news for the GMEN, and their fans, is the Tom Coughlin & Eli Manning led Giants tend to do their best when expectations are low, with their backs are against the wall and nobody giving them a shot. Here is to hoping that will be the case once again in 2014.