Now that the 2015-16 regular season is over, the New York Giants 2016 opponents have been set.
In addition to the 6 divisional games, the G-Men will take on the NFC North and AFC North, plus the third place finishers in the NFC South and NFC West. Let’s take a look at the home and road opponents and make some very premature predictions and reactions based on the historical performance of the one who’s been here the longest – Eli Manning:
The Bears stunk at home this year. Their offensive Coordinator Adam Gase is interviewing for head coaching positions with the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, and Cleveland Browns. They’ve got the 11th pick in the draft and are looking to target a linebacker or a future franchise quarterback to take the reins from Jay Cutler. The Bears offense struggled, ending up 23rd in the league in points per game and passing yards per game. Matt Forte is parting ways with the team, but the running game was ranked 11th in the league in yards per game.
Defensively, the Bears were middle of the road in terms of total yards and points allowed, but were much better versus the pass (4th in league) than the run.
Eli is 2-2 lifetime against Chicago and hasn’t put up good numbers in any of those games. Two touchdowns, seven interceptions and a rating of just over 50. But, that was before Ben McAdoo. That was before the emergence of Weston Richburg and the rejuvenation of Rashad Jennings. Jay Cutler didn’t play well last time he visited the Giants. I expect something similar this time.
All-time the Bears have the edge, winning 28 of 49 games.
The Lions finished one game better than the Bears thanks to Detroit’s Week 17 win. They’ll have the 16th pick in this year’s draft and are targeting offensive and defensive tackles, plus a linebacker. After some staffing moves, the ground game improved thanks to Curtis Modkins, but they still finished dead last in rushing yards per game. Through the air, Detroit was tied for third most touchdowns thrown and 9th in passing yards per game.
I fully expect the Lions to retain Jim Caldwell and contend.
Defensively, the Lions allowed 18 rushing touchdowns, which was second most in the league behind the 49ers and Falcons. Against the pass, Detroit was around middle of the pack.
Eli’s first 2 games against Detroit in 2007 and 2010 were stellar. The season opener in 2014 was dreadful. If the Giants offensive line is healthy and they can punch in opportunities in the red zone, they eek out a close W.
In the all-time series, Detroit has one more win than the G-Men in 42 games.
You think the Giants were ravaged by season-ending injuries, the Ravens could field an entire team with the names on their IR list. Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, Terrell Suggs are just some of the marquee names that went down. Steve Smith was supposed to retire after the 2015 season, but has since changed his mind.
Despite being in the top 10 in the league in passing yards per game – which could be attributed to having to throw when down big – the Ravens were in the bottom five among passing touchdowns. The running game suffered significantly. Defensively, Baltimore was stingy against the pass, in terms of yardage allowed, but did give up 30 touchdowns through the air, 5th most in the league.
The consensus in Baltimore is that the team needs to find playmakers. They’ll certainly have a chance to get one when they select 6th overall in the draft, but it appears they’ll be leaning towards defense by getting a pass-rusher or cornerback, but offensive tackle to protect Flacco is also high on the priority list.
Eli hasn’t played 1 good game against Baltimore in three outings. He’ll play better this time around as Beckham, Cruz, Tye, and company should be able to outgun the Ravens.
Big Blue is 1-3 against Baltimore in the regular season. Let’s not talk about the postseason head-to-head.
The striped ones were tied for second most rushing touchdowns in the league, led by the dynamic duo of Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard and their outstanding offensive line. Though rushing yards placed them middle of the pack, the high TD rate on the ground indicates they don’t have problems punching it in down near the goal line. Not a ton of yardage per game through the air, but 31 passing touchdowns reiterates their efficiency in the red zone.
The defense only allowed 18 passing scores, placing second in the league, thanks to Adam Jones and Reggie Nelson among others. They were also tough against the run, ranked 7th in the league in rushing yards allowed per game.
Surprise, surprise. Eli is NOT good against three of the four AFC North teams. Manning’s compiled a 1-2 record against Cincy with his sole solid performance coming in 2008, which was at home. Eli’s at the top of his game now and might be able to benefit from an improved rushing attack, but that Bengals D, though. Could be a rough one.
The Giants are 3-6 against Cincy all-time.
New Orleans Saints
On the arm of Drew Brees, the Saints threw for the most yards per game and a whole mess of touchdowns, but they were near the bottom of the league running the ball. There are a few reasons for this: the loss of Mark Ingram to injury and their defense allowed the second most rushing yardage per game, the second most passing yardage per game (behind the Giants), and the most passing touchdowns in the league.
Now comes the news head coach Sean Payton will be traded for a second round draft pick. It’s an understatement to say the Saints are in a state of flux.
In 6 games against his home state’s team, Eli is 2-4, but has put up monster numbers the past three meetings and has a career rating of 95.5 against them.
The Giants are 15-13 against New Orleans head-to-head all-time.
Next: AWAY OPPONENTS