The Giants climbed one spot, from number 18, on ESPN’s post-draft power rankings. The additions of Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and Damon Harrison rightly gave Big Blue a boost, according to the world’s leading sports network. The Giants started last season ranked number 21 on ESPN’s list.
"If every game last season ended with exactly 75 seconds left, the Giants would have finished 10-5-1. This offseason, the Giants replaced coach Tom Coughlin with Ben McAdoo and gave away money (see Olivier Vernon) like they gave away leads. Can the Giants play a full 60 minutes every week this season? – ESPN on the 2016 New York Giants"
What was ESPN’s Rationale For The Ranking?
ESPN touched on a theme all too familiar to Giants’ fans: the teams inability to close out football games in 2015.
The Giants finished the season 6-10, but could just as easily have finished 10-6 had they been able to close games out. Bad time management and the lack of a consistent running game saw the G-Men blow late leads to the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and New York Jets.
The loss to the Patriots was especially disheartening. The Giants beat the Patriots in their previous two meetings, including Super Bowl XLII and XLVI. Safety Landon Collins appeared to pick off a Tom Brady pass which would have sealed the victory, but Collins’ mistimed leap caused him to drop the football when he hit the ground. A few plays later, the undefeated Pats won the game on a 54-yard Steven Gostkowski field goal.
Since the off season began, offensive coordinator Bob McAdoo has been promoted to head coach, and general manager Jerry Reese spent over $200 million in free agency, hoping to right the ship. In an August 17, 2016 post on CBS New York, Jason Keidel writes, “…give me a vastly improved defense, the best wide receiver and quarterback in the division, a burgeoning sidekick for Beckham and the collective hunger of a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in five years, while playing in the most uncertain division in the sport.”
The Giants are the second-highest ranked NFC East team on the list, trailing only the Cowboys (13). The Washington Redskins check in next (18), followed by the Philadelphia Eagles (25).
The Seattle Seahawks top the list, while the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers debut at number five.
If the Giants defense performs as expected, they will surely move up this list throughout the 2016 season.
Do you think ESPN got it right?