3. NY Giants
If Joe Judge did anything in his first season as head coach of the NY Giants, it was establish a culture and teach a young team how to win.
Even if Judge’s Giants only won six games with just one victory coming outside of the historically pathetic NFC East and one against an opponent with an above .500 record, there is some reason for optimism about the Giants’ future.
The jury very much remains undecided on Daniel Jones, who rather than taking a second-year leap regressed dramatically under new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, but the Giants have the resources to add enough weapons around him to set 2021 up for a make-or-break campaign. Getting electrifying running back Saquon Barkley back and healthy next season is a boost, so too would be the addition of a marquee free agent receiver such as Allen Robinson, Kenny Golloday, or Will Fuller.
If Jones is more consistent and the Giants are able to improve dramatically in the vertical passing game next season to open up the running game for Barkley, the offense has a chance to dictate. But, averaging 17 points per game in the NFL’s highest-scoring season on record makes it impossible to become a legitimate contender.
Coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense was a bright spot, finishing this season No. 25 in DVOA, but holding opponents to 22.3 points per game. If the Giants can find a way to retain both Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson along what became a disruptive defensive line and add a lockdown cornerback opposite Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry, this has the makings of a top-flight defense.
There is enough talent in place for the Giants to have plenty of optimism about breaking a four-year postseason drought, but plenty of questions that need answered and holes that need filled, as well.