The wait is over. 2019 Football is here!
Everyone wants to know what to expect this season from the NY Giants. We have quoted Steve Young, who said that “September is the new preseason.” The NFL in 2019 is a league where starters are rested through the preseason ever more frequently. Saquon Barkley did not play a single snap in 4 preseason games! While we understand the mission is to safeguard versus injury/extend the player’s shelf life, we also must admit that there are more unknowns. September is about shedding the rust and giving clarity on which teams are real for October through December.
Are the Giants a real team? No, they are not. If you think they are, run to the nearest Sports Book because they are giving money away with an Over of 6 wins. It is a sobering reminder of what is taking place to this franchise in 2019… they are rebuilding. The roster has 5 new starters on Offense and 6 new starters on Defense. Some of the transplants, like Zeitler and Peppers, will be fine. It is others (..rookies) that will get tested by fire. We were very high on Dexter Lawrence out of the Draft, but even we would expect the rookie Nose Tackle to get swallowed up on Sunday vs guys like Martin and Frederick. Please do not judge this kid harshly for at least the first 8 games, if not the whole year. That position is in the trenches and is a meat grinder.
So who are the players we will be watching to measure the team’s chances at success this season? There are 4 of them I will be watching closely:
- WLB Lorenzo Carter. The word is that Carter can really blossom in his second season. How about explode?! The Giants Defense is a project. The Secondary is going to have massive growing pains. The LBers are inconsistent at best. If Carter can notch 10+ sacks this year (he had 4 in limited snaps last year) he will do his part to keep the team competitive and allow other players to see easier matchups.
- SLB Markus Golden. Right now Golden is behind Martin on the depth chart. That is a negative. We need the old Golden pre ACL injury to come back and be a force in the pass rush. It is a lottery ticket, but then you can see why the Giants are at 6 Wins for the O/U.
- RT Mike Remmers. Remmers is another injury patch job from Minnesota. Shurmur knows him. The Giants need Remmers to be healthy and serviceable. Otherwise he will be the weakest link on the OL. His backup is Chad Slade. Good luck with that.
- TE Evan Engram. My confidence in Engram to stay healthy for 16 games is about as high as … that Over/Under line. So what’s it gonna be, Evan? As a first round draft pick, if you can’t play you can’t help this team. To date, Engram has had ability, but not consistent availability. The Giants had a mini-renaissance at the end of last season when Engram started. In the last 4 games of the season (post OBJ injury), Engram saw half of his season’s output in terms of completions and yardage. The Giants need him to line up wide and present opposing Defenses with a deep threat. They need him for all 16 games.
Can Carter explode? Can Golden return to form and rush the passer? Can Remmers stay healthy and remain serviceable? Can Engram contribute meaningfully for 16 games? I do not know the answers to these questions. If you do, please tell us! Maybe after the first 3 games we will get a better sense of these answers.
What is the bullish argument? If the answer to 3 or all 4 questions is yes, that will be indicative of a good year. The Over should coast. If we get a 0 or a 1, bet the Under.
It is important not to get too bearish on this season. The Giants play against Washington twice, Miami, Buffalo, NY Jets, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Detroit. All 8 of those games are up for grabs. Keep in mind that those teams are looking at playing against the Giants as a “Win” too. Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.
Last season the O/U was 8 wins. I predicted 7-9. Wonder was at 6-10. They finished at 5-11. This year I predict 7-9 again and Wonder is at 6-10. Don’t get too bullish because they are rebuilding. Don’t get too bearish because the schedule is very weak. Go Giants. Rebuilding means getting a lot of young players to develop. 2020 looks pretty good. 2019 can look good as a stepping stone if the Defense gets its footing and the OL controls the line of scrimmage.
I will not be doing weekly recaps this season. Find me on Twitter.