After going 11-5 last season and making the playoff for the first time since winning Super Bowl XLVI, the New York Giants are hungry to achieve more this year.
With the exception of Johnathan Hankins, all of the key starters are returning this season. This is why the New York Giants are one of the favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LII.
To win a championship, it takes a collective effort by every player on the roster. But as we know some players will have a bigger impact than others.
Here are four players that will have a huge impact on the Giants success in 2017.
1. Ereck Flowers
Much of the blame for the Giants offensive struggles last season were thrown in the way of left tackle Ereck Flowers. Flowers regressed in his second season and his struggles against edge rushers and costly penalties were a huge detriment to the offense, and one of the reasons they failed to score 30 points in any game.
Disappointing in his performance, Flowers stayed in the area this offseason to work on his technique. He appeared slimmer at OTAs this week, which will make him quicker and better equipped to block edge rushers. If he can be an average left tackle or better this season, the Giants offense has the potential to break several franchise records
2. Eli Manning
Coming into his 14th season in the NFL, the New York Giants have surrounded Eli Manning with the best set of playmakers that he’s ever played with.
Odell Beckham Jr. is arguably the best receiver in the league, Brandon Marshall is still a top 15 wide receiver, Sterling Shepard who caught 65 passes a as rookie will be even better this season, and rookie Evan Engram who is the fastest tight end in the draft and has a bright future ahead of him.
If you look at the other 31 teams, you will see that no one has a better set of pass catchers than the Giants.
So now all that is left for Manning to do is get them the ball and cut down on the 16 interceptions he threw a season ago. There’s no reason why this shouldn’t be one if not the best statistical season of his career. With all these weapons, there’s no reason why Manning shouldn’t be an MVP candidate, and for the Giants to have one of the best scoring offenses in the league.
3. Jason Pierre-Paul
The New York Giants and Jason Pierre-Paul finally agreed on a long term contract this off-season. Now they need for their start defensive end to be more consistent with his pass rush, and more importantly stay healthy.
Prior to injuring is core muscle in week 13 against the Steelers that cost him the remainder of the season, JPP was playing his best football of the season. He recorded 5.5 sacks in the two previous games, and his three sacks and fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns earned him NFC Defensive Player of the week honors. But outside of those two weeks he had only 1.5 sacks in the other 10 games he appeared in.
Only once over the last four seasons has JPP played an entire 16 game schedule and that was back in 2014, which was the last time he had double digit sacks (12 ½). If he can manage to stay healthy and get back to being a more disruptive pass rusher, the Giants may have the best defense in the league.
4. Paul Perkins
Generally running backs in their second year have a significant increase in production from their rookie season because they get accustom to the speed and physicality of the NFL.
As a team last year the Giants averaged 3.5 yards per carry and were 29th in rushing. Perkins, however, averaged 4.1 yards per carry, compared to Jennings’ 3.3.
In the Giants final three regular season games last year, Perkins ran the ball 47 times for 226 yards. If he can produce like this being the full-time starter, then the Giants will finally have a balanced offense, and he has the chance to become the first Giants running back since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2012 to rush for 1,000 yards.