After finishing 11-5 and making the playoffs, what has to happen this time around for the New York Giants to have a successful season?
With the NFL season right around the corner, the New York Football Giants are inching closer and closer to getting their opportunity to make amends for how last year ended.
The first objective is to successfully make it through preseason unscathed and devoid of any significant injuries to key players. With one of their most talented rosters in recent memory, the Giants are in position to make a ton of noise.
But when the season does officially kick off on Sept. 10, what will be the realistic goal for this team? At the end of the year, what has to happen in order for it to be considered a success?
When you’re the New England Patriots, perhaps every year is deemed “championship or bust,” but for others, it’s all predicated on circumstance and personnel.
For the Giants, the sour taste still exists after what transpired in Green Bay last January when the season ended abruptly at the hands of a scorching-hot Aaron Rodgers. The Packers defended their home turf and treated their fans to a 38-13. It was cold night for the Giants faithful.
The narrative of that game for the G-Men was that of the receivers deciding to party in Miami on their off day leading up to the playoffs. It turns out, that might not have been the most optimal decision…go figure.
But with an improved roster, the Giants are in excellent position to pick up right where they left off, one year removed from an 11-5 season and their first playoff berth since 2011.
With the additions of veteran Brandon Marshall and rookie Evan Engram, the offense will presumably improve.
Marshall has customarily excelled in his inaugural season with new teams. In his first seasons with the Jets and Bears, he had 14 and 11 touchdowns respectively. He now adds a consistent threat opposite Odell Beckham Jr., who’s been historically great in his first three seasons.
Earlier on the Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio, Sheldon Richardson alluded to the tension that existed between he and Marshall last year calling him “selfish” and a bit of a diva. Their issues were well-documented and more than likely were precipitated by the underwhelming Jets’ year-long struggles.
With the Giants, the expectations will be far greater and Marshall’s new teammates are of course hoping the become familiar with his altruistic side. Additionally, the best way for Marshall to ingratiate himself with his new fan base and teammates, is to produce.
And Engram is a highly-touted rookie out of Mississippi, who figures to use every bit of us 6-foot-3, 240-pound frame to help the Giants in the passing attack.
For the defense, the goal is to just do more of the same after finishing second in the NFL in scoring defense, only behind the reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots.
The stinginess and tenacity the Giants displayed on that side of the ball invoked fear in opposing teams. That inexorable attack shaped their identity and catapulted them to tremendous success.
So with that being said, it’s imperative that the Giants at least get to an NFC title game this year. In a vacuum, this sounds aggressive but consider the entire picture on the canvas that shows the Giants window for contending is closing.
Eli Manning is 36-years-old, obviously closer to the end than he is the genesis of his career. How much longer can he compete at a high level? You almost take for granted he’s never missed a game in his NFL career.
Furthermore, a key component to the offensive attack will be Marshall, who has spent the last few years of his career bailing out Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jay Cutler, turning their errant throws into highlight-reel catches.
Marshall though, who fortunately has been able to evade significant injuries for the most part, will be 34-years-old next year.
The Giants’ suffocating defense deserves a ton of credit. But it is worth mentioning it didn’t come without a cost for the front office, who dished out $200 million last offseason to obtain that luxury. With the salary-cap being the way it is in the NFL, this isn’t sustainable.
After performing so well last year and the entire team pretty much returning, while adding weapons on the offense, the Giants must get to the NFC championship game in order for this season to be deemed a success.