The New York Giants had one of the NFL’s best defenses in 2016. They’re going to be even better in 2017. Just wait.
With most of those starters back for another year in defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system, the man affectionately known as “Spags” believes they can be even better in 2017.
Here are five bold predictions for the Giants defense as the regular season looms right around the corner.
1. Three Defensive Backs Will Be Named to the Pro Bowl
“We’re still working to be the best secondary,” said Collins, who listed Seattle, Denver, Giants and Chiefs as his top four secondaries. “We’re not the best secondary yet.”
Jenkins, DRC and Collins have all been voted to the Pro Bowl previously. They’re practically guaranteed to receive that honor once again this season. When that happens, it’ll be the first time in franchise history that the team has sent three DBs to the Pro Bowl.
2. JPP and Olivier Vernon Will Each Have 10-plus Sacks
This may seem far-fetched since Jason Pierre-Paul has only had double-digit sack seasons twice in his seven-year career—16.5 in 2011, 12.5 in 2014. Meanwhile, Vernon has cracked double-digits just once, dropping the QB 11.5 times while with Miami in 2013.
Both battled through injuries last season—JPP actually missed the final four games with a sports hernia injury—but they still managed to register a combined 15.5 sacks between them.
So long as they can stay healthy, they’ll both drop the QB more than 10 times by the time 2017 comes to an end.
3. Giants Will Have the NFL’s Top Scoring Defense
Last season, the Giants had the second-ranked scoring defense, sitting behind only the New England Patriots. Like they did in Super Bowl XLII (2008)—and in Super Bowl XLVI (2012)—the Giants will beat the Pats once again.
There’s no weakness on the Giants defense as they have three Pro Bowl-caliber defensive lineman, an emerging star at linebacker in B.J. Goodson and, as previously mentioned, an elite secondary.
With an improved offense, the defense will be on the field less. The longer the Giants have the ball, the fewer points the opposition will score. That said, there’s no doubt that the Giants defense has the ability to carry the team back to the Super Bowl.
4. Landon Collins Will Be Named NFL Defensive Player of the Year
Last season, Collins led the Giants with 100 tackles, adding four sacks, five interceptions and his first trip to the Pro Bowl to his resume. Many, myself included, felt he should have been named Defensive Player of The Year over Oakland’s Khalil Mack.
With another year under his belt, Collins will improve upon his numbers from last year—and finally get the recognition he deserves. He’ll become the first Giants defender since Hall of Famer Michael Strahan (2001) to be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
5. A Minimum Of 45 Sacks
Last season, the Giants defense registered 35 sacks, good enough for a 14th-place tie.
From what we’ve seen in the preseason, Spagnuolo has been aggressive with the pass rush, sending his safeties and Goodson often. So far, it’s been effective. That aggressive approach, along with a healthy defensive line, will find the team adding to that total.
The opposition can’t block everyone, and guys like JPP, Vernon and Damon Harrison demand double-teams more often than not. That’s going to free up room for the other eight guys on the field to cause havoc in opposing backfields.