With an improved offensive line and the acquisitions of key free agents, the New York Giants are poised for success in 2019.
Slowly but surely, the start of the 2019 NFL season is approaching. Spring activities are in session. The New York Giants have already had their rookie camp, and last week, they got together for OTAs.
The 2019 Giants will look different than the 5-11 team from a season ago from both a personnel standpoint and in offensive philosophy. Due to this, several Giants are poised to have huge 2019 seasons.
The regular season is still over three months away, but it’s never too early to do bold predictions.
Here are four bold predictions for the New York Giants in 2019:
1. Saquon Barkley will lead the league in rushing
Last season as a rookie, Saquon Barkley set several franchise rookie records and led the NFL in all-purpose yards with 2,028 (1,307 rushing and 721 receiving). His 1,307 rushing yards were second most in the league only behind Ezekiel Elliott’s 1,434.
What made Barkley’s 2018 season even more impressive is that he accomplished all of these feats playing behind a subpar offensive line. In the offseason, general manager Dave Gettleman made it a top priority to upgrade the offensive line by trading for right guard Kevin Zeitler and signing free agent right tackle Mike Remmers.
With the line solidified with Zeitler and Remmers, along with a healthy Jon Halapio returning at center, Barkley will not only have another 2,000 plus all-purpose yards season, but he’ll win his first rushing title.
2. Markus Golden will have double-digit sacks
Much of the success the Giants will have this season will be riding on outside linebacker Markus Golden, who the Giants signed to a one-year contract.
Golden is the only player on the Giants roster that’s ever put up double-digit sacks in a season; that was back in 2016 when he had 12.5. The Giants pass rush has been abysmal over the last few seasons, as they have a combined 57 sacks in the last two seasons.
Golden will help revitalize Big Blue’s pass rush as he will become the first Giant since Jason Pierre-Paul in 2014 to have double-digit sacks.
3. Eli Manning will have single digit interceptions
Aside from his two historic runs to the Super Bowl, Eli Manning is most known for his fourth-quarter comebacks, and his tendency to turn the bowl over. Three times in his career he’s led the league in interceptions and has never had single-digit interceptions since becoming a full-time starter.
He’s come close to single-digit interceptions twice back in 2008 when he threw 10, and last season when he threw 11.
With a change in offensive philosophy that will see the Giants try to wear down opponents with their ground game, and with Manning no longer feeling the need to force the ball to Odell Beckham Jr., Manning will record single-digit interceptions in 2019.
4. Evan Engram will make his first Pro Bowl team
With OBJ a Cleveland Brown, third-year tight end Evan Engram is poised to have a breakout season. We saw last week at OTAs that Engram was the focal point of the Giants passing game.
Engram might be the most athletic tight end in the league and he’s a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. Some questioned whether the Giants should have taken Engram in the first round of the 2017 draft (23rd overall), as they had more pressing needs; but Engram came on strong at the end of last season and in 2019 he’ll earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl.