Many are not optimistic about the New York Giants in 2019, but if they look at these three factors it might change their outlook.
In just a little over a month, the New York Giants will report to training camp for their 95th season in the NFL, and the second season for the Dave Gettleman–Pat Shurmur regime.
The 2019 Giants will look different than the team from a season ago with the departures of Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, and Olivier Vernon. The Giants also added some new faces such as Kevin Zeitler, Mike Remmers, Markus Golden, Jabrill Peppers, and Antoine Bethea.
Despite the roster overhaul, many feel the Giants will finish in the cellar of the NFC East for the third consecutive season.
You can’t blame people for being pessimistic about the Giants’ chances. After all, they’re 8-24 over the last two seasons, and Shurmur has a win-loss record of 15-34 as an NFL head coach.
But if those doubting the Giants look deeper into their roster and schedule, there are certain aspects that are being overlooked that should give fans hope that the 2019 season won’t mirror the previous two seasons.
1. Eli Manning Has Owned the AFC East
The Giants play the AFC East this year which bodes well for the Giants. In two of the last three seasons they played the AFC East, they’ve won the Super Bowl.
Eli Manning, in particular, has been dominant against AFC East teams throughout his career. Including his two Super Bowl wins over the Patriots, Manning’s career record against the AFC East is 11-3 which includes being 3-0 records against the Bills and Dolphins.
Of the four teams in the AFC East, only the Patriots are projected to be contenders. We’re not predicting another Super Bowl run for the Giants, but they stand a good chance of going 3-1 in the division. If they can do that and then go a modest 7-5 or 6-6 in their remaining 12 games, they’ll be in playoff contention.
2. Corey Coleman Is a Former 1st Round Pick
Some may have forgotten, but Corey Coleman was a first round pick in 2016 (No. 15 overall) with the Cleveland Browns. Of course, up to this point he hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing and his numbers are evidence. He only has 61 receptions in 27 games played.
However, it might be premature to call him a first-round bust just yet.
After catching five passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 of his rookie season against the Baltimore Ravens, Coleman suffered a broken hand in practice and would miss the next two months due to the injury. He would finish the season with 33 receptions for 413 yards and three touchdowns.
Coleman would break the same hand in Week 2 of 2017. Only appearing in nine games, the injury would hinder him the rest of the season. The Browns traded Coleman to the Buffalo Bills in August of 2018. The Bills would then release him in September. The Patriots then picked him up but released him at the end of September. The Giants signed him in October and he would go on to appear in eight games, mostly as a returner. Coleman did manage to catch five passes.
This season he has the benefit of being around the team for OTAs and training camp where he’ll be much more acclimated with the offense from a season ago. For the first time in his career, there’s stability surrounding Coleman. And given the fact that he was on the field with the first team during OTAs, he might be poised for a breakout season.
Some fans are upset that OBJ is no longer a Giant. But Coleman along with Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Cody Latimer, and tight end Evan Engram is a very talented receiving core.
3. This Is the 2nd Full Year Under Pat Shurmur & James Bettcher
Anytime there are changes to the coaching staff, there’s a period of adjustment. The Giants are now in the second season of Shurmur and defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s systems.
Not only are the players returning from last season comfortable with the offense and defensive philosophies, but the Giants brought in several players who fit Shurmur and Bettcher’s system such as Zeitler, Remmers, Golden, and Bethea.
On offense, expect the Giants to be more physical and go with the ground-and-pound approach with Saquon Barkley and the revamped offensive line. On defense, the Giants will use even more exotic schemes and blitz formations to confuse and intimidate opposing offenses.
I spoke with safety and special teams ace Michael Thomas at Landon Collins’ softball charity event on Saturday. Thomas said Bettcher’s defense this year is night-and-day different than it was a season ago.
In what will be one of the most important seasons in the franchise’s history, the Giants will look to restore credibility. These three factors will play a big part in doing that.