Pat Shurmur
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The New York Giants have made some positive changes to the roster this offseason, but let’s pump the brakes on the playoffs.

Jason Leach

The New York Giants might be one of the most intriguing teams heading into the 2019 season. They made several significant changes to the roster and shocked the football world when they took Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth pick in the draft.

While the selection of Jones may still have some fans scratching their heads, most of GM Dave Gettleman’s move this offseason have fans giving their ringing endorsement.

On defense, he added more versatile players to the roster who fit James Bettcher’s scheme better such as Antoine Bethea, Jabrill Peppers and DeAndre Baker.

For the offense, he added players who can bring an added physicality to the team. They’ve brought in right guard Kevin Zeitler, right tackle Mike Remmers, and wide receiver Golden Tate, who is an excellent downfield blocker.

Barring a rash of injuries or a string of bad luck, the 2019 Giants should finish better than their record of 5-11 a season ago. But it might be premature to anoint them a playoff team.

We gave three reasons on why Giants fans should be optimistic in 2019. Now here are reasons why there should be cause to pause on if they’ll be a playoff team.

1. The Cowboys and Eagles are more explosive on offense

One of the reasons the Giants have a combined record of 8-24 over the last two seasons is because they’re 0-8 against their two most bitter rivals—the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

This dominance over the Giants goes beyond the last two seasons. Over the last 10 games against the Cowboys, the Giants are 3-7. And in their last 10 games against the Eagles, they’re a putrid 1-9.

To make matters worse, both rivals have added players that could give the Giants fits on defense.

The Eagles brought back long-time Giants nemesis DeSean Jackson and added running back Jordan Howard who spent his previous three seasons with the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys added receiver Randall Cobb and expect to get their Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick back after missing all of last season with Guillain–Barré syndrome.

The Giants will have to hope their additions outperform the new faces on the Cowboys and Eagles. New York can ill-afford another season sweep at the hands of these two teams. It will put them too far behind any tie-breaker scenarios.

New York Giants

2. Where are the sacks coming from?

While many of the faces have changed on the Giants roster, there’s still one lingering question that remains: Where are the sacks coming from?

A lack of a pass rush has plagued the Giants for years. It’s why many wanted them to take Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen with the sixth pick. Last season, the Giants registered only 30 sacks—30th in the NFL.

The Giants did sign outside linebacker Markus Golden to a one-year deal which should help the pass rush. But Golden only had one season with double-digit sacks. This came way back in 2016 when he notched 12.5 sacks with the Arizona Cardinals. Since then, he has torn his ACL and appeared in just 15 games.

The Giants are hopeful that second-year outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter, who added lean muscle in the offseason, can take his game to the next level in 2019.

But with Golden the only player on the roster who’s had a double-digit sack season, there’s a major concern whether or not the Giants can generate a consistent pass rush.

3. How much of an upgrade will Zeitler and Remmers provide?

It’s without question; the Giants’ offensive line will be better than last season with the additions of Kevin Zeitler and Mike Remmers. But the question is how much of an upgrade will they be?

Zeitler was given the highest pass blocking grade by a guard by Pro Football Focus (91.7), but he has never made a Pro Bowl and neither has Remmers. In addition, Remmers has had a history of lower back issues, and last season he played right guard for the Vikings, and now he’s projected to start at right tackle for the Giants.

Heading into last season, many felt the Giants line would be significantly better with the addition of left tackle Nate Solder. But Solder struggled mightily early in 2018 and the line was still a major issue. The addition of Solder last season proved to be an overstated upgrade. The Giants have to hope that history doesn’t repeat itself this season.

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