giants giants 2021 season sterling shepard
Danielle Parhizkaran/ via USA Today Sports.

Let’s discuss three bold predictions for what’s going to be a crucial 2021 regular season for the New York Giants. 

This has to be the year the Giants get over the hump as an organization and reach the postseason.

This has to be the year Daniel Jones proves he’s the long-term answer at the quarterback position.

This has to be the year the offensive line finally comes together on a consistent basis for the first time in what would feel like a decade.

It’s an important season for the Giants — arguably the most important one in a while.

What do we think will occur during this crucial 17-game slate?

1. Sterling Shepard will undergo a highly productive season

Opposing defenses’ attention will be on No. 1 wideout Kenny Golladay, first-round wideout Kadarius Toney, and running back Saquon Barkley, who’s returning from a 2020 ACL tear.

Attention could also be on Evan Engram whenever he’s healthy and on his game, given his dynamic tendencies.

Thus, these defenses could overlook Sterling Shepard.

Don’t forget: Shepard has been going up against top corners, for the most part, the last few years (since Odell Beckham Jr.’s departure).

This time around, he’ll be going up against No. 2 and/or potentially No. 3 corners in some circumstances. It’s a situation Shepard could thrive in; he carries the potential to really meet the production level the Giants are paying him to meet.

It’s also interesting to note the Giants literally drafted someone in the first round at Shepard’s position, and Sterling followed that up with an impressive camp. Clearly, the sixth-year receiver has a chip on his shoulder.

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2. The pass rush will figure it out

Some may be worried about the pass rush despite the drafting of second-round edge rusher Azeez Ojulari.

Some likely believe the Giants should’ve addressed this position group more in free agency and think there aren’t any proven names currently at outside linebacker.

But don’t sleep on this area of the roster — the coaching staff will figure it out on a weekly basis.

Few are better at utilizing their personnel to execute game plans than defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. He ran an effective edge rusher rotation last year, and that was with Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines — the two projected 2021 starters — missing most of the season due to injury.

In 2021, fans should expect Graham to put Carter, Ximines, Ojulari, Cam Brown, as well as Leonard Williams and select off-ball linebackers in the right spots to produce in the pass-rushing department.

3. The secondary will be one of the NFL’s best

Okay, so this might not be a totally bold claim.

But it’s clear the amount of talent in this secondary.

The Giants finally have two legitimate starting cornerbacks in 2020 Pro Bowler James Bradberry and 2021 free-agent pickup Adoree’ Jackson.

Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers make up one of the more versatile safety tandems in the NFL.

Darnay Holmes, who underwent a promising 2020 campaign primarily as a slot corner, and Xavier McKinney, likely the top safety of the 2020 draft, are also in the mix.

And finally, Julian Love provides reliable depth, which is crucial in this area of the field.

I wouldn’t possess any doubts in regard to this group.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.