It’s hard to believe that just four seasons ago the New York Giants were the Super Bowl champions. Now after consecutive losing seasons, a first in the 11-year tenure of head coach Tom Coughlin, the Giants may be headed in the wrong direction. The Giants opened the 2014 season with a pair of losses and then rallied to move to 3-2 in NFL odds with impressive wins over Houston, Washington, and Atlanta. What followed was nothing short of a debacle. The Giants suffered their share of injuries, the running game dried up, and the defense fell apart as they dropped seven straight. The bright spot for the Giants was the rise of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
The former LSU star emerged as QB Eli Manning’s go-to guy when Victor Cruz was lost due to injury. Beckham Jr. finished the season with 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns…and that was in 12 games. Coughlin and Giants fans will expect more of the same from Beckham Jr. as well as Manning who enters his 12th season at the controls of the offense. That being said, bookmakers in Vegas don't expect the New York Giants to have much of break-out season in 2015 with Super Bowl predictions listing the "G Men" as 28/1 longshots to hoist the Lombardi trophy, 16/1 to win the NFC Conference and +300 to win the NFC East.
Manning, who passed for 4,410 yards and 30 touchdowns, and Beckham Jr. were the Giants offense, for the most part, after No. 1 running back Rashad Jennings was hurt. The Giants will need to improve in the running game. They managed just 100 yards per game last season. The club signed former Patriot RB Shane Vereen in the offseason and they will have a healthy Jennings as well as last year’s leading rusher Andre Williams. The Giants looked to upgrade the defense in the offseason and the biggest addition was the hiring of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who ran the defense when the Giants won the Super Bowl back in 2008.
New York added defensive end George Selvie, defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis, and linebackers Jonathan Casillas and J.T. Thomas to provide more depth. The problem that Spagnuolo will have is with the uncertain status of franchise player Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants sack leader with 12.5 last season, Pierre-Paul did not sign his franchise offer before the July deadline. While he will most likely remain a Giant, he has yet to participate in any offseason activities. The Giants were a top 10 offense in 2014 and if they can maintain that and improve on defense, especially against the run, they should be able to contend for a playoff spot in the volatile 2015 NFC East division. However, paying out as 16/1 longshots in NFL odds to win the conference and play in the Super Bowl seems improbable.
Giants Update (9/12/15): New York are now +5000 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +2500 to win the NFC Conference and +500 to win the NFC East.