The last two years for the New York Giants have been rebuilding years after going 9-7 and missing the playoffs in 2012 after their Super Bowl year. The 2013 season started off 0-6 but the Giants finished strong going 7-3 in the final ten games and finished 7-9. In the 2014 season the Giants regressed and finished 6-10 putting, Tom Coughlin on the hot seat before the 2015 season even started.
They also struggled because they led the league with players on injury reserve and couldn’t stay healthy. It’s not very often that you talk about a 6-10 team being a Super Bowl contender the next year but this Giants team is different.
There are many reasons to show they can contend next year and there are some valid points where you can disagree. One reason to give Giants fans hope is the success they had on offense last year. Ben McAdoo resurrected Eli Manning’s career and showed he is still capable of playing at the elite level.
Manning had one of his best seasons of his career in year one of the McAdoo West Coast offense. Manning threw for 4,410 yards, 30 touchdowns, and only 14 interceptions opposed to the 27 in 2013. He was also sacked 11 less times than he was in 2013.
Manning had this success without wide receiver Victor Cruz due to an injury he suffered early in the season. A big reason for Manning’s success was rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham Jr. caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in twelve games. Beckham Jr. did this with two tears in his hamstring and missed his first four games of the season due to that hamstring.
A healthy Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. paired with a developing Rueben Randle could provide a very explosive offense.
The running game struggled last year but it was mainly because Rashad Jennings was in and out of the team due to injuries. While Jennings can be credited as one of the reasons for the meager production by the running back corps, the offensive line is still a work in progress and contributed significantly to the demise suffered by Jennings and Andrew Williams.
As of right now the Giants have a decent offensive line with Will Beatty (Left Tackle), Geoff Schwartz (Left Guard), Weston Richburg (expected to take over at center), and Justin Pugh at right tackle or right guard depending on who the Giants bring in to play with him on that right side of the line.
If they draft a quality lineman or sign a big free agent like Orlando Franklin or Bryan Bulaga the offense could rank towards the top of the league.
On the defensive side of the ball the Giants brought back Steve Spagnuolo as their defensive coordinator for the 2015 season. In the 2007-2008 seasons when Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator he had great pass rushers.
The Giants only really have one proven pass rusher in Jason Pierre-Paul and he is set to hit free agency this spring. The Giants must keep him and build around him up front to get after the quarterback. They can do this by either drafting a linebacker or defensive linemen or they can explore free agency and sign some quality pass rushers.
Spagnuolo was also successful because he had MLB Antonio Pierce quarterbacking his defense. This time he has Jon Beason who has been struggling to stay on the field over the years. If he can stay healthy it will be huge for the Giants in their run defense.
So can the Giants compete next year for the Super Bowl? As of right now they need to add a few pieces on both sides of the ball but they have a solid foundation right now and need to build off of it. If they have another great draft like they did last season, sign the right free agents, and stay healthy the Giants can be major threats in the NFL.