NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Giants enter the 2017 season soundly in the Super Bowl discussion, but will they fulfill their promise or fall short?
Here’s a look at three dream scenarios and three nightmares scenarios (excluding obvious injury fears) that could define the Giants’ success or failure this season.
Offensive Playmakers Excel
The Giants went 11-5 last season despite having the NFL’s 25th-ranked offense. But they could be much better offensively this season after adding six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall and explosive rookie tight end Evan Engram. If second-year player Paul Perkins proves he can be an effective lead running back, the Giants’ offense could return to being a top-10 unit, as they were two years ago.
The ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Ereck Flowers is facing a make-or-break season. Despite being disappointing thus far, the Giants are sticking with him at left tackle, and the reports from the offseason say the 6-foot-6, 325-pounder has worked his tail off. If that translates to game day, Big Blue will no longer have to worry about what is arguably the biggest question mark on the team right now.
Defense Brings The Heat
The Giants finished 14th in the league in sacks last year. But defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon both got off to slow stars, and just as JPP was rounding into form, he suffered a season-ending injury. The Giants already have a great secondary. If Pierre-Paul and Vernon can start strong and stay healthy, the defense could be downright scary.
Offensive Line Flops
Guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg are solid, but there’s much uncertainty surrounding the rest of the Giants’ O-linemen. If they can’t protect quarterback Eli Manning or open up holes for the running backs, Big Blue could have trouble putting enough points on the board to win most weeks and place undue stress on the defense.
Beckham Disrupts Chemistry
No question, Odell Beckham Jr. is insanely talented, and he plays with great passion. But he also loses his cool far too often, seems too concerned about his own celebrity and still doesn’t grasp what are the right things to do and say. He has a history of being penalized, suspended and fined. His antics are easy to laugh off when the Giants are winning, but if they struggle, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which some of his teammates grow tired of his act.
Kicking Game Misses
If the Giants lose a game or two because of missed kicks, it could be the difference between playing in the postseason and watching it on TV. The kickers the Giants have in camp right now are Mike Nugent, who was cut by the Bengals after missing six extra points last year, and Aldrick Rosas, who has never kicked in a regular season NFL game. Not exactly reassuring.