2018 win total: 6.5
2017 ATS record: 7-9
Odell Beckham is expected back at full strength from the Oct. 7 fractured ankle that ended his 2017 season and contributed greatly toward a disappointing season from QB Eli Manning. Rookie RB Saquon Barkley should do as much if not more for the offense than Beckham, considering the pass-catching ability that complements his elite running skills.
As for Manning, the addition of blindside protector Nate Solder at left tackle will provide him a comfort level that has been absent for years. Manning has been sacked an average of 29 times over the past five seasons. Rookie OG Will Hernandez should further upgrade the O-line.
The defense seems well equipped to make the switch to a 3-4, especially with massive, 350-pound NT Damon “Snacks” Harrison anchoring the D-line and 2017 second-round pick Dalvin Tomlinson at one end. The switch could be ideal for Olivier Vernon, who moves to outside linebacker after getting 15 sacks as a defensive end the past two seasons.
The firing of former head coach Ben McAdoo won’t automatically guarantee that the Giants score 30 points in a game for the first time since the 2015 season. Manning is still the No. 1 quarterback, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. At 37, he’s quite likely past his prime. A slow start could create a groundswell of support for promising backup QB Davis Webb, who didn’t play a single snap in 2017.
Elite pass-rushing DE Jason Pierre-Paul was traded because he’s not a good fit in the 3-4 and because it will clear a bundle of cap money down the road, but he did provide 15.5 sacks over the past two years. Starting CBs Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple are both tremendously talented but, at times last year, they were divisive distractions and remain character concerns.
The Giants were 1-5 vs. NFC East foes in 2017, but their two losses to the Super Bowl-champion Eagles were by just three and five points. With the exception of road games at Dallas and at Houston in Weeks 2-3, the Giants do not have back-to-back games on the road or at home in 2018.
Five of the first seven games and four straight (Weeks 4-7) are against 2017 playoff teams, each of whom won at least 10 games last season. But, after a Week Nine bye, four of the next five games are against teams that had losing records in 2017, including three with double-digit losses.
The O-line has been significantly upgraded, especially with Solder and Hernandez. The Beckham-Barkley tandem will provide more than enough firepower so that Manning merely has to be a caretaker and distributor, a role that suits him.
Manning will be working with what could be one of the league’s best young receiving crews: a healthy Beckham (25), combined with Sterling Shepard (25) and TE Evan Engram (23). Shepard, a second-round pick in 2016, has 124 receptions for 1,414 yards and 10 touchdowns in two seasons. Engram, the 23rd overall pick in 2017, is coming off an impressive rookie season that included 64 catches, 722 yards and six touchdowns.
Previous projected win total breakdowns