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The 2023-24 NFL season kick-off is almost here! OutKick is unveiling its team-by-team preview series. Over the past three weeks, we covered the AFC West and NFC West, the AFC North and NFC North and the AFC South and the NFC South. This week, we turn our attention to the final two divisions. And that continues with last year’s third-place finisher in the NFC East, the New York Giants.
New York Giants 2022-23 Record: 9-7-1
New York Giants 2023-24 Win Total Over/Under: 7.5
The New York Giants had a big decision to make regarding quarterback Daniel Jones, and ultimately they decided that he is their guy. Following the best season of his career, the Giants handed Jones a four-year, $160 million contract.
Jones completed 67% of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns to just five interceptions. A turnover machine (29 INTs, 20 fumbles) in his first three seasons (38 games), Jones gave the ball away just eight times last season. He also ran for over 700 yards and seven scores.
Jones flourished under first-year head coach Brian Daboll, despite lacking elite options in the passing game. The Giants made adding one a priority and swung a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders to acquire tight end Darren Waller. When healthy, Waller is a matchup nightmare and averages over 65 yards receiving per game. But, “when healthy” is the key phrase.
The Giants had a mission to keep their guys in house, starting with Jones and also locking down defensive stalwart Dexter Lawrence for the same four-year term. They couldn’t come to terms with running back Saquon Barkley on a long-term deal, but he agreed to a one-year contract that voided the franchise tag the team had placed on him. The Giants also brought back wide receiver Darius Slayton, who stepped up big last season.
In free agency, the team’s biggest move was linebacker Bobby Okereke. Though linebacker isn’t a premium position, it is a position in which the Giants badly needed help. The team added depth at wide receiver, picking up Parris Campbell who is a sneaky-good addition. But they did not get that splashy wideout.
Many thought the Giants would use the NFL Draft to address their wide receiver needs. Unfortunately, the run of wideouts hit just before the Giants could pick. Instead of reaching for a receiver, though, they grabbed Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks. New York needed to bolster its secondary and Banks should start in Week 1.
In round two, the team selected Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz. Last year’s starting center, Jon Feliciano, departed via free agency. Schmitz is set to also start in Week 1 for Big Blue. Finally, in round three, the team picked a wide receiver. Tennessee’s Jalen Hyatt, a speedster, adds an important element to the team’s receiving corps.
The Giants are a trendy pick, but for the wrong reasons. Each season, teams that made the playoffs the year prior miss the playoffs in the following season. Most people assume the Giants will head down this path. This is a nine-win team from last season that has a win total over/under of 7.5. Clearly, Vegas senses negative regression.
Playing in the NFC East and having to face the AFC East makes for a tough road to winning nine games again. However, the Giants got better. Daniel Jones took a step forward and clearly benefitted from Brian Daboll’s offense. Adding Darren Waller gives them an element that they sorely lacked last season. So does Jalin Hyatt.
The biggest question marks are on the offensive line — outside of star left tackle Andrew Thomas. Schmitz is a rookie starting center. Right tackle Evan Neal had a tough rookie season after the team selected him #7 overall last season. If those two players show up, the Giants offense could be very good.
Defensively, the Giants defensive line is strong. Centered around Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams with Kayvon Thibodeaux coming off the edge, the unit is talented. Okereke is a big addition for a poor linebacking corps. But, there are big questions in the secondary.
New York is a tough team to handicap, and I undertand why they’re viewed as major regression candidates this NFL season, but at the same time there are enough winnable games on their schedule to see them getting to eight victories, at least. I view them as a nine-win team again this year, fighting for a playoff spot.
New York Giants Predicted Win Total: OVER 7.5
LISTEN: Dan Zaksheske and Geoff Clark Break Down The AFC and NFC East On The Latest Episode of “OutKick Bets”
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