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Woeful offensive line will keep Giants in the cellar

Can the New York Giants offensive line keep quarterback Eli Manning on his feet?
Can the New York Giants offensive line keep quarterback Eli Manning on his feet?

The New York Giants are coming off of a season that they’d like to forget. The Giants finished 3-13, and were bad enough to earn the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft. That pick wasn’t wasted, however, as the G-Men got the most sought-after running back of the draft in Saquon Barkley.

Barkley will look to make an immediate impact for the Giants, however, it will be difficult with one of the NFL's worst offensive lines protecting him. The same will go for quarterback Eli Manning. Can the line hold long enough to allow him to get the ball to star wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr.?

It’s time to break down the Giants 2018 season.

First up it’s the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Giants couldn’t have landed a much tougher opponent to start the season with after all the Jaguars were just a few points away from their first-ever Super Bowl berth. The Jaguars sport the countries best rushing attack with Leonard Fournette. The young running back should no doubt improve from a season ago where he contributed most of the NFL leading 141.4 yards per game… But that’s not what the Giants should worry most about.

The Jaguars defense put a hurting on opponent QBs last season, and only allowed 16.8 points per game (2nd in the NFL). Their pass rush earned them the name “Sacksonville”. Against the Giants woeful offensive line, this should be a pushover for the Jags. Jaguars 25, Giants 15.

It won’t get much easier in week two. The Giants visit NFC East rival Dallas in their home opener. Remember last year’s 19-3 whooping? It won’t be much different this time around. Ezekiel Elliott will look forward to gashing the Giants 27th ranked defense, while the home crowd should rattle rookie Barkley, and his jittery offensive line. Cowboys 23, Giants 17.

The season won’t be handing the Giants a break in week three. The Giants stay in Texas, and head to Houston where elusive Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will be waiting. I think the Giants wake up in this game. Manning, Beckham Jr., and Barkley will all have big games for the boys in blue, however, the Giants horrendous secondary won’t be able to stop Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins from getting open. Texans 22, Giants 21.

Say it isn’t so! Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints visit the Meadowlands. For a team that finished last place, the Giants schedule is as tough as can be. The Saints ranked in the top 5 in passing/rushing/and points per game in 2017. The Giants better hope for inclement weather to slow down the Saints attack, or before they know it, the game will be out of reach. Saints 26, Giants 17.

You know that saying “this team is due to win”? Okay Giants fans here’s what you’ve been waiting for. In what should be a beautiful early October afternoon game (perfect football weather), Manning should be able to air the ball out to his receivers. The Panthers middle of the pack defense is beatable, and Barkley should be acclimated to both the passing and rushing attack by now. Despite being a very talented player, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton didn’t do much damage through the air last season, and could give the Giants secondary a break. I also think that Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey is going to have a tough 2018 season. Cue the drumroll: Giants 14, Panthers 10.

Giants first-round pick Saquon Barkley has his eyes on a pass in practice.
Giants first-round pick Saquon Barkley has his eyes on a pass in practice.

It’s back to the grinder for the Giants in week six. The Giants host the Super Bowl Champion Eagles in what will be a short week for both teams. The short week should play to the favor of the Eagles, as the better team shouldn’t need as much prep time for the Thursday night NFC East showdown. Eagles 26, Giants 16.

The Giants will stay in prime time as they head to Mercedes-Benz stadium in week seven for a Monday night date with the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons’ offense with the addition of Calvin Ridley to the receiving core will be as deadly as any offense in the league. I don’t see how the Giants can stop quarterback Matt Ryan, receivers Ridley, and Julio Jones, and running back Devonta Freeman in Atlanta. Falcons 27, Giants 20.

Assuming the Redskins are still healthy in week eight, they will be a lot to handle for the G-Men. The Redskins now have a playoff experienced quarterback in Alex Smith, and he will have weapons with Jamison Crowder as his No. 1 receiver, and in the backfield with Derrius Guice, and Chris Thompson who was having a great season before his injury. The Giants could steal this one, but will need its offensive line to step up big. Redskins 22, Giants 19.

The Giants will be fresh off of their bye in week 10, however, their opponent San Francisco will be well rested as well after playing Thursday night in week nine. The Giants have to play a night game out west which is never easy with jet lag. The 49ers have had a busy offseason signing cornerback Richard Sherman, and will have a decent receiving core comprised of Pierre Garcon, and Marquise Goodwin for young quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo who finished the season 5-0, and has yet to lose an NFL game. 49ers 23, Giants 20.

In week 11 the Giants get a cupcake. The season hasn’t even started yet, and things are going south for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Quarterback Jameis Winston has been suspended three games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The Giants offensive line will have their hands full with the Buccaneers pass rush, especially with defensive tackle Vita Vea whom the Bucs selected 12th overall. That being said I do believe the Giants will be up for this challenge. Giants 17, Buccaneers 3.

It’s back to the drawing board for the Giants in week 12. The Eagles will be happy to come home after visiting the Saints in week 11. The Giants haven’t won in Philadelphia since 2013, and have only beaten the Eagles twice in their last 10 meetings. Eagles 37, Giants 14

Some relief will come in week 13 in the form of the Chicago Bears. I am not sold on Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, and I think he will have a mediocre season. The Giants should bounce back against the league’s worst passing attack. Giants 30, Bears 20.

The glimpses of positivity seen in week 13 will vanish in week 14, as the Redskins will be fighting desperately for a postseason berth, and won’t be a pleasant host for the New York Football Giants… That is if the Redskins can stay healthy (I guess that goes for any team). Redskins 29, Giants 27.

Week 15 presents an interesting matchup of two teams featuring new head coaches. The Titans are coming off of its first playoff appearance since 2008, and will be looking to return to the promised land. Tennessee has all of the weapons needed for a postseason run, and if they can gel under their new head coach Mike Vrabel they can be scary good. Titans 22, Giants 18.

The Giants will get their final win of the 2018 season against the Colts in week 16. Despite the return of quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts still have a lot of holes to fill, and will be under a new head coach albeit it’s Frank Reich who just won the Super Bowl as the offensive coordinator for the Eagles. Reich was hired after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels turned down the offer to stay in New England. Giants 22, Colts 14.

In the season finale, expect the Giants to be preparing for the 2019 NFL Draft. Their opponent the Cowboys, however, will be battling for a wild-card spot. Cowboys 24, Giants 17.

The good news is that the Giants improved from the 2017 season. The bad news is that they will still finish in last place.

This article was originally published on @taviano1027