New York Giants 2023 season preview and predictions
This appeared in the original VSiN NFL Betting Guide released on June 29, 2023.
Dave Tuley: After the Giants went 6-10 in 2020 and 4-13 in 2021 in coach Joe Judge’s two seasons, he was fired and general manager Dave Gettleman retired. They were replaced by former Buffalo front office assistant Joe Schoen as GM and former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as head coach. The Giants beat the Titans and Panthers for their first 2-0 start since 2016 and were right behind the Eagles in the NFC East at 6-1 after Week 7. The Giants were mostly doing it mirrors as all were one-score games, and the offense and defense were ranking in the bottom half of the NFL. They cooled off, never winning back-to-back games the rest of the season, but finished 9-7-1 to make the playoffs, and Daboll was named Coach of the Year. DraftKings has the G-men at 25-1 to win the NFC and 65-1 to win the Super Bowl, along with an Over/Under Season Win Total of 7.5.
The Giants averaged 21.2 points per game (No. 18 in the league) and 333.4 yards (No. 19). As Saquon Barkley goes, so goes the Giants’ offense. Barkley carried the team as he played 16 games for the first time since his 2018 rookie season and rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns while adding another 338 receiving yards. He scored 2 TDs in the Giants’ 34-31 upset of the Vikings in the wild-card round but was shut down by the Eagles in the 38-7 divisional playoff blowout.
Reduced to mostly a game-manager role, QB Daniel Jones improved in his fourth season, completing a career-high 67.2% of his passes for 3,205 yards and 15 TDs with just 5 INTs. He also added 708 rushing yards and 7 more TDs. To Jones’ credit, he did all that with a below-average receiving corps, led by Darius Slayton’s 46 catches for 724 yards. The top returning receiver (not counting Barkley) is Isaiah Hodgins, who had 33 receptions for 351 yards and is on top of the depth chart heading to training camp. The Giants are hoping Sterling Shepard, Wan’Dale Robinson and Collin Johnson return from injuries to help pick up the slack, as well as newcomers Paris Campbell and Jamison Crowder. But the biggest upgrade in the passing game should come from former Raiders TE Darren Waller, who provides a solid 1-2 punch at the position with Daniel Bellinger.
The New York defense was worse than the offense as it allowed 22.8 points per game (No. 22 in the league) and 359.8 yards (No. 25), and it was amazing how the team kept winning. The problem is they didn’t do much in the off-season to improve on this side of the ball.
Dexter Lawrence led the Giants with 7.5 sacks and was the defense’s only All-Pro selection (left tackle Andrew Thomas was the only one on offense). Rookie linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux was the only other Giant with as many as four sacks. Safety Julian Love led the team with 124 tackles, which isn’t always a good sign if too many of those are far downfield, and he left as a free agent to Seattle to leave another hole in the New York defense. The best defensive pickup is probably middle linebacker Bobby Okereke (151 total tackles with the Colts last season), plus they also added Rams defensive end A’Shawn Robinson, though he needs to recover from a torn meniscus last November that caused him to miss the last seven games.
Despite making the playoffs, the Giants still look like a level or two below the Eagles and Cowboys in the division, and they haven’t seemed to do enough in the offseason to close the gap. DraftKings has the Giants’ Over/Under Season set at 7.5, with the Under shaded to -120 as of mid-June. Considering how lucky the Giants were in one-score games last season, it’s logical to expect them to regress after going from 4 wins in 2021 to 9 in 2022. RECOMMENDATION: Under 7.5.
This appeared in the Updated VSiN NFL Betting Guide released on August 31, 2023.
Michael Lombardi: The Giants decided to pay quarterback Daniel Jones big money — $40 million per year — and he only threw for over 300 yards in two games. Both were losses. Jones will never be mistaken for John Elway or Dan Marino zipping the ball all over the field. He is a well-managed passer within the offense. The Giant coaches have complete faith that once the offense gets more skilled talent, they can expand their conservative approach and showcase his skills.
Is that realistic? One thing is for sure: Brian Daboll and the Giants proved last year that they have a certain style they need to play if they want to win. They kept the game close and tried to win a one-possession game in the fourth quarter. This philosophy worked well in the first part of the season, but the Giants struggled once teams understood their style and methodology. In two games against the Eagles, Jones scored 29 total points. In the one meaningless game, when Davis Webb played quarterback, they scored 22. Overall, the Giants were outclassed and outscored by the Eagles in three games, 88-45, and were never in the games. For them to defeat the Eagles, they need to alter their approach on offense, but will this show Jones as a $40-million-man or an overpaid player? Only time will tell.
As for their defense, they were the fifth-best team on third down and in the red zone, which offset their inability to stop the run. They have improved this summer in the secondary, and even if they are better on defense, the tougher schedule might offset the talent increase. The formula that worked last year will need to work again this year — great red zone offense and defense always help win games — and regardless of the schedule, if the Giants excel in that game situation, they can be a team to make the playoffs in the NFC.
Player to Watch: TE Darren Waller
One of the primary reasons why Joe Schoen felt comfortable trading for Darren Waller is the Giants’ training staff. New York’s soft-tissue injuries were down by 200% last season. The addition of Waller is now the catalyst for the Giants’ offense. Not only will plenty of plays be schemed for Waller, but his presence will lead to open receivers in the short to intermediate parts of the field. Waller, along with rookie Jalin Hyatt and free agent acquisition Parris Campbell, should be instrumental in helping Jones throw for more than just 6.8 yards per attempt this season. For the most part, Waller looked unguardable throughout training camp. – Nick Falato, Big Blue View (@nickfalato)
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