Unless the Giants turn around their league-worst offense through the first two weeks of the 2020 NFL season, new head coach Joe Judge will be wishing he stayed in New England. The Patriots’ former special team’s coordinator and wide receivers coach has been unlucky in his first year with New York. In Week 2, QB Daniel Jones finally had his full complement of offensive weapons.
The afternoon contest between the Giants and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field was the first Giants game ever in which Jones played with RB Saquon Barkley, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Golden Tate, WR Darius Slayton, and TE Evan Engram altogether. Then, Barkley and Shepard left the game with injuries and were placed on injured reserve.
Barkley’s third NFL season is over due to a torn ACL, as the 0-2 Giants wrestle to keep their season alive. They hope that 28-year-old RB Devonta Freeman can replace Barkley, with Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman backing him Freeman up at the position. Meanwhile, the Giants wide receivers have encountered many injuries as well: Shepard and Tate have struggled to stay on the field.
If the Giants want to develop Slayton as much as possible this season, having Shepard or Tate in the lineup will be beneficial. With 27-year-old WR C.J. Board filling in, maybe the Giants offense can lean on Slayton and Engram. However, Freeman’s performance at the running back position will dictate the potential of the 2020 Giants.
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2020 Giants Draft Picks
Andrew Thomas, OT (Georgia)
Xavier McKinney, S (Alabama)
Matt Peart, OT (Connecticut)
Darnay Holmes, CB (UCLA)
Shane Lemieux, OG (Oregon)
Cameron Brown, LB (Penn State)
Carter Coughlin, LB (Minnesota)
T.J. Brunson, LB (South Carolina)
Chris Williamson, CB (Minnesota)
Tae Crowder, LB (Georgia)
Notable Other New Faces for the Giants
Colt McCoy, QB
Cooper Rush, QB
Devonta Freeman, RB
Dion Lewis, RB
Damion Ratley, WR
C.J. Board, WR
Levine Toilolo, TE
Eric Tomlinson, TE
Austin Johnson, DT
Kyler Fackrell, LB
Blake Martinez, LB
Logan Ryan, FS
Isaac Yiadom, CB
James Bradberry, CB
Ryan Lewis, CB (practice squad)
Nate Ebner, S
Adrian Colbert, FS
Graham Gano, K
Notable Giants in New Places
Jon Hilliman, RB – released
Corey Coleman, WR – released
Cody Latimer, WR – released
Ryan Connelly, LB – Minnesota Vikings
Antonio Hamilton, CB – Kansas City Chiefs
Grant Haley, CB – New Orleans Saints
Deandre Baker, CB – released
Michael Thomas, S – Houston Texans
Aldrick Rosas, K – released
Notable Giants on the Injury Report
Saquon Barkley, RB – placed on injured reserve with a knee injury; out for 2020 season
Sterling Shepard, WR – placed on injured reserve with a toe injury; expected to return for Week 6
David Sills, WR – placed on injured reserve with a foot injury
Cody Core, WR – placed on injured reserve with an Achilles injury
Carter Coughlin, LB – questionable for Week 3 with a hamstring injury
David Mayo, OLB – placed on injured reserve with a knee injury; expected to return for Week 4
Montre Hartage, CB – questionable for Week 3 with a hamstring injury
Adrian Colbert, FS – questionable for Week 3 with a quadriceps injury
Xavier McKinney, S – placed on injured reserve with a foot injury; expected to return for Week 12
Giants Who Have Opted Out of 2020 NFL Season
Da’Mari Scott, WR
Nate Solder, OT
Sam Beal, CB
Shakial Taylor, CB
Giants Offense Predictions
The Giants had the potential to approach the top 10 in terms of offensive scoring before Barkley’s injury, but expectations simmered after their 0-2 start. With their star running back out for the season and having injuries in the receiving group, New York will be lucky to have an average offense in 2020. Daniel Jones entered the season with a 3-9 career record as a starter, but it remains a small sample size. He threw for more than 3,000 yards in just 13 games during his rookie year but did commit a league-high 18 fumbles to go along with 12 interceptions.
Jones has begun 2020 with two passing touchdowns, three interceptions, and a fumble, as he still looks to improve in his sophomore season. His throwing has not looked better through two games, as his interception percentage is higher this season. The offensive line has not helped him either, as he has been sacked seven times in just two games. In 2019, he was sacked 38 times, which ranked him ninth among quarterbacks. If the receivers can get healthier, maybe Jones can improve his quarterback rating and lift the spirits of Giants fans.
Giants Running Backs: Can the Giants Running Game Survive Without Saquon Barkley?
Former Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman, former Tennessee Titans RB Dion Lewis, and fourth-year Giants RB Wayne Gallman will look to make up for the absence of Saquon Barkley. Barkley, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 draft, finished his rookie year with the most yards from scrimmage in the NFL. He then went for 1,003 rushing yards in 13 games in 2019. Also, Barkley’s 23 career touchdowns will sure be missed.
Judge is expected to lean on Freeman and Lewis for the remainder of the 2020 season. Lewis did not inspire confidence in his first – and possibly only – game as the lead running back. After Barkley left Week 2 early, Lewis rushed the ball 10 times and only accumulated 20 yards on the ground. Lewis may fit better as the change-of-pace back. He caught four passes for 36 yards in the 17-13 loss to the Bears. Lewis performed well as a pass-catching back for the Patriots and Titans. Lewis, a Super Bowl champion, also brings playoff experience, which could help the Giants in future years.
If Freeman takes over a large workload, the Giants may see another running back injury, so the hope is that the seventh-year running back is eased into the 2020 season. His last NFL game came in Week 17 of the 2019 season when he rushed for just 58 yards on 18 carries. However, in Freeman’s final five games of last season, his overall statistics were decent: he ran for 3.7 yards per attempt, caught 21 passes for 128 yards, and scored three touchdowns. The Falcons won the final four games of 2019. New York will be happy with that production from Freeman, and if he can lead them to some wins, the Giants would be even more pleased.
Giants Wide Receivers: Will Second-Year Standout Darius Slayton Be the Leading Receiver for New York?
With Sterling Shepard (eight receptions for 76 yards, but no touchdowns in two games) and Golden Tate (five receptions for 47 yards, but zero touchdowns in one game) dealing with injuries early in the season, Darius Slayton may finish as the best pass-catcher on the Giants in 2020.
In just Slayton’s second NFL season, he already looks like a playmaker. The No. 171 overall pick in the 2019 draft scored eight touchdowns in his rookie season. In Week 1, Slayton went off for two touchdowns. Although the Giants started the season 0-2, Slayton is already improving his yards per game and catch percentage in 2020. Slayton is well on his way to the first 1,000-yard season of his career.
Giants Tight Ends: Evan Engram Hopes to Improve His Pass-Catching From Daniel Jones
If the Giants are hobbled on offense for most of the season, then Evan Engram will be relied upon even more than expected in 2020. He has yet to score through two games, but the fourth-year tight end could be in for a lot of red-zone targets. The Giants hope that the injury bug does not get to Engram like it did in 2019.
A foot injury forced his season to end after Week 9 last year. Unfortunately, Engram succeeded more with the now-retired Eli Manning than he has with Daniel Jones. With Manning under center, Engram caught passes at a better rate and scored more touchdowns per game. If the Giants want to see their offense succeed, Jones and Engram need to be more in sync.
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Giants Defense Predictions
New York’s offseason did not end well, as the Giants released 2019 first-round pick DeAndre Baker after he dealt with some off-the-field issues. The 2018 Jim Thorpe Award winner for college football’s top defensive back and 2017 Consensus All-American would have been an essential part of the 2020 defense. The Giants also lost safety Xavier McKinney for the majority of the season due to a fractured foot.
However, the Giants were able to get free safety Logan Ryan, who used to play cornerback. Ryan is a two-time Super Bowl champion and brings plenty of postseason experience. In addition to spending four seasons with the New England Patriots, Ryan made two postseasons (3-2 record) with the Tennessee Titans. Ryan’s interception of Tom Brady with 15 seconds remaining in last season’s Wild Card Round win against New England ended Brady’s tenure with the Patriots.
Giants Special Teams Predictions
Kicker Graham Gano enters his first season with the Giants after spending a year out of the league. He suffered a left leg injury before the 2019 season even began. Gano, who entered the NFL in 2009, had a stint with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League.
The Scottish kicker went undrafted and played four games with the Washington Football Team in 2009. After three seasons with Washington, he played with the Carolina Panthers for seven years and made a Pro Bowl in 2017.
Through the first two weeks of the 2020 season, Gano made three of his four field-goal attempts. He also has made his two extra points. However, just two of his first eight kickoffs this season resulted in touchbacks. Gano’s career touchback percentage is 63.3 percent, which may lead some to think that the 2019 leg injury may be affecting him.
Giants Head Coach Predictions
In his first season as a head coach in the NFL, Joe Judge is already turning heads. Although he lost his first two games, Judge is showing that he is there for his players. The new Giants head coach physically helped to support an injured Saquon Barkley off the field. Not many head coaches would have done what Judge did.
Judge has an experienced coaching staff with him for 2020. Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has moved into the role of Giants’ offensive coordinator. Meanwhile, Patrick Graham returns to the team as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Graham, the defensive line coach for the Super Bowl XLIX champion Patriots, was in Green Bay in 2018 and Miami in 2019.
Giants Predictions for Week 3
The San Francisco 49ers defeated the New York Jets, 31-13, at MetLife Stadium in Week 2, but several 49ers went down with injuries in the contest. RB Raheem Mostert, RB Tevin Coleman, DE Nick Bosa, and DE Solomon Thomas will all miss Week 3’s contest, as the line dropped from 6.5 to four points. The 49ers are making it back-to-back games at MetLife Stadium, and between Weeks 2 and 3, the MetLife turf passed NFL and NFL Players Association inspection.
There was cause for concern after a remarkably large number of 49ers injuries occurred during Week 2. The Giants are catching the 49ers at the right time, as backup QB Nick Mullens may also start for Jimmy Garoppolo (questionable with an ankle injury). Also, TE George Kittle has been limited in practice with a sprained MCL. Therefore, there is value with taking the Giants and four points or even New York with the money line.
Giants Predictions for 2020 Season
The Giants will have difficulty making it to their 2020 over/under of 6.5 wins. New York went 7-9 last year against the spread and went 4-12 overall. The worst stretch of the season included a nine-game losing streak from Week 5 to Week 14. New York hopes that it does not have as long of a losing streak in 2020. Unsurprisingly, the Giants fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears, but the schedule does not get easier. The Giants take on the NFC West for four games this season.
New York will have difficulty against the Dallas Cowboys as well in 2020. However, Garrett, the team’s new offensive coordinator, knows the tendencies of many of the current Cowboys, so the Giants may be able to steal one of the games in 2020. The NFC East does get easier when looking at the other two members of the division. Still, no matter how many wins New York can grab from the Washington Football Team and underachieving Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants’ +12000 Super Bowl futures bet is not worth it, as they such a low chance at making the playoffs.
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