No Odell, no problem? Nick Ballistreri shares his Over/Under pick for the New York Giants Win Total
Times have been tough lately for New York Giants fans. After finishing their 2018 campaign with a dismal 5-11 record, what did the Giants do? They traded their franchise icon, and star player, Odell Beckham, because why not? If you can’t win with Odell, maybe you can win without him? I’m not sure, but that has to be the part of the Giants thinking.
Don’t be so hard on yourself Giants fans. You still have some very talented pieces on this roster, and finally, you may have found your quarterback of the future in Daniel Jones. The Giants selected Jones with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and while it was almost unanimously seen as a reach on draft day, Jones early preseason returns are very positive. Maybe things are finally looking up for Big Blue.
The Giants can’t seem to move on from long-time QB Eli Manning. Manning is a Giants legend, no question about it. In his career, he is on the short list of QBs with 2 Super Bowl victories, both with the Giants. Because of this, Giants fans rightfully are loyal to Eli, but the question is, when will the loyalty run out?
I ask this because Eli has been flat out bad the last couple seasons. Last season, Manning completed 66% of his passes, accounting for 4,299 passing yards, 21 Touchdowns, and 11 Interceptions. While on the surface, this isn’t bad, what drives fans crazy is Mannings inability to move around in the pocket and make plays at an older age. When the pass rush gets near Manning, you will often see him just give himself up to live another day. Not very endearing to fans.
The Giants are looking towards a future beyond Eli, evidenced by aforementioned Daniel Jones. Jones, the rookie out of Duke University, has shown lots of promise in the preseason. He is making plays, and frankly making throws that Manning himself has not made in years. He is giving the Giants confidence in their future, and while he may not be ready to start Week 1, don’t be surprised if Jones is under center at some point this season.
Luckily for whoever is playing QB for the Giants, when they turn around, they will see Saquon Barkley. Barkley was the #2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and while many complained that it was too rich to take a RB at 2, Barkley was as advertised. Barkley is simply a stud. He makes things happen when it looks like there is nothing. He catches passes out of the backfield like a receiver, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen him go down on first contact.
Barkley carried the offense a season ago, totaling 1,307 yards and 11 TDs. He also caught 91 passes for 721 yards. He can do everything. The problem for Barkley is that the offensive line is simply not up to par. Oftentimes, defenders stack the box attempting to take away Barkley because Eli cannot make plays down the field like he used to be able to.
The Giants did make strides to improve their offensive line this season. They traded defensive end Olivier Vernon to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for Kevin Zietler. While not an All-Pro talent, Zietler will help improve the Giants atrocious offensive line.
I already mentioned the Giants traded phenom receiver Odell Beckham. What are they left with? Simply, not much. The team went out and signed WR Golden Tate to a 4-year deal in free agency, and while he is a good player, he is not on Beckham’s level, and to make matters worse, he is suspended for the first 4 games of the 2019 season. Flanking Tate will be Sterling Shepherd, who is a solid, but unspectacular receiver.
At Tight End, the Giants have promising young player Evan Engram. Engram has shown flashes of greatness, but he is plagued by injuries and inconsistencies. As stated before, Barkley is also a key component of the Giants passing game.
Remember when the Giants defensive line used to suffocate opposing offenses, including Tom Brady twice in the Super Bowl? Probably not, because that was so long ago. Nowadays, the Giants defense isn’t even league average. In 2018, the Giants gave up an average of 25.75 PPG. With an offense as bad as their own, this made it nearly impossible to win games a year ago.
To make matters worse, the Giants refused to extend the franchise tag to Safety Landon Collins. Collins is a 25-year old stud at safety, and the Giants felt they didn’t need him anymore, letting him walk to the division rival Redskins. A head scratching decision to me. To replace Collins, the Giants received S Jabrill Peppers back in the Odell Beckham trade. Peppers is a young, talented safety, and he is from New Jersey. The Giants hope that bringing Peppers back home will make him one of the brightest safeties in the league this season.
On the defensive line, the Giants arguably got worse. They traded away stalwart Olivier Vernon, and replaced him with Markus Golden. Golden has potential, but is coming off an injury that ravaged his 2018 season. The team still has Cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who even as he ages, continues to be a solid player. To help on the backend, the team also signed S Antoine Bethea, who in his prime was a great player. The problem is that he is 35 years of age, clearly on the tail end of his career. The Giants hope he can find the fountain of youth this season.
The Giants did make some secondary moves in the draft. With the 30th overall pick, the team selected DeAndre Baker, a cornerback from Georgia. Baker won the Jim Thorpe award in 2018, meaning he was the nation’s top defensive back. The kid can play. The Giants also have Sam Beal, an often forgotten piece that the team selected in the 2018 Supplemental Draft. Beal has talent, but an injury ruined his 2018 campaign. With these young guns, as well as Jabrill Peppers in tow, the Giants hope their young secondary can make a statement this year.
Giants Over/Under Pick
Draftkings has set the Giants O/U at 6.5. This seems…high. After the team went 5-11 last season, you could argue that they got much worse. They lost their best receiver in Beckham, and still plan to employ Eli Manning at QB, just a year older. They still have Saquon, who should only expect to get better in his second season.
I think the Giants will have problems moving the ball through the air. Eli simply cannot get it done at this age, and anybody watching these games knows this. With the loss of Beckham, and the suspension to Golden Tate, expect the Giants passing attack to struggle mightily in the opening weeks.
Defensively, the same can be said; the team may have gotten less talented. Losing Collins will hurt, but the team has high hopes for their young guys in the secondary. In my opinion, the Giants secondary will be one of the bright spots on this team. Yes, the guys are young, but these kids can play. With Peppers moving back to his home-state, expect a homecoming of sorts, and for him to have a solid season.
All in all, the Giants should throw the possibility of the playoffs out of the window. Vegas has their O/U set at 6.5, but with the odds being -200 to go Under, it is clear what their line of thinking is. Even though there is not much value in taking 2-1 odds, it is clearly the right move. I expect the Giants to struggle this season, and I definitely see a realistic scenario where the Giants hand the reigns to rookie Daniel Jones, ending Eli Manning’s illustrious tenure in a Giants uniform. The pick here is clear, bang the under.
Giants Under 6.5 -200 @ Draftkings