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PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 13: New York Giants

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

If the NFL seeded every team one through 32 last January and had a playoff tourney, the Giants would have been a chic sleeper pick to win it all. Everyone knows New York is a serious threat no matter its seed.

Of course, there is no such 32-team tournament. Only six teams per conference make the playoffs. And in three of the last four seasons, the postseason has begun with the Giants at home.

The NFL isn’t about to open the postseason to everyone and thus devalue the regular season in the process, so it’s up to the Giants to rack up the wins necessary to get a playoff bid.

The question is, are the up to the task?

Here’s a look at the Giants as training camp approaches:

Strengths.

In Eli Manning, the Giants have a skilled, experienced, playoff-tested, durable quarterback. Think of all the teams that don’t have such stability at this key position. The Giants do, and it’s a primary reason they can’t be discounted.

Manning is surrounded by talented skill-position players. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are an elite wide receiving tandem. The depth beyond Nicks and Cruz is strong, too, with Rueben Randle, Louis Murphy and Ramses Barden also useful players.

The Giants also appear in good shape at running back, where David Wilson and Andre Brown comprise a capable tandem. New York also did well to add pass-catching tight end Brandon Myers (ex-Oakland) to replace Martellus Bennett, who signed with Chicago.

The strength of the defense is a deep defensive line led by ends Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, though the latter is recovering from back surgery.

Finally, the bulk of this club’s core has at least one Super Bowl ring. The Giants have won big, and they have thrived in one of the world’s biggest media markets for close to a decade under coach Tom Coughlin. GM Jerry Reese also deserves credit — the Giants annually have a deep, talented roster.

Weaknesses.

Whether the Giants make the postseason could well come down to the play of their defense, which has been below-par of late. The Giants have ranked in the bottom half of the league in yards per game and yards per play in each of the last two seasons. In 2012, only New Orleans was worse in both categories. The Giants struggled against the run (28th in yards per carry allowed) and pass (31st in opponents’ yards per pass play) a season ago.

While the Giants are strong in the front four, their back seven isn’t as imposing. Their linebacking corps lacks a standout, and the depth is questionable, too. The Giants have a similar situation at cornerback, where Prince Amukamara and Corey Webster are the starters with Aaron Ross (back after a forgettable one-year stint in Jacksonville), Jayron Hosley and Terrell Thomas other options. Thomas is coming off his third right ACL tear, and his ability to contribute remains to be seen.

Changes.

The Giants bid adieu to the tough tailback Ahmad Bradshaw, a key part of two Super Bowl teams, leaving Wilson (5-9, 205) and Brown (6-0, 227) to carry the load in the backfield.

Wilson, the club’s 2012 first-round pick, has exceptional speed. If he continues to round out his game, he could give an already potent offense yet another boost.

“He still makes mistakes, but there has certainly been . . . some significant growth,” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said of Wilson in June, according to the club. “Now until you get the pads on – and he has to show that he, as a smaller guy, can do the things necessary that other small backs in this league have done — you are still kind of holding your breath when you see him.”

Brown, who scored eight TDs in just 73 carries in 2012, would figure to be the Giants’ short-yardage, red-zone and between-the-tackles specialist.

Two notable additions on offense are Myers, who caught 79 passes for 806 yards and four TDs for Oakland in 2012; and rookie right tackle Justin Pugh, who will compete to start right off the bat.

There are numerous changes on defense. Defensive Osi Umenyiora departed for Atlanta. Mathias Kiwanuka, who started six games at strong-side linebacker for New York in 2012, could see more time at end with Umenyiora gone and Pierre-Paul coming off back surgery. The Giants also added rookie pass-rush prospect Damontre Moore in Round Three.

Two former Eagles — Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson — were added to bolster New York’s defensive tackle ranks. The Giants also added Ohio State tackle Johnathan Hankins in Round Two.

Middle linebacker Dan Connor (ex-Dallas) was added in March, effectively replacing Chase Blackburn, who signed with Carolina. The Giants also parted ways with Michael Boley, who logged multiple starts at strong- and weak-side linebacker in 2012.

Talented-but-injury-prone safety Kenny Phillips signed with the Eagles. Ryan Mundy (ex-Pittsburgh) figures to be the third safety behind starters Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown.

The Giants replaced longtime kicker Lawrence Tynes with Josh Brown, who connected on 11-of-12 field goals for Cincinnati in the 2012 regular season. In his prime, the 34-year-old Brown was regarded as one of the NFL’s best kickers, and he was sharp in his stint with the Bengals a season ago.

Position battles.

With Blackburn departing in free agency, the Giants will have a new starter at middle linebacker. Mark Herzlich, primarily a reserve in his first two NFL seasons, held the job in offseason workouts.

“He’s taken a leadership role out there and I think he has some good respect from his teammates in some of the things he’s done in the OTAs,” defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said in June, according to a transcript from the team. “Obviously, we want to find out what happens when the pads come on.”

Connor, who has 27 starts, is another option in the middle.

There may be greater uncertainty at outside linebacker, with Keith Rivers, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger among the competitors for playing time. Per ESPNNewYork.com, Rivers and Paysinger were the starters outside in the offseason, though Williams was dealing with a knee injury. For the record, Rivers made three starts on the strong side and three on the weak side in 2012, with Williams starting two games on the strong side and one on the weak side. All three of Paysinger’s 2012 starts came at weak-side linebacker.

On offense, Pugh and veteran David Diehl will compete at right tackle. Both could potentially play guard, too. Also, how the Giants divide carries between Wilson and Brown will be closely watched by fans and fantasy-football players alike.

Prospects

The Giants lost their final four road games of 2012. Similar struggles away from home to begin this season would be very problematic for New York, which starts the 2013 campaign with three-of-four on the road, including the season-opener at Dallas. Overall, five of the Giants’ first eight contests before their Week Nine bye are away from MetLife Stadium.

After the bye, the Giants have three straight home games, with the Nov. 17 prime-time meeting vs. Green Bay perhaps the biggest challenge.

Nevertheless, all of that home cooking presents a big opportunity for Coughlin’s club. The Giants — like every other team in the competitive East — need to get their wins when they can. The division hasn’t produced multiple playoff teams since 2009.

Should the Giants get back to the postseason, there will be no doubting their readiness for the rigors of January. The NFC East is tough. And it will also take its toll, too, as the Giants, 9-9 in division play the last three seasons, too well know. To get to January, New York needs to slog through the schedule that encompasses the kids going back to school, the leaves turning colors and all of that holiday music on the radio.

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56 Responses to “PFT Preseason Power Rankings No. 13: New York Giants”
  1. whatnojets says: Jul 18, 2013 3:15 PM

    Pull the plug……they are done!!

  2. themackstrong says: Jul 18, 2013 3:16 PM

    RG3 coming off of torn ACL. It would be hard to put them ahead of NY Giants who were an injury mess last season and have healthy Nicks/Cruz and a two young 2nd year skill players about to make the lip. I think their only true weakness is line-backing and special teams but see them as a top 10 team.

  3. facetooth says: Jul 18, 2013 3:20 PM

    Super excited to see good ol’ Mush Mouth Manning’s (“EM3″) facial expressions in slow-motion as he gets blindsided.

  4. jmak79 says: Jul 18, 2013 3:23 PM

    Wait is it the odd year, yes they will probably win the SB, Manning vs Manning, better than Harbaugh vs Harbaugh.

    I hate the giants, but they seem to always get things done. As a Viking fan, it is fun to watch them and SF kick GB around, love how GB fans can’t understand how teams with a solid pass rush beat them.

  5. groundhoggday says: Jul 18, 2013 3:24 PM

    They will come in better than the top 40% of the league. I would at least put them in the top 10.

  6. peytonsneckl8 says: Jul 18, 2013 3:30 PM

    Strengths: ZERO. Weaknesses: Too many to count. 8 win team at best. HTTR

  7. ccjcsr says: Jul 18, 2013 3:30 PM

    Might wanna flip them to #14 as the Cowboys are taking the East this year!

    #CowboyNationRiseUP

  8. tombradyswig says: Jul 18, 2013 3:31 PM

    one place out of playoff contention, seems about right!
    Deer in the headlights manning is a goon!

  9. bobbob1eye says: Jul 18, 2013 3:40 PM

    Sweet, the Saints are getting a lil love.

  10. thefootballgodssay says: Jul 18, 2013 3:42 PM

    2013NFCEASTCHAMPSNYG

  11. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says: Jul 18, 2013 3:44 PM

    The Giants will be an interesting team to watch this year. I think this ranking is about right, and as you all know, I am always right. ;)

  12. bestbitter says: Jul 18, 2013 3:46 PM

    That last bit is interesting, after checking it out, the NFC East is a very tight division.

    Intra-Divisional records since 2010:
    Eagles: 10-8
    Giants: 9-9
    Redskins: 9-9
    Cowboys: 8-10

    I don’t see that changing much this year, expect the division winner to go ~4-2 in the division.

  13. thefootballgodssay says: Jul 18, 2013 3:49 PM

    this offence is down right scary THE GIANTS COULD AVG 33 PTS THIS YEAR 2013NFCESTCHAMPS #BOOK IT #GIANTSWILLSWEEPTHEREDSKINS2013

  14. justinstuckrule says: Jul 18, 2013 3:56 PM

    I’d love if the good stuff here comes true but I see lots of problems for the Giants this year. I don’t think they’ll be in the playoffs. 7 – 9 is about right.

  15. hehateme2 says: Jul 18, 2013 3:57 PM

    whatnojets says: Jul 18, 2013 3:15 PM
    Pull the plug……they are done!!??

    But the jets will forever be in their shadow…

  16. hehateme2 says: Jul 18, 2013 3:59 PM

    tombradyswig says: Jul 18, 2013 3:31 PM
    one place out of playoff contention, seems about right!
    Deer in the headlights manning is a goon!

    And yet, he’s beaten Miss Brady the last two Super Bowls. I’ll take that “goon” all day long.

  17. bcfalcon says: Jul 18, 2013 4:04 PM

    whatnojets says:
    Jul 18, 2013 3:15 PM
    Pull the plug……they are done!!
    ____________________________________Says the Jets fan…….

  18. punksinplay says: Jul 18, 2013 4:05 PM

    Any mention of the Giants always brings out the Eli haters. Say what you will about Eli but the guy has proven to be extremely clutch in his career.

  19. bobleblah says: Jul 18, 2013 4:10 PM

    Coughlin’s act has gotten old. The team will quit on him like Reid’s team quit last year. Welcome to NY in 2014 Bill Cowher.

  20. weaponx73 says: Jul 18, 2013 4:19 PM

    Bring on the hate the more people and the media tell the Giants they aren’t good and have no chance the more wins and slacked jaw opponents they leave in their wake. Please start questioning Eli’s eliteness too. Everyone in the NFC East talks a good game but the Giants are the only ones who have gotten it done in last decade or two. So keep telling us how good your one and done teams are and we will try to look suprised when you don’t get a ring.

  21. justintuckrule says: Jul 18, 2013 4:20 PM

    The NFC East finally has a schedule that won’t result in them all going 8-8 again. Last year, the Giants played at SF, at Balt and at Atl. Brutal as it gets. This year, they play none of those. Of the few returning playoff teams they do play (GB, Den and Minn) those are at home. If they play the same way they have been playing for the last 5 years, they should win 10 at least. This year, 10 should do it. The rest of the NFC can beat each other up for a change while the NFC East feasts on the putrid AFC West and the who-knows-what-you’ll-get NFC North.

  22. mazzstar30 says: Jul 18, 2013 4:20 PM

    Not going to argue the ranking… Still puts them ahead of everyone else in the division and as we all know, postseason Eli is a whole different beast. Love the Skins trolls… “We were division champs last year blah blah blah”… That’s your Super Bowl lol

  23. justintuckrule says: Jul 18, 2013 4:20 PM

    Giants also play Seattle at home.

  24. harrypairotestes says: Jul 18, 2013 4:35 PM

    Pretty good assessment. I think he’s quite spot on with the strengths, weaknessess and outlook for the season. The Giants are primed for, at the very least, a playoff run, and at best, a SB appearance as indicated by past seasons.

    I love the hate from the skin fans, as well, who should really be more concerned at their QB coming off an injury rather than a pre-season Power Rankings.

    GO BIG BLUE!!!

  25. nflgiant says: Jul 18, 2013 4:36 PM

    Yah!!!–Lucky13—Go gIANTS gO!!!!!!!!!

  26. pdonnellon says: Jul 18, 2013 4:56 PM

    Wow I hope Coughlin’s act has gotten old. Seems every time the media says he might have lost his players or his job is on the line, they win a SB.

  27. bigbluenationdb says: Jul 18, 2013 4:57 PM

    As a Giants fan, I think this is a fair assessment of the team. Eli has made this team better then it really is over the past 5 years. The offensive line has been average at best over that time. I personally think our linebackers are terrible and we should have done something in free agency.

    TE is still a revolving door for us. The TE position as changed the game of football but the Giants can’t seem to land a quality one. This is the most consistency Eli has had at the WR position over his career. He is entering his third season with both Nicks and Cruz. So I expect Eli to have his best season as a pro.

    I think it is a fair ranking. The Skins caught every break last year I don’t expect that to happen again. The Eagles are a train wrect waiting to happen again. A bunch of front runners with no leaders on either side of the ball. The Cowboys, well, they are the Cowboys.

  28. rex1979 says: Jul 18, 2013 5:06 PM

    Giants / Skins will clash week 17 for the NFC East title

  29. zack2482 says: Jul 18, 2013 5:10 PM

    Ranked too high. Defense is a huge question mark. JPP coming off back surgery. Tuck is old and not the same player. LBs and CBs are a liabilities.
    Eli regressed last year or should I say stays inconsistent. Threw for a 1000 yards less than he did in 2011 and went 4 games without throwing a TD. But no one mentions that.
    They finish 3rd in the NFC East this year and start the season with a big loss at Dallas.

  30. whatjusthapped says: Jul 18, 2013 5:11 PM

    Their defense isn’t playoff worthy but as long as they beat the Cowboys twice, I’ll be happy.

  31. orakpownd says: Jul 18, 2013 5:21 PM

    Lotsa Giants fans commenting about the Skins..and they aren’t any even any troll posts from Skins fans……trust me though, were not worried…in the slightest.

  32. bigbluefan1 says: Jul 18, 2013 5:26 PM

    Yeah that Eli what a losser
    The look on his face would love to see the look when he goes to the bank to look at his millions or opens the safe deposit box and takes out one of his Championship rings

    I am so happy he is the QB for my Giants

    all of you fools who make fun of him would be cheering if he played for your team and there are only 3 or 4 teams that would not give the world to have that sorry Eli as there QB.

    That list that would take him in a heart beat includes the well schooled Pats.

    So you make fun of Eli we will cheer him and watch him win his third ring in his house Giant Stadium. See you all in Feb

  33. flexx91 says: Jul 18, 2013 5:27 PM

    Are the Giants are hosting the Super Bowl this year? Enough said. Sorry NYG fans. You wanted to host a Super Bowl now you get to see the ‘Skins and Cowboys (as much as I hate to say it) fight for the NFC East crown.

  34. fanofevilempire says: Jul 18, 2013 5:40 PM

    giants will sport a 11-5 record and go on another
    SB run, too bad for the haters but this is how it is going down!

    giants have won 2 of the last 6 SB’S, NOT BAD.

  35. hellawaitsusall says: Jul 18, 2013 5:42 PM

    ooooh Power Rankings. The NFL’s version of gas prices!

  36. slashrancid says: Jul 18, 2013 5:48 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Giants go 14-2, with the two losses being against the Redskins.

    The Redskins are that good. Period.

    Giants 14-2
    Dallas 9-7
    Eagles 5-11
    Redskins 2-14

    Mark it down.

  37. cometvs says: Jul 18, 2013 5:53 PM

    “Ranked too high. Defense is a huge question mark. JPP coming off back surgery. Tuck is old and not the same player. LBs and CBs are a liabilities.
    Eli regressed last year or should I say stays inconsistent. Threw for a 1000 yards less than he did in 2011 and went 4 games without throwing a TD. But no one mentions that.”

    -

    So because he didn’t throw for 5,000 yards, he didn’t deliver? OK clown.

    The WR’s regressed last year for sure, and having turnstile Diehl at RT did no help. Giants offense will be delivering a blow to the hapless defenses of the NFC East.

  38. spedman24 says: Jul 18, 2013 5:56 PM

    This is the year giants officially fall flat. Good QB, no RB, liable off & De line. No lbs. No secondary…lots of issues…

    Giants fans are just ignorant. Those 2 SBs w/Eli were the 2 luckiest SB runs in nfl history…especially 2 yrs ago:..

  39. jmak79 says: Jul 18, 2013 6:31 PM

    spedman24 says:
    Jul 18, 2013 5:56 PM
    This is the year giants officially fall flat. Good QB, no RB, liable off & De line. No lbs. No secondary…lots of issues…

    Giants fans are just ignorant. Those 2 SBs w/Eli were the 2 luckiest SB runs in nfl history…especially 2 yrs ago:..

    —————————————–
    To win three playoff games and beat New England that is not luck, its like saying yeah your million dollars is all small bills!

  40. zack2482 says: Jul 18, 2013 6:56 PM

    Cometvs

    You’re the clown. When the media says he’s an elite QB but doesn’t throw a TD in 4 straight games, that’s hardly elite. Don’t even talk about your o-line. It is more than viable offensive line.
    The problem is that your defense didn’t bail Eli out if his inconsistent play. A guy that had had 30% of his starts with a 66.7% passer rating still had a 14-24 win/loss record over his career. Compared to Romo who has had 15% of his starts with a 66.7% passer rating yet his win/loss record is 2-12.
    Must be nice to have a team bail out your QB, clown!

  41. bookymdano says: Jul 18, 2013 7:05 PM

    As usual, NFC East continues to be the most overrated division in football. NFC West and NFC North tied for best records vs. non-divisional opponents in 2012.

  42. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 18, 2013 7:19 PM

    With 12 teams making the playoffs, this means the Giants would just come up short.

  43. wave222 says: Jul 18, 2013 7:21 PM

    “THE NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS ”
    Take the NFC East and then we will see after that????
    A lot of very good teams this year!!!!

  44. nygf says: Jul 18, 2013 7:45 PM

    This Giants’ fan’s assessment of Eli and why fans and some members of the media continue to doubt him comes down to his floor is probably the lowest of any of the “elite” QBs in the league, meaning when he has a bad game he has a really bad game. We’ve seen it. That said, his ceiling is as high as any other QB’s in the game. He can outplay a Brady or a Rodgers or a Favre on any given Sunday. Not only has he done that before, he’s done it when it mattered most.

    So I will live with the ups and downs because ultimately we’ll always have a shot with him. I’ll take the QB who I watched put the ball on a dime with less than 4 minutes left in the Super Bowl over the guy who maybe, might be able to do it if he ever gets that far.

  45. sethgiantsfan says: Jul 18, 2013 7:51 PM

    I’m so tired of uninformed sportswriters and analysts citing David Wilson’s “fumble problems” in every article about him.

    He fumbled once last season. Once. His main problem is blocking and protecting the QB.

  46. mungman69 says: Jul 18, 2013 7:52 PM

    I see the Giants and Skins fighting it out for first place and the cowboys and Eagles fighting it out for last place.

  47. giantsfan64 says: Jul 18, 2013 9:58 PM

    GMEN. 2013 SUPER BOWL CHAMPS

  48. musicman495 says: Jul 18, 2013 11:32 PM

    mazzstar30 says: Jul 18, 2013 4:20 PM

    Not going to argue the ranking… Still puts them ahead of everyone else in the division ….
    ——————-
    Typical clueless Giants fan – can’t tell that the Redskins haven’t been mentioned yet.

  49. musicman495 says: Jul 18, 2013 11:49 PM

    bigbluenationdb says: Jul 18, 2013 4:57 PM

    I think it is a fair ranking. The Skins caught every break last year I don’t expect that to happen again. ————–

    Yeah. I can’t decide if my favorite “break” was:

    - RG3 leaving Umenyiora in whatever passes for dust in the Meadowlands, converting a 4th and 10 on his own 25 with less than 2:00 to play.

    - RG3 moving the team 70 yards in about 2:00 in the 4th Qtr, down by 4, and passing for the go ahead TD to Santana Moss in the Meadowlands when everyone in New Jersey knew he had to throw for a TD.

    - RG3 running around left end untouched for 46 yards at FedEx while JPP tackled Alfred Morris (who did not have the ball) for a loss.

    Those were just lucky breaks.

  50. valhalla2013 says: Jul 19, 2013 12:06 AM

    The Giants have not won a game against the Vikings since Kerry Collins was quarter backing the G-Men. Same for 2013 and the Vi-Kings will finish far ahead of them again, book it.

  51. donth8thehorns says: Jul 19, 2013 2:52 AM

    As a Viking fan, I have much respect for the Giants! They remind me of my Vikings In many ways! With the exception , they have Eli Manning! The guy is a frickin winner! He may not always look pretty, like A Rodgers,(the best in the game right now(, but, he is oober clutch! The rest of the squad looks very similar! Tough Oass rush, average LB’s and marginal secondary! Although the Vikes have addressed the CBs and safety position is becoming elite!
    Anyone that thinks Washington or Dallas is even close to these guys is fooling themselves!

  52. joeyd524 says: Jul 19, 2013 6:52 AM

    When you talk to real football fans not the clowns posting here..NFC east breakdown.

    #4 eagles,they’ll be the doormat for the 3rd year in a row,they have a lame duck coach who only bolted to the nfl for 1 reason,and no qb to speak of or 1 wr..

    #3 cowboys,same team as last year lots of preseason hype and tony romo..they’ll win 8-9 games but just not enough

    #2 redskins,last year was a fluke,they have some talent but not enough to win the east,the book is out on griffin and with his health issues he won’t be the same player,he depends on his legs,I don’t care what you say,and trust me cousins ain’t winning this division..hard to predict there record but I can see them winning 8 games or 5 who knows,plus they have to bounce back from that butt kicking Seattle gave them..

    #1 only one team left,giants are the obvious choice to win the division,only gonna take 9-10 wins,Eli has that it factor and won’t settle for not making the playoffs again,on offense they’ll be unstoppable,defense is the question mark,if perry can put together something even mediocre with that offense,division is ny’s

    Can’t wait to see how it shakes out but pretty sure I got it pinned..

  53. rg3andthensome says: Jul 19, 2013 7:36 AM

    SKINS #1???

  54. Mike Wilkening says: Jul 19, 2013 2:23 PM

    The reference to Wilson’s fumbling has been removed. My mistake. Thank you for mentioning it. — Mike

  55. ellispau says: Jul 19, 2013 10:31 PM

    Until the Jints actually lose their defensive mojo, its hard to rank them lower than #10. As a Pats fan, I wish posters would stop posting that Eli has the Pats D stumped. The Giants D has beaten NE’s offense in their past 2 SB meetings (not Eli, helmet catch notwithstanding).

  56. bigbluefanatic says: Jul 20, 2013 7:37 AM

    If the running game gels, this is going to be a high performance offense. A healthy and motivated Nicks added back into the receiving corps coupled with a credible ground attack could make this offense scary. Well, as scary as a Kevin Gillbride offense can get, anyway.
    Too many lineup changes on the other side of the ball to predict how things will shake out, though. Big Blue doesn’t seem to have much luck coming out on the winning end of a late-game shootout, so the D had better come together if they’re going to sell hot dogs and beer in the Meadowlands in January.

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