2013 New York Giants Predictions and NFL Futures Odds
by Alan Matthews - 8/13/2013
There are only two coaches in the NFL currently who have been with their franchises for at least 10 years: New England's Bill Belichick and Cincinnati's Marvin Lewis. The New York Giants' Tom Coughlin will join that group in Week 1, but I wonder if his time might be coming to an end. Outside of the Giants' surprising Super Bowl run in the 2011 season, the team has missed the playoffs in three of the past four seasons. It remains really streaky, capable of beating anyone (ask the Patriots or Packers) but also dropping four of five at the drop of a hat. It might be time for a fresh voice should the team miss out on the playoffs again. Plus, Coughlin will be 67 later this month. It's still a marquee job, so the Giants probably could lure a big name out of retirement like a Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden if they so desired.
Eli Manning remains one of the 10 best quarterbacks in the NFL -- maybe the best in the fourth quarter -- but he did regress in a fairly big way last year. His completion percentage of 59.9 was his worst since 2007, and his yards were down nearly 1,000 from 2011. His rating was down about five points from that year. If you are wondering why the Giants are so streaky, it's because Eli is. When he struggled, the Giants lost: 10-for-24 for 125 yards with a pick in a loss to Pittsburgh; 29-for-46 for 215 yards with no TDs and two picks in a loss to Cincinnati; 13-for-25 for 161 yards with no TDs and two picks in a loss to Atlanta. Then there's the Eli who threw five touchdown passes in the season finale against Philadelphia and three in a blowout of the Packers. Perhaps one game last year best sums up the up-and-down Manning: He threw for 510 yards and three scores in Week 2 against Tampa Bay but also three picks, including one returned for a touchdown.
Manning has one of the best receiving duos in the NFL in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, but the latter has trouble staying healthy. Nicks caught only 53 passes in an injury-plagued 2012. Expect a motivated Nicks in 2013 because he's up for a new contract as a potential free agent, just like his wingman Cruz got. New York got rid of leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw and is putting a ton of faith in second-year man David Wilson, who hasn't proven he can pass block yet.
New York ranked 31st overall in total defense last year and didn't make any sweeping changes. Its star ends, Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul, combined for only 10.5 sacks. That won't get it done in a system that demands the front four get pressure on the quarterback. Neither seems 100 percent healthy. Tuck has had injury problems the past two years and has been dealing with a back issue in camp. JPP had offseason back surgery and is definitely “iffy” for Week 1. The Giants have moved Mathias Kiwanuka to Pierre-Paul's starting spot for now. Two starters must be replaced at linebacker, and the secondary was a problem last year, although former first-round pick Prince Amukamara looks ready to blossom at one cornerback spot.
2013 New York Giants Schedule Analysis
New York has the ninth-easiest strength of schedule in the NFL with an opponents' 2012 winning percentage of .480. The Giants start with three of their first four on the road, but all are winnable: the opener at Dallas (New York is 4-0 at AT&T Stadium all time), Week 3 at Carolina and Week 4 at Kansas City. The Manning Bowl is Week 2 against Denver at MetLife Stadium. Finish those first four at 2-2 and things look good. I could see New York then winning three of its next four -- vs. Philadelphia, at Chicago (quick turnaround Thursday game), vs. Minnesota and at Philadelphia -- to be 5-3 entering the perfectly-placed bye week. New York gets a rare three-game homestand out of that off week against Oakland, Green Bay and Dallas (Cowboys coming off a bye week). The Giants haven't closed strong the past two years, and it will be a challenge again: at Washington, at San Diego, vs. Seattle, at Detroit and vs. Washington. It's too bad the Giants don't get the Skins early while Robert Griffin III may still be a bit slowed by his ACL recovery. This schedule looks tough early and late but manageable in the middle.
2013 New York Giants Futures Odds
Odds courtesy of BetOnline and Sportsbook.ag: New York has an “over/under” NFL season wins total of 9, with the under a -150 favorite. The G-Men are +230 second-favorites to win the NFC East, +1000 to win the NFC and +2000 to win the Super Bowl. Manning is +2500 to win his first NFL MVP Award. He is +1200 to lead the NFL in passing yards. Manning is +5 touchdown passes against Dallas' Tony Romo, with Romo at -135 and Manning at +105. Cruz is +1200 to lead the league in receiving yards. He is +1.5 receiving touchdowns against the Cowboys' Dez Bryant. Nicks is +4000 to have the most receiving yards. Wilson is +3000 to lead the league in rushing.
2013 New York Giants Predictions
The Giants are so tough to get a read on. They could go 5-11 or 11-5, and neither would surprise me much. The offense has the potential to be excellent, but the defense is pretty concerning. So there could be a lot of 31-28 games. Obviously New York would love to play in the Super Bowl this season because it's held in its own stadium, and that might not ever happen again depending on how the first outdoor cold-weather Super Bowl goes off.
I think I would roll the dice on the division odds because I'm not sold on the Cowboys or Redskins. I'd also take Manning against Romo on that TD prop but Bryant against Cruz on the TD receptions. Take the over on the wins as I'm leaning 10-6 here.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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