NEW YORK GIANTS (10-8-1)
EXPECTATIONS: The Giants are a better team than the one rookie head coach Brian Daboll led to the playoffs in 2022 for the first time since 2016. The offense is much improved with playmaking receivers to go along with quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Jones had a career season and Barkley had his best season since his rookie year in 2018. Their average of 21.5 points could go up with tight end Darren Walker and receivers Jalin Hyatt and Parris Campbell in the mix. Defensively, the additions of linemen A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches and inside linebacker Bobby Okereke should help Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence stop the run. Placekicker Graham Gano is among the best in the league. The Giants haven’t made the playoffs in consecutive seasons since 2007-08. That should end this year.
NEW FACES: TE Darren Waller, ILB Bobby Okereke, CB Deonte Banks, C John-Michael Schmitz, WR Jalin Hyatt, WR Parris Campbell, DL A’Shawn Robinson, DT Rakeem Nunez-Roches and CB Tre Hawkins.
KEY LOSSES: C Jon Feliciano, S Julian Love, WR Richie James, LB Jaylon Smith.
STRENGTHS: The playmakers. Waller, who has the speed of a wide receiver, will be a matchup problem for any opponent. Wide outs Campbell, Hyatt and Sterling Shepard should get a lot of single coverage. The improved passing game also should prevent opposing defenses from loading up in the box and help Barkley both run and catch the ball.
WEAKNESSES: The biggest concern has to be the offensive line. Left tackle Andrew Thomas is one of the best in the league. The rest of the line is a question mark. Second-year right tackle Evan Neal struggled as a rookie and he has been up and down in camp. Schmitz has looked good at the center, but the guard spots are uncertain. Mark Glowinski returns on the right side and veteran Ben Bredeson and second-year pro Josh Ezeudu are battling at left guard.
CAMP DEVELOPMENT: Sixth-round pick Tre Hawkins out of Old Dominion has been one of the biggest surprises. He flashed early and has not stopped using his size, speed, length and toughness to push for a starting job at cornerback along with first-round pick Deonte Banks. They have played so well top coverage cornerback Adoree Jackson may end up being the cornerback in the slot in the nickel. Jason Pinnock has emerged as the replacement for Love at safety
FANTASY PLAYER TO WATCH: Waller, who was acquired in a trade with Las Vegas before the draft, has had a strong training camp. He has regained the Pro Bowl form he showed in 2019 and ’20, when he caught a combined 197 passes for 2,341 yards and 12 TDs.
FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK SAYS: Win Super Bowl: Plus 48-1. Over/under wins: 7.5.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl