New York Giants, Def, Giants
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2015 Outlook: Gamble (high risk)Last updated on Aug-20-2015 by Shawn Childs
The Giants will have seven matchups against above-average rushing offenses. They play three teams with weak rushing attacks -- the Falcons, Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But are expected to be improved with LeSean McCoy now on the roster. New York has four games against solid aerial offenses – the Saints, Falcons and two versus the Eagles. They have four games versus teams with weak passing attacks -- the 49ers, Bucs, Jets and Vikings.
New York allowed the third-most rushing yards last season (2,162) as opposing ball carriers gained 4.9 yards per rush and scored 15 TDs on the ground.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul regained his top form in 2014. He played at a high level against the run and recorded 13 sacks, nine QB hits and 38 QB hurries. DT Johnathan Hankins, a second-round pick in 2013 played well in his second year, notching eight sacks, six QB hits and 21 QB hurries. He was also strong against the run. The right side of the Giants' D-line has upside; their weakness lies on the left. New York doesn't have one player of value starting at the other defensive tackle position. DE Robert Ayers was playing at a high level as a pass rusher (five sacks, 12 QB hits and 29 QB hurries) before his season ended in Week 14 due to a torn pec. He was below average versus the run.
Linebacker Devon Kennard played well a a rookie after moving into the starting lineup in Week 11. Devon had five sacks through Weeks 13-15. Middle linebacker Jon Beason hasn't played well since 2010 because of myriad injuries. His 2014 season was marred by a toe ailment that required surgery. There is no player here who offers any real upside at the third linebacker spot.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie graded out as the Giants' best cover corner in 2014. He allowed 42 catches for 492 yards and five TDs on 74 passing attempts. Former first-rounder Prince Amukamara allowed 26 catches, 373 yards and no TDs on 44 targets. His season was ended by a torn biceps in Week 9. Landon Collins is expected to start at strong safety. He will add more value in run support than in coverage. Safety Cooper Taylor has played in only two games in his two-year career. He missed all of last season following foot surgery in August. Cooper has plus size and could be another asset in run defense.
The Giants had the fourth-most sacks in 2014 (47), but injuries and their lack of talent in the back seven led to them allowing 8 yards per pass attempt. They ranked 18th in pass defense and gave up 25 TDs. They were the third-worst team against the run.
This defensive line has three talented players who can get after the quarterback. The dearth of quality at the linebacker positions will create plenty of risk against the run and in pass coverage. The Giants have two respectable cornerbacks, so much of the damage against them through the air will be done by tight end and No. 3 wideouts. If the front line doesn't give opposing QBs much time to throw, that will cover up many flaws. New York's defense doesn't have top-10 upside; it will be playable against teams with weak passing attacks.
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