New York Giants, one of the most popular NFL franchises in Canada today, have had just one winning season in their last eight. The four-time Super Bowl winners will be hoping they can have a much better campaign in 2021, and there are reasons to believe that may be the case.
Despite finishing with a record of 6-10 in 2020, the Giants finished second in their division behind Washington Football Team. They got off to a terrible start last year, losing their opening five matches. Their best form came in the middle of the season as they won four straight games from week nine through to week 13, including an impressive success over the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field back in December.
Preparations are already underway for the new season in 2021. As of the 16th of April, the Giants were +6600 in the football odds for Super Bowl LVI. The last time they lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy was in 2008, so a win would be most welcome.
Return Of Saquon Barkley
Last season was always going to be an uphill task for the Giants once they lost running back Saquon Barkley for the campaign in a 17-13 defeat to the Chicago Bears in week two. A torn ACL meant he could play no further part in 2020.
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Barkley, who was drafted in the first round by New York in 2018 with the second overall pick, made a fantastic start to his NFL career in his rookie season. He rushed for 1,307 yards and had 11 touchdowns. Those stats helped him pick up the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
The Giants offence will look so much better in 2021 with Barkley in the backfield. Expect to see the 24-year-old play with a point to prove. He will want to show he remains one of the best RBs in the NFL.
A Lot Of Confidence In Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones goes into his third season in the NFL this year and it is clear that the Giants continue to have a lot of confidence in the quarterback. Many franchises will be looking for their future QB in the upcoming NFL Draft, not having to worry about that position, is a big plus for head coach Joe Judge.
What is going to be important this year is to give Jones much more help on the offence. He will need much better options at wide receiver before he can improve on his 2,943 passion yards from 2020.
The Giants will have six picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, including the 11th overall. There are calls for the franchise to use that selection on one of the leading wide receivers on the board. Normally, players from that position are selected much later, however, given how desperate they are for quality in the area, the Giants may have to act sooner.
Jones will have the option to throw to Kenny Gollady this year. The Giants signed the experienced WR after he was released from Detroit. In 2019, the former Pro-Bowler caught for 1,190 receiving yards. Unfortunately, he missed the majority of last season for the Lions.
NFC Remains Wide Open
The Giants are fortunate they are in a sports division that has not been dominated by any team over the last few decades. There has been no repeat winner of the NFC East since the Philadelphia Eagles managed to defend their title in 2009.
Dallas Cowboys have opened up as the favourites in the betting for the NFC title in 2021. Dak Prescott has now signed a new contract with the Cowboys and will be returning following an injury in 2020.
Prior to his season-ending injury, Prescott was on course to shatter all kinds of passing records in the league. The Cowboys fell away at the back end of last year but with a roster that has so much talent on the offense, they will be expected to be strong challengers this season.
Defending champions Washington have released QB Alex Smith so are going in a different direction in 2021 with either Kyle Allen or Ryan Fitzpatrick, while Philadelphia have now moved on from former first-round pick Carson Wentz. The Eagles recruited Joe Flacco to fight for the starting position along with Jalen Hurts.
New York will be hoping not only to win the division but also have a strong run in the playoffs. They will learn who they will open up against in September when the fixtures for the new season are released in May.