The New York Giants are coming off two consecutive losing seasons, and haven’t been to the postseason in three seasons.
For a franchise that has won two Super Bowls in the past eight seasons, that’s somewhat remarkable. But it goes to show the inconsistency the franchise has had over the past decade.
So is this a “win or else” season for the Giants?
“You can make that statement every year, this is the NFL,” Giants president and CEO John Mara told reporters this week. “People have expectations, our fans have expectations, and I have expectations. We’ve been out of the playoffs three years in a row, and it’s time to put a stop to it.”
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It would seem that the Giants are facing an uphill battle to do just that, especially in the stout NFC East. The Cowboys are going into this season with hopes of ending a 20-year championship drought, and the Eagles spent the off-season readjusting their offense by adding quarterback Sam Bradford and running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews.
For the Giants, though, they feel they have a high-powered offense behind Eli Manning, who threw for more than 4,000 yards last season. Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. appears to be a star in the making, and Victor Cruz’s return from a knee injury should be a boost.
The problems have been on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants ranked 29th in total defense last year, but tried to address those needs this off-season. They traded up to get hard-hitting safety Landon Collins in the second round of this year’s draft, and added linebacker J.T. Thomas III in free agency.
They also bolstered the special teams with the addition of Dwayne Harris, who spent the first four years of his career with the Cowboys.
Maybe with those additions the Giants return to contender status. However, it’s hard to see that unfolding at this point.
The Cowboys didn’t have to face Victor Cruz last season, as the Giants’ star receiver tore his patellar tendon in Week 6. They might avoid him in this year’s season opener, too.
Cruz recently suffered a calf injury and his status is to be determined.
“I don’t know anything,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “When he practices, I’ll let you know.”
▪ Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is not expected to play against the Cowboys, as he hasn’t signed his franchise tag and his injured right hand is reportedly not 100 percent yet.
▪ The Giants were 3-5 on the road last season, including a loss at the Cowboys on Oct. 19.
▪ Defensive end Damontre Moore, a Texas A&M product, recorded his third career sack on Tony Romo in last November’s contest.
He said it
“[Rookie offensive tackle Ereck Flowers] is probably not going to have experienced a place as loud and as electric as Dallas Cowboys Stadium. That stadium was insane [on opening night two years ago]. That 100,000 people with the roof closed, it’s definitely a loud atmosphere, so that’s going to be a lot right in the beginning. Because in Dallas, they put on a show that first game. They try to put like fireworks and cheerleaders running around. You have to make sure you lock it in, so that’s something I’m going to let him know because I went through the exact same thing.” — Guard Justin Pugh, who made his pro debut two years ago at AT&T Stadium
4 4,000-yard passing seasons for Eli Manning in his career, including last season with 4,410. Manning also reached the 4,000-yard mark in consecutive seasons from 2009-11.