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New York Giants season preview: Rise and fall with Eli Manning

Before the Eagles set off on what is sure to be a 100-year-dynasty of NFC East Championships, we’ll take a look at each of their divisional rivals and what they’ve got that could potentially derail the Birds seemingly surefire destiny.

Today we’ll cover the New York Giants, a team that is so smug in its own persona, they must have forgotten they share a stadium in North Jersey with the Jets.

New York Giants

What Happened Last Season: For the first time since 2011, the New York Giants made it to the playoffs, and the entire season felt like some terrible time warp where this maddeningly inconsistent team was gonna find a way to go from the Wild Card to the Super Bowl like an Amish family pulling their cart through a toll via EZ-Pass. Seriously, rooting against the Giants last year was like viewing an early season of "Game of Thrones." No matter how crazy things got, you knew deep down it was a foregone conclusion your favorite characters were going to be violently murdered before your eyes. Oh Oberyn, you were doomed before we met you.

Thankfully, for the first time since Asante Samuel wore midnight green, the Giants lost a playoff game they were supposed to lose, getting absolutely creamed by the Green Bay Packers 31-13. Man, do I love the Green Bay Packers. Reggie White may have been onto something.

The highlight of Big Blue’s season, both on and off the field, was superstar and sticky-glove case study Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ is admittedly awesome at football, but he had a terrible year in PR. It started with a weird thing between him and the kicking net. It ended with an ill-advised boat trip before a playoff game (or as we use to call it in the 2000’s, “a Romo getaway”). 

Overall, it was a strong first season for rookie coach Ben McAdoo. Unfortunately, that strong first season was overshadowed by a disappointing playoff appearance. It was like making great time on a road trip, only to have your car explode when you pulled it into the garage. That’s why John Mara always buys American.

What About The Offseason?

Did the Giants have an offseason? After spending big last summer, the only notable acquisition this year was 33-year-old Brandon Marshall, who could prove the perfect compliment to Beckham, assuming they’re both healthy (and as of this writing, neither of them are). Marshall is replacing Victor Cruz, who, like a fart in the night, was a tremendous annoyance that will quickly be forgotten and likely replaced by something stinkier.

The Giants offseason was most notable for what they didn’t do; sign Colin Kaepernick. Owner John Mara, who inherited all his money, said it was because fans wrote him a bunch of letters, so I guess it’s our fault for not putting pen to paper when the G-Men decided to keep domestic abuser Josh Brown on the roster a year ago. Seriously, a kicker!? You stick your team’s reputation on the line for a stinkin’ kicker? Even Howie Roseman’s thinking ‘Jeez dude, that’s a bad look.’

Mara is nearly as hypocritical as the New York media, which roasts Beckham for his little boat trip but pulls its punches against Eli, who may-or-may-not have been the center of a Super Bowl memorabilia fraud case. It doesn’t take a masters class in civil justice to figure out what’s going on here, in either case.

What’ll Happen This Season (Best Case Scenario): Landon Collins becomes the Defensive Player of the Year, and the addition of Marshall helps the 36-year-old Lesser-Manning take a step forward in the McAdoo Offensive… which, as far as I can tell, consists solely of “Beckham runs as far as he can and Eli tries to overthrow him.” Brilliant stuff, Ben. I can’t wait till the 30-for-30 comes out. The Giants offensive gameplan typically has the creativity of a response from Siri.

What’ll Happen This Season (Worst Case Scenario): Eli has one-too-many of his patented half-dozen turnover performances, Beckham acts in a fashion that has the MSM label him a “distraction,” and the entire season goes down the tubes, putting McAdoo on the hot seat and Eli Retirement Threat Levels at MAGENTA. Worth noting; the Giants spent a third round pick on a quarterback this April, which is about as passive-aggressive as things get in this business. Somewhere in Arizona, Donovan McNabb is mumbling “Kevin Kolb” over and over again as he waits for his Uber. Eli will know his pain.

Conclusion: Ever since Jerome McDougle took eight years off his life in his first professional game, Eli Manning has been equally capable of single-handedly beating the most impressive of opponents… or losing to a squad with the talent level of a decapitated weasel. You do not get to play against Eli Manning. Only Eli Manning plays against Eli Manning. No stat line of his will ever surprise me, and expecting any of that to change in his 14th professional season is as probable as John Mara showing up to Week 1 in a “Black Lives Matter” hoodie.

The Giants will be as good as Eli allows them. They’ll be good enough to beat anybody, but probably won’t.

Previously:

Washington Redskins preview: Dan Snyder's undrainable swamp

Dallas Cowboys preview: some new faces, same choking hazards