Following the Giants' slew of offseason upgrades in free agency and the NFL Draft, fans are hopeful that the commitment to new offensive weapons and bolstering on an already-good defense will propel Big Blue into the playoff conversation.
How can the Giants ultimately fulfill their goal of making the playoffs for the first time since 2016? In an in-depth piece following the NFL Draft, The Athletic's Mike Sando talked to NFL executives to get their take on each team heading into the season following their rookie class additions.
For the Giants, one NFL executive thinks "they'll be in the mix" if they can do one thing.
"The Giants are under the radar a little bit," the exec said. "The back (Saquon Barkley) is coming back, they got Kenny Golladay, the defense is already good. If they can score 23 points per game, they’ll be in the mix.”
For today's NFL, 23 points per game is actually common. But with the Giants averaging 17.5 points per game last season under Jason Garrett's first year in the offense, it's definitely easier said than done.
But there's a reason the Giants kept Garrett on despite the outcry of fans wanting another switch at offensive coordinator. No one wanted Daniel Jones to head into Year 3 with his third offense already in his early career. The Giants believed they saw good in Garrett and Jones last season despite the results, and the additions to the offense with Golladay, rookie Kadarius Toney and Kyle Rudolph -- to go along with Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram -- makes the team confident things will be different this season.
Now, it's no secret the Giants weren't happy that DeVonta Smith became an Eagle after their draft night jump to No. 10 with the Dallas Cowboys. But once Gettleman traded down and got another first-round pick from the Chicago Bears for next year's draft, another NFL exec believes the Giants did good in setting themselves up for the future, too.
“They got a one and they got Toney, that is fine,” the exec said. “Those two will track. Would you rather have Toney and next year’s one or DeVonta Smith? Time will tell on that.”
Time certainly will tell immediately when Smith will be facing the Giants twice a season on the other sideline. But either way, there is pressure on this group to get the job done this year in Joe Judge's second season. And while the defense seems to be locked in and building off what they did in 2020, the offense wants to erase their 31st offense in the league and become a different unit this time around -- a formidable one.
So, to be in that mix, it's up to Garrett and Jones to make the Giants a force on both sides of the ball. That's truly the major key for New York in 2021.