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Can the Upgraded Giants be a Contender in the Crowded NFC East?

“At least we’re not the Jets” is a phrase you might be hearing plenty of around the Meadowlands this season with the Giants preparing for another campaign in the most competitive division in professional football. Their 11-5 record a year ago in Ben McAdoo’s rookie season as an NFL head coach was impressive, but a 38-13 playoff loss to the Packers on the Frozen Tundra in the wild-card round exposed some roster flaws (not to mention character questions), leaving some wondering whether this is the group to relive the glory experienced by the 2011 and 2007 G-Men.

An offseason that saw New York acquire both Brandon Marshall and highly touted rookie tight end Evan Engram, though, has gas-lit the hype in the Big Apple.

More than just names, Marshall and Engram are going to take a lot of pressure off Odell Beckham Jr. and help Eli Manning diversify the Giants’ passing attack a season after OBJ received the second-most targets in the NFL. Will those additions be enough to make this team a contender out of the NFC East?

Let’s see what the odds are saying:

Super Bowl +1800

One factor that’s really working in the Giants’ favor right now is all this talk about the Patriots possibly being the best football team to ever walk on God’s green earth. The last time these kinds of conversations were being had, the Pats were caught with their pants down and the G-Men shocked the world by stopping New England one win short of a perfect season.

While that’s a little less than a tangible betting angle, it’s something that will DEFINITELY be talked about if the Giants make a deep playoff run and as we re-learned in 2011, Eli lives to put Tom Brady in his place – whether he knows it or not.

As far as New York’s SB price is concerned, though, I can’t say I’m head over heels here.

Ben McAdoo is a lovable character and that mustache is oh so appreciated but from my outside perspective, I’m not convinced this guy can win a playoff game, let alone four in a row. The complete lack of a running game in New York means the sophomore boss will have to lean heavily on Eli in crunch time and if last season proved anything, it’s that the 36-year-old wannabe comedian cannot be trusted in the fourth quarter.

He had a hilarious 69.2 quarterback rating in the final frame in 2016, throwing seven interceptions in the fourth when his team was within seven points. Manning used to be known for his clutch performances but it appears his best days with everything on the line may be behind him. Somebody watch Eli’s mail for suspicious packages addressed to his wife.

NFC East +175

If this number is odd to you, please let me know in the comment section — I think oddsmakers at Bovada are out to a liquid lunch on this one. The NFC East is gearing up to be a division where the winner has no more than 10 or 11 wins and in this punter’s opinion, all four teams have the potential to get to that mark.

No team has won consecutive NFC East titles since the Eagles took four straight from 2001 to 2004 in the Andy Reid era and the average win total for the division winner since then is 10.75. That’s pure stinky competition, folks, and there’s no chance in hell that I’ll be wagering my hard-ish earned money on the G-Men to win the division at +175.

The Cowboys are a much more compelling bet at +225 even though they’ll be missing Ezekiel Elliott for six games; that offensive line is special.

Win Total – 9

Exhibit B. If the Giants are the +175 faves to win the division, why for the love of New York’s practice kicking net is their win total set at 9? Garbage.

That said, 9 is an incredibly sharp number. The Giants went 4-2 SU against NFC East opponents in 2016, dropping close contests to the Eagles and Redskins. That record could easily swing to 2-4 or worse in 2017 and because of that, I’ll pass on this prop entirely as I don’t see value on either side.

For the sake of argument, though, consider that the 2016 Giants earned eight of their 11 wins by a margin of seven points or less. Remember what we established about Eli? Not good in the fourth. If New York’s defense regresses at all, the Giants are a six- to eight-win team – at best.

Eli Manning to win Mvp +5000

Had enough contradiction yet? If this team is going anywhere, Eli has to get them there. He’s been surrounded by weapons in the passing game and with more questions than answers at running back, it’s going to be Eli or bust in 2017. Manning has a serious shot to put up video game numbers this year and I’m calling it right now that he breaks 5,000 yards for the first time in his career.

It’s a long shot as Eli’s never had that superstar tendency like his older brother but with one of the most talented and versatile receiving corps in the NFL, success is almost guaranteed – statistically speaking.

2017 New York Giants Futures Odds
MarketOdds
Super Bowl+1800
NFC Championship+900
NFC East+175
Win Total 9

Odds as of August 16 at Bovada

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