NFL 2018 power rankings countdown No. 18: New York Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 17: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants passes the ball in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 17, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 17: Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants passes the ball in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 17, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

A preview of the New York Giants ahead of the 2018 season.

Check back every day for a new 2018 team preview in this year’s NFL power rankings countdown.

Today’s team is the New York Giants.

18. New York Giants

Keegan’s highest rated player: Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver

Biggest strength: Running back

Biggest weakness: Right tackle

Best offseason move: Hiring Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur

Worst offseason move: Not finding a replacement at right tackle

Game to circle on calendar: Week 2, at Dallas

Breakout candidate: Will Hernandez, guard

Key players in contract years: Odell Beckham Jr., Cody Latimer, Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, John Greco, Brett Jones, Kerry Wynn, Ray-Ray Armstrong, Landon Collins, and William Gay

Offensive preview

This Giants’ offense looks rejuvenated. New head coach Pat Shurmur is an upgrade over Ben McAdoo, Saquon Barkley is the best running back prospect of the 21st century, Odell Beckham Jr. is healthy, and the Giants added Nate Solder, who is one of the game’s best offensive tackles. This will be one of the most improved offenses in 2018.

Eli Manning could be poised for a comeback season. A huge reason for this is Barkley. He is the best running back Manning has had and will be a reliable option for him in the receiving game (similar to how Le’Veon Bell is used in Pittsburgh).

The Giants have three reliable receivers for Manning to throw to as well with Evan Engram, Beckham and Sterling Shepard. Don’t be surprised if Manning throws for over 25 touchdowns and 4,000 yards this year.

Barkley will be a difference maker in this backfield from day one. The selection of Barkley last April has already created excitement for the Giants backfield in a way that has not been there since the days of Tiki Barber. This excitement will continue into the regular season, and Barkley has a good shot at 1,000 yards and offensive rookie of the year.

Don’t forget about new acquisition Jonathan Stewart either; he will be a nice change-of-pace back for this offense. Giants GM Dave Gettleman is very familiar with Stewart, and this offense will know how to use him effectively.

The Giants’ receiving corps is obviously strong at the top, but it’s lacking at the lower part of the depth chart. But as long as Beckham is fully recovered from his injury, and Engram/Shepard continue to show progress, this receiving corps should still be productive.

The Giants’ offensive line should be fairly reliable in 2018; the losses of Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg won’t help, but the team added two good offensive linemen in Nate Solder and Will Hernandez. The right side of the offensive line could still be a problem. Don’t expect John Jerry and Ereck Flowers to be the most reliable starters this season.

Defensive preview

The Giants didn’t do quite as much to help their defense as they did their offense this offseason, but this defense looks solid at every position. The free agent signings made in 2016 to improve their defense are a big reason for this; Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins and Oliver Vernon are all still productive players.

The defensive line will be strong in run support with two strong defensive tackles in the middle of the line, Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison. The pass rush will be stout as well with Vernon leading the charge.

Trading for Alec Ogletree was a smart move. He will be in a leadership role from day one. Lorenzo Carter is a reliable addition at linebacker as well. He was an effective player alongside Roquan Smith at Georgia, and he will likely be used in a similar role this season.

This linebacking unit has potential, but it could be a little rocky at the start of the season due to the lack of familiarity with the players.

Darian Thompson, Jenkins and Landon Collins are all established players in this secondary, and all three will be difference makers in 2018. The one starter in this secondary I lack confidence in is Eli Apple. He has already been called a “cancer” by one of his teammates, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN, and recently got in a fight at training camp, as reported by Zach Braziller of the New York Post.

There is a good chance Apple will not be a Giant a year or two from now, but this secondary will be good no matter what.

Coaching staff/front office preview

This will be a strong coaching staff. Pat Shurmur is an excellent hire at head coach, and he will get the most out of this offense. This is a great move, and Shurmur will be a lot closer to Tom Coughlin than Ben McAdoo.

The offensive and defensive coordinators on this team are also excellent minds. Mike Shula was a key part of the Panthers’ Super Bowl appearance in 2015 and is an excellent offensive coordinator.

Defensive coordinator James Bettcher has also done a great job in Arizona and will continue to do so with this team. The Giants have a strong coaching staff, which will be a nice change after the disastrous McAdoo regime.

Dave Gettleman will be a great general manager for this Giants team. One underrated factor with the Gettleman hiring is the fact he had already spent a ton of time in the Giants organization before he became a general manager in Carolina.

This is a talented coaching staff/front office that will turn this team around.

Overall outlook for 2018

There are a lot of reasons to be confident with this team moving forward, but they are still at least a year or two away from being a Super Bowl contender again.

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Previous teams:

19. San Francisco 49ers
20. Indianapolis Colts
21. Detroit Lions
22. Arizona Cardinals
23. Chicago Bears
24. Oakland Raiders
25. Baltimore Ravens
26. Washington Redskins
27. Cleveland Browns
28. Buffalo Bills
29. New York Jets
30. Cincinnati Bengals
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers