Detroit Lions 2016 Opponent Preview: New York Giants

Jun 6, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 6, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

Will the Detroit Lions be playing for position in the playoffs or the draft when their week 15 road game against the New York Giants arrives?

When the Detroit Lions hit the road to take on the New York Giants in week 15, both teams could be looking to make a playoff push or both teams could be already looking ahead to free agency and the draft.

To check in on the New York Giants, I got together with Curt Macysyn of GMEN HQ. My questions followed by his answers are below.

1. How would you assess the team’s offseason? Did they do what they needed to do through the draft and free agency?

More from Detroit Lions

After four non-playoff years, the roster needed an upgrade, especially defensively, and it certainly got one with the additions of free agents Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins. For good measure, the Giants re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul and middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, but did let steady defenders Robert Ayers and Prince Amukamara go in free agency.

The question now is whether or not Vernon (5 years, $85 million/$40 mil guaranteed) and Jenkins (5 years, $62.5 million/$10 million guaranteed), in particular, are worth the money that general manager Jerry Reese spent on them. Some experts thought that the team reached on cornerback Eli Apple in the first round, especially if the rookie will play slot corner, but the initial reports on him have been good.

Second round selection wideout Sterling Shepard has been impressive also, gives Eli Manning another weapon, and is a hedge against Victor Cruz’s health woes. The Giants’ brass is high on linebacker BJ Goodson, but previously they were high on Clint Sintim, Phillip Dillard and Greg Jones as well. Time will tell if these move work out for Big Blue.

2. Which rookie are you most excited to see play in 2016 and why?

Second round draft pick, wide receiver Sterling Shepard was an accomplished receiver (86 receptions, 11 TDs in 2015) at Oklahoma, and he could be a plug in and play piece for the Giants offense. Manning likes to use his slot receiver in third down situations, and Shepard’s presence should take some pressure off of Odell Beckham. With the presence of OBJ, Shepard will see a lot of single coverage.

More from Detroit Jock City

3. What is the biggest question that still needs to be answered heading into training camp?

Outside of the expectations of the free agent acquisitions, Reese stayed the course on the right side of the offensive line with guard John Jerry and tackle Marshall Newhouse. Reese and company also released Geoff Schwartz after two injury-prone seasons. Cutting Schwartz may bite the Giants if Jerry (56.5 Pro Football Focus grade) and Newhouse (34.6 PFF grade) do not improve. G-Men have kicked the tires on Jake Long and Eugene Monroe, but want to keep Ereck Flowers, last year’s number one draft pick, at left tackle.

4. What are your expectations for the Giants in 2016?

Once again the NFC east is in flux, so predicting the top to bottom remains anyone’s guess. If the right side of the offensive line is serviceable, then the Giants will put up points in bunches. But will the free agents represent an improvement on defense? If so, a three or four game improvement is not out of the question, even with a rookie head coach in Ben McAdoo. Gun to my head right now, I say 9-7 on the season, but a lot can change with this team, especially if they stay healthy.

5. Right here, right now, are you marking down the game against the Lions as a win, loss or toss-up for the Giants?

The game against the Lions is arguably the easiest non-division home game on the schedule. If the G-Men have any thoughts of making the playoffs, then this is an absolutely must game for the team.

Next: Checking in on the New Orleans Saints

For more on the New York Giants, check out GMEN HQ.