This is a difficult week in what has been a difficult season for New York Giants fans, having to watch their division rival and most-hated foe, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
But the Giants are a team closer to returning to the Super Bowl than it is a team ready to select a high draft pick again.
There is no reason to doubt that this Giants team can rebound relatively easily, and that they can be a team that makes the playoffs sooner rather than later. This past season’s 3-13 record — the most losses in franchise history — is an anomaly, an outlier. The talent level on this roster is too much to ignore.
With a fresh slate in 2018, this team can get back to winning games with a roster that has a bevy of veteran talent and some interesting prospects from the last two draft classes. Not to mention that the hires at head coach and general manager were the right ones to turn around things in a hurry.
This team is more like the 11-5 Giants version that made the playoffs in 2016, despite what some critics may say. One look at this roster and it is far more like a playoff team than the Cleveland Browns, who are picking one selection ahead of them in April’s NFL Draft.
That is not to say that the Giants are playoff-bound in 2018. They are, however, more likely to return to the postseason in 2018 than hold up the rest of the NFC as they did this past season.
In the season’s opening five games, the Giants had three losses by a combined 10 points. This was a team that was supposed to be back in the playoffs instead on the wrong side of some late-game meltdowns and mistakes. Had those games gone differently, the Giants would not have sunk into such a downward spiral.
That they rebounded in their final three games of the season under interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo, in particular their Week 17 win over the Washington Redskins, points not to a lack of talent but instead to a team that wasn’t well-coached early on.
As they showed under Spagnuolo, and will have the chance now under new head coach Pat Shurmur, the Giants are fully capable of rebounding.
Yes, they need to make some decisions this offseason as to the long-term status of safety Landon Collins and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., but the components are in place. With some changes, the Giants should be able to get back to being a similar unit that was the league’s second-best scoring defense in 2016. And quarterback Eli Manning is just two years removed from his last Pro Bowl appearance.
With Shurmur signaling a commitment to rebuilding the offensive line, there is no reason to believe that Manning can’t find success throwing to Beckham and Sterling Shepard. There is hope.
The Giants certainly aren’t ready to contend for a Super Bowl. Even a drastic overhaul would still likely put them a year or two away from taking the several steps needed to return back to the biggest of games. But with a high draft pick and an elite quarterback — not to mention stars such as Collins and Beckham — the Giants are closer to Super days again than the nightmare that was this 2017 season.