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June 14, 2016

10 reasons the Giants will be a dumpster fire this season

Eagles NFL
061316EliManning Seth Wenig/AP

Eli, what do you think of your team's rushing attack, run defense, pass defense, pass rush, offensive line, and coaching staff? Be honest.

This week, all week long, we're taking a brutal look at each of the teams in the NFC East, in detail. The first target was the last place 4-12 Dallas Cowboys

Today, we'll pick apart the New York Giants. To note, we will not be talking about the positives of any of the Eagles' NFC East rivals, because, well, that's no fun. This will be 100 percent vitriolic. And yes, we'll roast the Eagles, too.

1) What reason have the Giants given anyone to think they'll be good?

Over the last three seasons, the Giants have won a grand total of 19 games. Only seven teams in the NFL have won fewer games over that span.

Team 2013 2014 2015 TOTAL 
 Broncos13 12 12 37 
 Patriots12 12 12 36 
 Seahawks13 12 10 35 
 Panthers12 15 34 
 Cardinals10 11 13 34 
 Bengals11 10 12 33 
 Chiefs11 11 31 
 Packers12 10 30 
 Colts11 11 30 
 Steelers11 10 29 
 Eagles10 10 27 
 Saints11 25 
 49ers12 25 
 Lions11 25 
 Cowboys12 24 
 Vikings11 23 
 Ravens10 23 
 Jets10 22 

The Giants are also one of only nine teams with a negative point differential in each of the last three years:

 Team2013 2014 2015 TOTAL 
 Seahawks186 140 146 472 
 Patriots106 155 150 411 
 Broncos207 128 59 394 
 Chiefs125 72 118 315 
 Bengals125 21 140 286 
 Panthers125 -35 192 282 
 Cardinals55 11 176 242 
 Steelers68 104 181 
 Packers-11 138 45 172 
 Eagles60 74 -53 81 
 Colts55 89 -75 69 
 Bills-49 54 20 25 
 Cowboys115 -99 23 
 Saints110 -23 -68 19 
 Lions19 39 -42 16 
 Ravens-32 107 -73 
 Chargers48 -78 -30 
 Vikings-89 -18 63 -44 
 49ers134 -34 -149 -49 
 Texans-152 65 26 -61 
 Dolphins-18 15 -79 -82 
 Rams-16 -30 -50 -96 
 Giants-89 -20 -22 -131 
 Falcons-90 -36 -6 -132 
 Jets-97 -118 73 -142 
 Bears-33 -123 -62 -218 
 Redskins-144 -137 -272 
 Browns-98 -38 -154 -290 
 Buccaneers-101 -133 -75 -309 
 Titans-19 -184 -124 -327 
 Raiders-131 -199 -40 -370 
 Jaguars-202 -163 -72 -437 

For some reason, there is optimism surrounding this team. Why? Because they overpaid a few guys in free agency? I don't get it.

2) The Giants can't run the ball

Here are the Giants' rushing totals over the last three years:

 YearAttempts Yards YPC 
 2013381 1332 3.50 
 2014449 1603 3.57 
 2015403 1609 3.99 
 TOTAL1233 4544 3.69 

Is it bad if you can't break four yards per carry in three consecutive years? Asking for a friend.

Here's the Giants' run game in gif form:

Of course, we'd be unfair to the Giants' running backs if we put the blame solely on them for the Giants' rushing woes. The RG-RT tandem of John Jerry and Marshall Newhouse are in the "worst RG-RT combo in the NFL" conversation, if anyone is actually having that conversation somewhere.

Also, for the sake of piling on, Ereck Flowers is a RT playing LT.

3) The Giants can't stop the run either.

With four games remaining last season, the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles were all 5-7. The Giants, obviously, were very much in the hunt in the atrocious NFC East. And then their run defense failed them.

 OpponentRush Yards YPC TD 
 Dolphins22 128 5.8 
 Panthers29 171 5.9 
 Vikings40 218 5.4 
 Eagles26 120 4.6 
 TOTAL117 637 5.4 

In 2015, the Giants allowed 4.4 yards per carry, which was 24th in the NFL. In 2014, they allowed 4.9 yards per carry, which was dead last. In other words, the Giants lose in the trenches at the point of attack both on offense and defense, which might help explain why they're among the bottom quarter of the league in wins the last three years.

Here's the Giants' run defense in gif form:

4) The Giants are even worse at stopping the pass than they are at stopping the run.

Here is where the Giants ranked in various pass defense stats in 2015:

 2015 Giants defenseStat Rank 
 Pass yards allowed/game298.9 32 
 Yards per pass attempt7.7 25 
 Pass TDs allowed31 T-25 
 Opponent completion percentage66.3% 27 
 Passing first downs allowed236 31 
 Percentage of passes resulting in first down37.0% 27 
 Receptions of 20+ yards allowed62 30 
 Sacks23 30 
 Opposing QB rating95.9 21 

So the Giants are awful at stopping the run AND the pass? That leads us to...

5) Somehow, Steve Spagnuolo is still a defensive coordinator in the NFL.

After the Giants hired Spagnuolo to be their defensive coordinator in 2007, they promptly won the Super Bowl with the help of a defensive front that included Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. The Giants defense followed up its Super Bowl year with another strong season in 2008 and Spagnuolo was snapped up by the Rams to be their head coach.

Since then, Spagnuolo's defenses have been brutally bad. Here is where they have ranked in his stops as a defensive coordinator or head coach: 

 Steve SpagnuoloOverall Run Pass Points 
 2007 Giants (DC)11 17 
 2008 Giants (DC)
 2009 Rams (HC)29 27 25 31 
 2010 Rams (HC)19 17 19 12 
 2011 Rams (HC)22 31 26 
 2012 Saints (DC)32 32 31 31 
 2015 Giants (DC)32 24 32 30 

As the chart above shows, Spagnuolo's defenses have finished dead last in the NFL in each of his last two seasons as a defensive coordinator. In fact, the 2012 Saints and 2015 Giants defenses rank worst and third-worst respectively in NFL history for yards allowed in a season.

Year Yards allowed 
 2012 Saints7042 
 1981 Colts6793 
 2015 Giants6725 

And yet, Spags was disappointed that he wasn't named the Giants' head coach this offseason. WHAT?!?

Obviously, it's not just scheme that led to Spagnuolo's atrocious defenses. There have to be bad players contributing to that mess. But consider this -- Spagnuolo's 2012 Saints, which, again, were the worst defense in NFL history, improved to fourth in the NFL the next season under the awful Rob Ryan.

Here's what I call Rob Ryan math:

6) The Giants' safeties have extreme inexperience.

A big part of the Giants' troubles in the passing game has been the play of their safeties. Second year player Landon Collins is good in run support, but struggles in coverage, as was expected when he was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Opposite Collins, the starter will be one of the following warm bodies -- Cooper Taylor, Darian Thompson, Mykkele Thompson, or Nat Berhe. 

The number of career starts for all of those guys? 0.

In fact, barring a signing, or converting a cornerback to play safety, whoever starts opposite Collins will have played no more than 56 career snaps, or less than a typical full game. Collins aside, here are all the players listed as safeties on the Giants' roster, and their career snap totals:

Giants safeties Career snaps played 
 Cooper Taylor56 
Nat Berhe 32 
 Darian Thompson
 Mykkele Thompson
 Bennett Jackson
 Justin Currie
 Andrew Adams

6a) The Giants' linebackers stink.

Just a yearly reminder.

7) The Giants' pass rush stunk in 2015.

The other major reason for the Giants' terrible pass defense was their pass rush. The Giants faced the fourth-most pass attempts in the NFL last season, and they only registered 23 sacks, which was good for 30th in the NFL.

Here's a gif of the Giants' woeful pass rush from 2014, when Jason Pierre-Paul still had two hands:

There was a lot of that going on in 2015 as well.

As a result, the Giants panicked in free agency, when they grossly overpaid a trio of defensive linemen.

Olivier Vernon, DE: Vernon was a good pass rusher in Miami, but certainly not among the best in the game. Over his four-year career, he has averaged just over seven sacks and one forced fumble per season

 Olivier VernonTackles Sacks FF FR 
 201232 3.5 
 201357 11.5 
 201446 6.5 
 201561 7.5 
 64 games196 29 0 

According to, he is now the highest paid 4-3 DE in the NFL, on a five-year deal worth $85 million. His cap numbers the next five years will be $13mm, $16mm, $17mm, $19.5mm, and $19.5mm. Panic move, plain and simple.

Damon Harrison, NT: Harrison is a massive 6'4, 350-pound run stuffer. He is a not a threat to get after the quarterback on passing downs, and thus a rotational player, albeit a very effective one at what he does. Harrison is now absurdly rich after signing a five-year, $46.2 million deal. That makes him the sixth-highest paid 4-3 DT in a league full of 4-3 DT impact players who can play the run AND get after the quarterback. Harrison does not do the latter.

Jason Pierre-Paul, DE: And finally, the Giants signed JPP to a one-year deal worth $10 million. Pierre-Paul played in eight games last year and had one sack. It is also worth noting once again that Pierre-Paul only has one hand.

Add it all up, and the Giants handed out contracts worth a total of $141.2 million to three defensive linemen who combined for nine sacks last season. And five hands.

Meanwhile, they lost two-handed defensive lineman Robert Ayers, who led the Giants with 9.5 sacks a year ago, or 41.3 percent of the Giants' sacks.

8) Odell Beckham Jr. is awesome, but he's all the Giants have in the passing game

If you take Odell Beckham Jr. out of the equation, the Giants don't have anyone on their roster who had at least 500 receiving yards a year ago. Victor Cruz, of course, missed the entire season, although it's not as if he's anything close to the player he used to be anyway.

Cruz was amazing in his breakout season in 2011, but as his career has continued, his numbers have declined every season:

Year (Games) Rec Yards YPC 1st downs TD 
 2011 (16)82 1536 18.7 59 
 2012 (16)86 1092 12.7 52 10 
 2013 (14)73 998 13.7 45 
 2014 (6)23 337 14.7 13 
 2015 (0)0.0 

Some doubt that Cruz will even be ready to play when the season begins this year.

Meanwhile, the Giants drafted Sterling Shepard in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. While I liked Shepard as a prospect and think the Giants got good value with him in the second round, it's more likely than not that he will not make a splash his rookie season.

Since 2000, there were 69 receivers drafted in the second round. Their average receiving yardage totals in their rookie seasons? 366.

Opposing defenses are going to load up on OBJ and dare the Giants to beat them with someone else. I'm not sure they have a guy who can consistently make them pay.

9) The Giants were +7 in turnover differential, and still only won 6 games

The following is a list of teams that were at least +7 in turnover differential last season, and their records:

 TeamTurnover differential Record 
 Panthers+20 15-1 
 Chiefs+14 11-5 
 Bengals+11 12-4 
 Cardinals+9 13-3 
 Giants+7 6-10 
 Seahawks+7 10-6 
 Patriots+7 12-4 

If you omit the Giants, the teams that had a turnover differential of at least +7 had a combined record of 73-23 (.760).

The 2015 Giants were +43 in points off of turnovers, which was fifth in the NFL. They're like that spoiled kid that has every opportunity but ends up living at home with mom and dad until they're 40.

In 2013 and 2014, the Giants were a combined -17. It's a fairly decent bet they won't be +7 again in 2016.

10) Eli was good, and the Giants still can't win.

Sticking with the same theme as the one presented in point No. 9, over the last two seasons, Eli Manning had the best and fourth-best seasons of his career, in terms of QB rating. Over those two seasons, the Giants were still only 12-20. How do you feel about the rest of your roster, Eli?

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski