Giants (0-0) Broncos
season the Giants finished up with a 6-10 record, which landed them second in
the NFC East.
The Broncos finished last in the AFC West with a 5-11 record.
Broncos started off this preseason with a 33-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings,
went 30-3 against the Seattle Seahawks, and wrapped things up with a 17-12 victory
over the Los Angeles Rams. Scoring points will be a focus as the Broncos last
season finished 28th in the league, averaging 20.2 points a game, still a modest
improvement over 17.6 the year before.
Head coach Vic Fangio is 12-20 in his
two years with this team. The Broncos opened 0-4 in 2019, and 0-3 in 2020. Fangio
would like to get the team off to a better start this go round. The last time
the Broncos had a winning season was back in 2016 when they went 9-7. In the four
years since then, they've come up with just 5,6,7,and 5 wins.
Former Giants head coach Pat Shurmur was brought in to be the offensive coordinator
last season. In 2020, as it was the year earlier, they were better at rushing
the ball than passing with both areas showing improvements. They'd like to see
Shurmur develop Drew Lock, a quarterback they felt was a steal in the second round
of the 2018 draft. Lock was given a shot in 2019 when the Broncos were 3-8, and
with him, they won 4 of their last 5 games. However, Lock's performance in 2020
wasn't inspiring. He completed just 57.3% of his passes, throwing 16 touchdowns
and 15 interceptions. In the offseason, the Broncos traded for Teddy Bridgewater
- 69.1% completions, 15 TDs and 11 Ints in 2020.
Both quarterbacks were given
the opportunity to be the starter. Bridgewater looked real good in his preseason
play, and he will be the starter for this game with the Giants. The top receiver
last year was tight end Noah Fant. Rookie Jerry Jeudy was next, and their top
receiver from 2019, Courtland Sutton is returning after missing mostly all of
last year. Add Tim Patrick and KJ Hamler,
and the Broncos have all they need for a good passing game, of course dependent
on the quarterback.
Denver has been a run first offense, and they traded up
in the second round to get running back Javonte Williams (35th pick), and expect
a lot from him as he moves through his rookie year. Williams will be working with
Melvin Gordon, who was the team's leading rusher in 2020. Gordon, in his first
year with this team, had 10 touchdowns, 9 rushing, 1 receiving. He has now run
for 8 or more touchdowns in each of the five seasons since his rookie year.
Broncos defense plays in a division which puts them up against three of the top
tier NFL offensive teams, the Chargers, the Raiders and most notably, the Chiefs.
There will be six important games where opposing quarterbacks last season led
their teams to be ranked 1st in passing -
Chiefs Patrick Mahomes, 6th - Chargers Justin Hebert, and 7th - Raiders Derek
Carr. The Broncos lost five of their six division games last year.
help that the team was hit with a number of injuries, especially to their secondary.
This offseason they added cornerback Kyle Fuller, who worked with head coach Vic
Fangio when he was the defensive coordinator for Chicago. Fuller had his best
season playing for him. Veteran Ronald Darby was also signed. The Giants saw him
in the last two games they played with Washington. Cornerback Patrick Surtain
was the ninth pick overall in the draft, going to the Broncos.
rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are going to be difficult for the Giants
to deal with, especially with their shaky offensive line. Miller, who was named
the Super Bowl 50 MVP, missed all of last season due to an ankle injury that kept
him out. Chubb was the Broncos first-round pick in 2018 (No. 5 overall). The talented
linebacker missed some practice this week dealing with an ankle injury. It was
the same ankle that he had surgery on in May, so he may be limited in this game.
with the Broncos, getting points up on the board has been a big issue for the
Giants. Last season they finished next to last in scoring, averaging just 17.5
points a game. The Giants preseason games were a 12-7 loss to the Jets, a 17-3
loss to the Browns, and finally, with Daniel Jones playing, more points scored,
but still a 22-20 loss to the Patriots. The Giants 6-10 record last year was an
improvement over each of the three years before that (3, 5, and 4 wins), but that
isn't saying much.
General manager Dave Gettleman has been running things
for the last three years, and ownership is looking for at least, a winning season.
Gettleman picked Joe Judge to be the head coach last year, and though the Giants
started off 0-5, Judge led them to a 6-10 record. The plan this year is to get
the offense clicking as well as his defense has shown to be. Gettleman has spent
the money on free agents to provide Judge with all he needs.
Jason Garrett is in his second year
as the Giants offensive coordinator. As head coach with the Cowboys, Garrett helped
develop quarterbacks Tony Romo and Dak Prescott. He needs to do the same with
Daniel Jones, who as a rookie, led the league in fumbles with 18. Jones tied for
the lead last year with 11 fumbles. Over his two year career, 27 games - 26 starts,
Jones has 39 turnovers with 22 interceptions and 17 lost fumbles. This year the
Giants have provided Jones with more tools to work with cutting the pressure to
make something out of nothing, which leads to those kinds of mistakes.
improved offensive line has been promised, and there's been last minute changes.
With Golden Tate gone, Sterling Shepard will be back in the slot where he is most
effective. Jones won't have just Darius Slayton to rely on for big plays now that
the Giants added Kenny Golladay. The Giants had a total of only 12 receiving touchdowns
in 2020. Golladay caught a league high 11 in 2019 with Detroit. The The 6-foot-4
receiver played in only five games last year due to injuries. The Giants selected
Kadarius Toney, a versatile wide receiver with their first pick in the draft.
The Giants also signed tight end Kyle Rudolph who knows how to work the red
zone area and come up with touchdowns. He'll see more action this Sunday as Evan
Engram is out with a left calf injury. Running back Saquon Barkley is coming off
a serious knee injury and may be limited in this game, but veteran Devontae Booker
will be there to spell him. Booker is also a good blocker on the line for passing
Patrick Graham is the defensive
coordinator. His defense was ranked 9th overall in points, allowing 22.3 points
a game. That was nearly a 6 point improvement from the year before he took over.
The Giants were happy that Graham signed an extension with the Giants to return,
as opposed to taking on a role of head coach elsewhere. Overall the
Giants offense averaged 17.5 points per game, scoring 23 points or less in 14
games last season. The offense converted less than 37 percent of their third downs,
and had 22 turnovers in 2020, putting the defense in bad situations numerous times.
The defense had to work hard to keep opponents from scoring, and five of the Giants
total of six wins was by 5 points or less.
Hopefully the offseason improvements
on the offensive side of the ball will click in fast, but the Giants aren't relying
solely on that. The cornerback spot opposite James Bradberry was a problem and
they tried various players without much success. They've added a former first
round pick from the Titans, Adoree Jackson, who is coming off an injury shortened
2020 season. They also selected two cornerbacks in the draft. The safety position
is secure with Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, and Xavier McKinney.
likely won't be testing the secondary, as they rely heavily on their running game,
and Teddy Bridgewater will be playing in his first game with his group of receivers.
The Giants run defense was good last year, tied for 10th, and overall, the main
players are in their second year playing along with each other under defensive
coordinator Graham's schemes.
The Giants have an opportunity to get off to
a fast start this season. None of the teams they face in the first three games
finished last season with a winning record. Sandwiched between two home games
with Denver and Atlanta is a short road trip to Washington. The Giants have a
chance to set themselves, and see what they are all about before facing a formidable
team like the Saints in New Orleans.
Opportunity knocks as well for Denver.
Their first three opponents also had losing records over the season. They'll see
back to back road trips with the Giants and Jaguars, followed by a home game against
the Jets. Then it's a big step up, traveling to Baltimore to face off with the
During the first three games, each of these teams has an opportunity
to show they have turned the corner. Then when they next take the field, they
could be standing there with confidence and a winning record up against their
toughest opponent to date. It's all there for both the Giants and Broncos, and
one of these teams on Sunday will get off to a better start for a change.
Thursday at 8:20pm Cowboys (0-0)
at Buccaneers (0-0).
Sunday at 1:00pm Eagles (0-0) at Falcons (0-0).
at 1:00pm Chargers (0-0) at Washington (0-0).
Sunday at 4:25pm Broncos (0-0)
at Giants (0-0).
No NFC East teams are favored to win in these games.
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will play in front of a home crowd for the first time since Dec. 29, 2019.
have won a season opening game just once since 2011.
have won more than 6 games only once in their last seven seasons.
Giants have made it to the playoffs only once in the last nine years.
SEPT 16 Giants at Washington
26 Falcons at Giants