What better way is there to break down the highly anticipated first official preseason game of the year than a Mayor Duck Special podcast?
You hear that silence? Me too. Enjoy!
Odell Beckham Jr. Eli Manning. Landon Collins.
There’s a lot of star-power on this 2017 New York Giants roster, and because of that, many excited Big Blue fans have attended training camp sessions that are open to the public.
It all starts with the fans, so I wanted to give them the hard-hitting questions that need to be answered for the sake of the team and the entire NFL.
Your top notch analysts have come together for the first ever “Mayor Duck Special” podcast to discuss the winner of each division for the 2017 NFL season. Matt Faussette, Brandon Bochman and myself decided who we were giving the crown to and why. Listen in!
After finishing 11-5 and clinching a playoff berth in the 2016 NFL season, the New York Giants finally became relevant again for the first time since Super Bowl XLVI. Although the team only lost one defensive starter (Jonathan Hankins) and added offensive firepower in Evan Engram and Brandon Marshall, New York will have to be at their best in order to compile another winning season.
The Divisional Matchups
The Giants finished 4-2 within the division last year, and only lost by a combined seven points to the Redskins at home and the Eagles on the road. They also swept the No. 1 seed in the NFC if I remember. Crazy to say, but Philadelphia made some great moves this off-season with the signings of Alshon Jeffery and LeGarrette Blount. Paired up with a great offensive-line and a productive front seven, Philly can cause some havoc for the Giants on both sides of the ball. The Redskins are a little less worrying since there are questions on defense and within the management of that organization. Anything could happen between Dallas and New York, but the Giants defense matches up very well against Dak and company. The Cowboys revenge (in the words of Ringo Starr) won’t come easy.
On the Road Again
This is where the going gets tough and the tough gets going. New York has to travel to Oakland, Tampa Bay, Denver, Arizona and San Francisco. It’s important to note that NONE of those games follow each other. That’s right. The G-Men have to fly back to East Rutherford, N.J. after each of those games. The Buccaneers and Broncos games are the only matchups that occur before their Bye Week (Week 8). Head Coach Ben McAdoo will have to carefully plan out time management on these long and frequent trips, along with finding his guys some time to rest.
Not much needs to be said about Oakland. With a healthy Derek Carr and Khalil Mack manning the line of scrimmage, this might end up being the most difficult game of the season for the Giants. Denver still has a majority of their Super Bowl Champion defensive roster under contract. Von Miller could disrupt a game for any offensive lineman, let alone going up against Bobby Hart, Ereck Flowers or even D.J. Fluker. The Cardinals were a shell of their 2015 team last season, but the squad finished as the No. 2 ranked defense and the No. 9 ranked offense in the league, according to ESPN.com. The Buccaneers also have some great potential on offense and began to make some strides last season as a team. Desean Jackson finds a way to play against the Giants even when he leaves the division. The 49ers don’t appear to be too threatening, but you’d imagine they’ll be better than 2-14 under Kyle Shanahan and an upgraded defense.
Another cause for concern is the Giants’ play in road games last season. Besides Week 1 in Dallas (which is hardly a road game) and Week 17 in Washington, the Giants didn’t have a road win of much significance. They had flat performances against the Vikings, the Steelers, the Packers on two occasions, and even the Eagles in Week 16. This road stretch is more crucial than it appears.
The Safe Haven Games
Although New York faces some uncertainty on the road, they have a few home games that can easily tilt in their favor. Games against the Lions, Chargers, Rams and Chiefs are totally winnable and can all be controlled by Big Blue’s defensive front and secondary. The Giants beat the Lions and Rams last season, each game being dominated by Steve Spagnuolo’s bunch. Los Angeles and Kansas City won’t be easy wins, but home-field advantage can really make a difference against teams with sub-par offensive lines. The only real challenging non-divisional home game would be the Seattle Seahawks. The LOB is still alive and well and Russel Wilson’s scrambling could cause some fits. Beckham vs. Sherman Part 2 should be exciting.
So yes, the Giants do have a tough schedule, but when you’re a good team you have to beat, well, good teams. Doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. If they get into the postseason, they can easily become a Super Bowl contender with their dominance on defense and lightning receiving core. But first thing’s first, they must survive the 2017 regular season.
A few days ago, the final ten players were revealed off of the “NFL Top 100 Players of 2017”, which makes literally no sense because the list refers to the performances that happened during the 2016 season, but whatever.
Analysts didn’t have an impact on any of the rankings, since the players make them themselves (which could lead to some potential biases). Now, of course with any ranked list, there’s going to be a good amount of people who disagree with the outcome. I’m one of those people.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) June 20, 2017
Let’s just dive into this. Drew Brees ranked at No. 16. A rookie quarterback was two spots higher than one of the best statistical QB’s in NFL history. I don’t even hate Dak. As a Giants fan I realize he played incredibly well for the situation he was in, showing more poise than a few veterans in the league.
BUT…that doesn’t mean that we have to put him in the same conversation as Brees or Russell Wilson. He had the best offensive line in football, a star running back, a hall of fame tight end, a top 10 receiver and the coach of the year. It wasn’t like he had an Andrew Luck-type- rookie season (no offensive line, no running game, no defense, still finished 11-5).
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) June 27, 2017
When it’s all said + done, there might not be 5 QBs in NFL history better than Aaron Rodgers. Truly believe that.
6th in 2017 NFL Top 100 🤣
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) June 27, 2017
I think I threw my iPhone against the fucking wall when I saw this. Even though I think Rodgers is the best player in the league, I respect that Brady is No. 1 and I understand it. But I don’t agree with Antonio Brown and Von Miller being ranked above Rodgers.
Julio Jones and Khalil Mack make more sense since Mack carries that defense and Julio had a phenomenal postseason performance. Point is, Rodgers deserves some more respect on his name for bringing a 4-6 team to the NFC Championship.
Other notable abominations:
- Giants DT Damon Harrison was ranked No. 96 when he’s arguably one of the best in the league at his respective position.
Damon Harrison is the best run stuffing NT in the NFL, and it isn’t even close pic.twitter.com/Xk9wksBIMQ
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) May 31, 2017
- Dez Bryant came in at No. 60 after finishing the season with 796 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.
- T.Y. Hilton ranked at No. 61, one spot behind Dez. He LED the league in receiving yards (1,448) and scored six touchdowns. He had 650 more yards than Bryant.
- The fact that David Johnson was left out of the top ten players of the league (ranking at No. 12) is insane. The guy led the league in scrimmage yards and touchdowns (with a subpar, injury riddled offensive line) and was practically the entire Cardinals offense. He’s easily in the conversation with some of the most athletic guys in the league.
The “Top 100” always finds a way to let me down, so I’m pretty excited to see what’s in store for next year.
It’s possibly the most boring part of the NFL season (except the Scouting Combine): The practice sessions before training camp. Luckily, thanks to many hard-working reporters, us fans get a little sniff of the 2017 NFL rosters.
Former NY Jets’ WR Eric Decker is meeting today with the Tennessee Titans, as @fhnixon said. Tennessee had appeal to Decker family.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 14, 2017
I would be a huge fan of this signing. Tennessee’s receiving core is a little murky, and even though Decker is far from a No. 1 receiver, he brings some experience to their position. Plus they have to cut Harry Douglass, guy is more focused on tearing ACL’s than catching passes.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) June 14, 2017
I really don’t blame the guy, I think he deserves a new deal. In his past three seasons, he’s recorded 1,000 yards-receiving in each year. If that doesn’t convince you enough, Zach Ertz and Charles Clay are making more than him, according to NBC Sports. Not saying they’re terrible, but Olsen is practically Carolina’s best receiving target.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 12, 2017
That Ravens receiving core was looking very strange with Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman set in stone as their two outside guys. Luckily, the Chiefs gave them a blessing in the form of Jeremy Maclin. He already enters the team as the best route-runner, pass catcher and overall receiver. Kinda makes me question Baltimore. Like, if Kansas City never released him, that was their plan? Wallace and Perriman? Ozzie Newsome must be sipping some shit.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) June 14, 2017
Look at that. First day on the job and he already jacks Perriman’s number.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 12, 2017
Thank the lord this crisis it over. Yes Odell is “back” as he says, and the NFL world can go back to their normal state. The more I think about it, the more silly it seems. The guy missed OTAs and fifty different rumors emerged. You would’ve thought he was skipping actual games to go clubbing with Lavar Ball and co.
— theScore NFL (@theScoreNFL) June 7, 2017
This…this right here deserves no commentary.