Here’s a look at the Super Bowl prospects of the New York Giants, who finished the season 3-13. The tiers consist of: Realistic Super Bowl expectations; Should contend, but there are question marks; Middle of the pack; Lots of work to do; and Nowhere close.
Westgate odds of winning Super Bowl LIII: 80-1
Lots of work to do: The Giants are coming off a disastrous season where they fired their coach and general manager. A lot is going to change for next season, and has already with Pat Shurmur and Dave Gettleman in place of Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese.
Shurmur and Gettleman, the new coach and general manager respectively, have their work cut out. They must fix a flawed roster that was not anywhere near deep enough, was insufficient on the offensive line and clearly did not have the right mix of defensive players (see: three cornerback suspensions). That is not going to be easy to do in one offseason, especially on the offensive line. Right now, the Giants do not have much of anything other than Ereck Flowers and John Jerry under contract for next season. Those are not exactly significant building blocks. Justin Pugh, D.J. Fluker and Weston Richburg are all unrestricted free agents.
Sure the Giants have talent, the No. 2 overall pick and will get some key players -- including Odell Beckham Jr. -- back from injury. That should help, but they will also be tasked with learning new offensive and defensive systems. That can often take time before the real fruits of the labor pay off.
There also is hardly a guarantee that quarterback Eli Manning bounces back following two down seasons. He’s 37 years old and in a new system for just the third time in his career. It’s possible -- and likely -- he’s on the decline.
The ray of hope is that Shurmur, known as a quarterback guru, will work his wonders. He just molded Case Keenum into a more-than-serviceable starter this past season. He should be able to coax something better out of Manning, especially if they surround him by a better supporting cast.
The defense should also rebound under promising young coordinator James Bettcher following a disastrous year. He does have talent at his disposal with Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul and Damon Harrison on the defensive line and Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Landon Collins in the secondary.
It’s reasonable to expect a turnaround and playoff appearance from the Giants. A Super Bowl? That seems extreme. Only one team -- the winless Cleveland Browns -- finished with a worse record last season than the Giants.