- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 29, 2018


New faces: Coach Pat Shurmur, GM Dave Gettleman, RB Saquon Barkley, T Nate Solder, LB Alec Ogletree, LB Kareem Martin, G Will Hernandez, G Patrick Omameh, DL B.J. Hill, P Riley Dixon, LB Connor Barwin, DL Josh Mauro, S Curtis Riley, S Michael Thomas, WR Cody Latimer, WR Russell Shepard, LB Lorenzo Carter, QB Kyle Lauletta, RB Jonathan Stewart, DT A.J. Francis.

Key losses: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, WR Brandon Marshall, LB Jonathan Casillas, LB Devon Kennard, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, G Justin Pugh, C Weston Richburg, RB Shane Vereen, P Brad Wing, coach Ben McAdoo, GM Jerry Reese.

Strengths: Shurmur’s Vikings offense put up 382 points last season with QB Case Keenum. He should produce as well with two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, WRs Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, TE Evan Engram and Barkley, the No. 2 overall pick in draft, at halfback. That’s plenty of skill for team that scored 246 points last season. Coordinator James Bettcher’s 3-4 defense has talent with DL/LB Olivier Vernon, DT Snacks Harrison, S Landon Collins and CB Janoris Jenkins.

Weaknesses: For second straight year, offensive line is major concern. Despite spending roughly $84 million to sign tackle Nate Solder and guard Patrick Omameh and draft guard Will Hernandez, line has struggled in preseason. Pass blocking has been adequate, but run game has been nonexistent. Defensively, free safety is unsettled. Third-year pro Curtis Riley is front-runner. There is little depth in secondary. Placekicker Aldrick Rosas can’t afford to be inconsistent again.

Fantasy Players To Watch: Beckham. After missing most of last season with broken ankle, Beckham wants to show everyone he deserves to be NFL’s highest-paid receiver. 25-year-old should post big numbers in Shurmur’s new offense. He had 25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns in four games before being hurt Oct. 8. Dozen touchdowns and 1,400 yards receiving are doable. Engram and Shepard have looked very good in training camp.

Vegas Says: Super Bowl 40-1. Over/under wins 7.5.

Expectations: Super Bowl was wild expectation after Giants made playoffs 2016 under McAdoo, then first-year coach. Everything went wrong last season and McAdoo and Reese lost jobs in December. Teams tend to improve under new coaches and Giants have talent to make some noise. Getting back to playoffs would be good season in tough division that includes Super Bowl champion Eagles.


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/tag/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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