After an eventful offseason, the New York Giants are almost ready to kick off the 2022 NFL season. A pair of high-profile rookies join a rebuilding team that is recovering from the Dave Gettleman era. Although it will take some time for the progress to show, this season could be the first sign that the team is headed in the right direction. Some Giants 2022 bold predictions are in order.
The Giants’ brass got an overhaul this offseason with the additions of general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. After helping the Buffalo Bills become one of the NFL’s best teams, they are tasked with leading Big Blue back to relevance. The path back to being a good team will be traveled slowly. Much of the roster consists of Gettleman regime holdovers and probably will for quite some time.
Here are four bold predictions for the New York Giants in the 2022 NFL season.
4. Darius Slayton is traded by Week 4
The Giants’ wide receiver room is paradoxically full of options yet uninspiring. Kadarius Toney should build on the flashes he showed during his rookie season, Sterling Shepard is still coming back from an Achilles tear and Kenny Golladay remains a disappointment. Rookie Wan’Dale Robinson could be in for a big year, even if he is behind the other three in the pecking order.
On the outside looking in is Darius Slayton. The 2019 fifth-round pick emerged as a key target for Daniel Jones early in his career before being pushed back on the depth chart. Now, he seems like the fifth option in the passing game at best, and that’s without considering Saquon Barkley as an option out of the backfield.
Slayton could end up pulling a Denzel Mims, asking for the Giants to move on from him so that he can go to a team that needs WR depth. If the Giants don’t find any takers, he may end up being cut given his brutal inefficiency as a pass catcher. He hauled in only 44.8 percent of passes last season. As we’ll get into in the next section, that roster spot may be needed for something else.
3. Daniel Jones throws 30 touchdown passes
After throwing just 22 touchdowns in his last 25 games, this might seem like an impossible feat for Jones to reach. However, the stars are lining up for Jones to finally look somewhat competent again. It’s certainly not much but it should be a step in the right direction.
Jones is now surrounded by perhaps the best offensive line he has ever had, headlined by Andrew Thomas and promising rookie Evan Neal. The interior of the offensive line is riddled with injuries but should prove to be decent when healthy. At the very least, it will be an upgrade for Danny Dimes.
Remember, Jones threw 24 touchdowns in 13 games as a rookie. He was highly turnover-prone, yes, but New York could put up points with him and a healthy Saquon Barkley. The former superstar running back says he is feeling great and has a chip on his shoulder to prove he is still a superstar. The wide receiver room has plenty of options led by new offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, who played a key part in the Kanas City Chiefs’ recent success.
A 30-touchdown season may not be enough for Jones to prove he is the future of the team. However, it should at least give Giants fans a much-needed break from a previously unwatchable offense.
2. Kayvon Thibodeaux wins Defensive Rookie of the Year
The Giants’ most intriguing player to watch this season will be Kayvon Thibodeaux. After a fantastic career with Oregon, the Giants picked him fifth overall in the draft.
Thibodeaux was garnering serious consideration to be drafted with the top pick before ultimately falling. Now, the Giants will get to showcase one of the most talented rookies under new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, whose blitz-heavy strategy could get Thibodeau free to disrupt offenses and sack quarterbacks. The unreal athleticism Thibodeau displays makes him very versatile.
Kayvon Thibodeaux dominated last night
25 snaps rushing – PFF has him with some form of pressure (sack/hit/hurry) on *11* of those pic.twitter.com/M6xkgBbFaf
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) October 16, 2021
The knee injury Thibodeaux sustained in the preseason should not be a major roadblock for him. The competition for DROY could be one, though, as it will be stiff. Along with fellow rookie pass rushers like Travon Walker and Aidan Hutchison, other players like Sauce Gardner, Jordan Davis, Kyle Hamilton and Derek Stingley Jr. will be looking to show they are primed for NFL stardom. However, Thibodeaux has all the physicality and skills to emerge as the top dog among defensive rookies.
1. The Giants remain in the playoff hunt until December
For a team to be in the playoff hunt midway through the season is nothing to be too proud of…unless you’re the Giants, who have only been in the playoff hunt later into the season once in recent memory, and that was only because the 2020 NFC East was a clown show.
Not only do the Giants look more like a real football team but their schedule in the first three months is no bloodbath. It features matchups against the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions at home and away games against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks. None of those teams project to be very good.
The Giants probably won’t win each of those games but four is certainly possible. New York’s retooled offense and addition of a key playmaker on defense should allow them to be a roughly .500 team before their schedule includes fewer easy opponents.