New York Giants: 4 bold predictions for Week 1 vs. Titans
The New York Giants are set for quite a test in their Week 1 opener, as they will meet the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
The Giants will see multiple new faces on the field and also on the sidelines during their clash with the Titans. For one, Giants general manager Joe Schoen opted to shift much of his focus during the offseason to retooling both lines, which included drafting pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux and offensive lineman Evan Neal in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He also revamped the coaching staff from top to bottom, such as with the call to bring in head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka.
High expectations are on the Giants to at the least rebound from their lowly four-win campaign in the 2021 season. More so, there is much hope that they will kick off the season on a promising note after having opened up with an 0-2 record in each of their previous five campaigns.
For the Giants to begin with a 1-0 record for the first time since 2016, they must achieve these feats in Week 1.
4. Giants turnaround their woes in the red zone
Not much went the Giants’ way on offense over the 2021 season, including with their dire struggles in the red zone. They ended up ranking at 32nd in both red zone touchdown percentage (44.7 percent) and total red zone touchdowns (17). Giants quarterback Daniel Jones failed to make the most out of his trips to this area of the field, recording a 38.1 percent completion percentage.
The Giants have what it takes to show signs of life in the red zone against the Titans. What must be key for Kafka once the offense reaches Tennessee’s own 20-yard line centers on simply being unpredictable. Whether it could be with rolling out 21 personnel or featuring running back Saquon Barkley in crucial screen plays, the Giants need to keep Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen on his heels during such in-game situations.
3. Andrew Thomas gets long-awaited revenge against Bud Dupree
Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas had an NFL debut to forget two years ago. Thomas earned a start in the Giants’ 2020 regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers and saw plenty of outside linebacker Bud Dupree. Overall, Dupree did not log a sack in the contest, but he occasionally waltzed on by Thomas with relative ease; he recorded four total tackles, two tackles for loss, and one quarterback hit during his time on the field.
Dupree is expected to earn a start as an outside linebacker for the Titans in Week 1, and he may once again square off with Thomas. This time around, Thomas should help keep Jones’ jersey clean by silencing the veteran pass rusher.
In the big picture, Thomas is confident in not only what the offensive line can produce against Tennessee but also for the entirety of the season.
“I definitely got confidence in our guys,” Thomas said during a press conference last month. “We work every day to get better. We have some veterans in the group helping lead us. We’re just looking forward to game one.”
2. Saquon Barkley records a career-high 100 receiving yards
There is much attention set on just how the Giants’ new-look offense will operate under Kafka. Among the changes that could end up being on display in Week 1 sets on Barkley once again being a go-to option in the passing game.
In the opening two seasons of his ongoing run with the Giants, Barkley was a vital force in the passing attack, as he posted a 40.0 receiving yards per game average. Over the last two years, the fifth-year running back notched a 21.5 receiving yards per game average to go along with a combined two receiving touchdowns scored.
Barkley can very well have his way in the air in Week 1 with a 100 receiving yards showing, which would then set a new career-high for him.
Overall, Barkley is ready to play an instrumental role in helping to elevate the production of the offense, even if it means emerging as more of a focal point as a pass-catcher.
“But just in case if that is the game plan or the goal for me this year, to go out there and catch the ball a little bit more, I’ve got to be ready for it,” Barkley said in June. “I feel like the more versatile you can be as a player, the more helpful you can be to your team, and I want to help this team win games.”
1. Giants secure a pivotal road win over the Titans
In most cases during Week 1, it can be a stretch to label a surprising victory from one team as an upset win. Nonetheless, the Giants sure should attract a multitude of eyeballs following an upset road win against the Titans.
Daboll is in need of a keen showing from his team to open up his coaching tenure with the Giants in convincing fashion, and he should get just that this week.