Will your team make the NFL playoffs next year? Here, we present a playoff-focused series on whether or not teams have a shot at making next year’s NFL postseason. Jeff Smith and Jimmie Kaylor will make arguments for their respective sides in a point-counterpoint format. Today, we’ll touch on whether or not the New York Giants can make it back to the postseason in 2016.
The New York Giants are one of the proudest and most storied franchises in the National Football League. They have won four Super Bowl titles – plus another four NFL championships prior to the AFL-NFL merger – and have 20 former players and coaches (who spent the majority of their careers with the Giants) in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Needless to say, 6-10 records and four-straight seasons of missing out on the postseason are unacceptable for the New York Football Giants. While there are several people who steadfastly argue that the Giants’ losing ways will continue for the foreseeable future, we are here to tell you that the Big Blue has an excellent chance at returning to the NFC Playoffs in 2016.
For the first time since the 2003 season, the Giants will have someone other than Tom Coughlin as their head coach. Coughlin, who led the G-Men to two Super Bowl titles during his tenure, stepped down following the 2015 season, and was replaced by Ben McAdoo, his offensive coordinator for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Some may argue that the Giants had to “settle” for McAdoo, but in our opinion, having a new head coach that is familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the roster will be highly beneficial for the team in 2016. This is mainly for the simple fact that McAdoo is on the same page as quarterback Eli Manning, and the two work extremely well together.
Speaking of Manning, he is another reason why we believe the Giants could be ending their four-year postseason drought in 2016. In Manning’s two seasons under McAdoo, he has thrown for 8,846 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions and posted an average quarterback rating of 92.9. With an All-Pro wide receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. at his disposal, Manning should continue to post those types of numbers, if not improve them all across the board. On top of that, Peyton’s younger brother has already proven that he is championship-caliber signal caller, and in our eyes, he is hands down the best quarterback in the NFC East.
That’s before you get to the fact that the once-proud NFC East has suddenly turned into one of the weakest divisions in the league. In 2015, the Washington Redskins won the division with a 9-7 overall record, and we believe something similar could happen in 2016. And let’s face it, there just isn’t a team in the division that stands out above the rest. Something else that bodes well for the Giants’ postseason chances next year is the fact that they have the second-easiest 2016 schedule in the league. They will have the standard six games against an average (at best) group of divisional foes, and only four of their remaining 12 games will be against 2015 playoff teams.
Lastly, the Giants have just under $58 million in salary cap space to work with this offseason, which means that they will have the luxury of aggressively pursuing free agent talent to fill the holes in their roster.
When it comes down to it, the Giants may be far from a complete team, but all signs point towards them making a return trip to the NFC Playoffs in 2016 after a four-year hiatus.