PFF Preview: Giants @ Lions, Week 1
Coming off disappointing seasons, both the New York Giants and Detroit Lions will be looking to rebound big in 2014.
The Giants struggled with injuries, but even the starters underwhelmed as they stumbled into a 7-9 record. In typical Eli Manning fashion, the younger Manning was unpredictable and ended the year with a league-leading 27 interceptions, though his offensive line did him no favors allowing pressure on over 40% of his drop-backs. A new offensive coordinator (Ben McAdoo) should help right the ship with a passing attack focused more on shorter throws. But with questions remaining on the offensive line, the coaching change may not have the full impact it could.
The Lions, meanwhile, squandered a perfect chance to scoop up the NFC North title as both Green Bay and Chicago had their quarterbacks miss significant time. Big changes were made as former head coach Jim Schwartz was let go in place of his temperamental polar opposite: Jim Caldwell. Most recently Caldwell was the offensive coordinator of a disappointing Ravens unit, but the talent he’ll be working with this year in Detroit is a noticeable upgrade. His first step must be harnessing the untapped potential of Matthew Stafford, whose sidearm delivery and gun-slinging mentality tend to get him into trouble. That said, Stafford put together his best year last season (in terms of consistency), and adding YAC machine Golden Tate may finally give Detroit the No. 2 receiver it’s been searching for since even before Stafford’s time with the team.
Getting out to a hot start in what looks to be a fiercely competitive NFC will be crucial and neither team can afford to drop a winnable game so early in the season.
New York Giants
Eli Manning – Manning earned a solid +7.7 grade when not pressured last year. When the rush hit home, though, that dropped to -12.4 with a completion percentage of just 48%.
Will Beatty – Beatty allowed 13 sacks for a disastrous -19.9 pass blocking grade last year and finished sixth worst in Pass Blocking Efficiency. In 2012, however, Beatty surrendered just three sacks and finished 10th-best in PBE.
Trumaine McBride – McBride allowed 32 catches a season ago but tallied eight pass defenses and two picks. Against the Lions in Week 16, he conceded just 38 yards despite being targeted 10 times.
Golden Tate – Tate topped all wide receivers by forcing 21 missed tackles last season. On 64 receptions, that comes out to making a defender miss on nearly one-third of his catches.
Stephen Tulloch – Not often mentioned as one of the best at his position, Tulloch’s +18.7 grade last year was second-highest among inside linebackers.
Offensive Line – Detroit’s interior trio of Rob Sims, Dominic Raiola, and Larry Warford combined to give up just one sack in 2013.
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