2020 Giants season preview: Slow steps forward to start Joe Judge era

NFL: New York Giants-Blue & White Scrimmage
Saquon Barkley has been listed as the No. 1 running back on the Giants’ unofficial depth chart for Week 1 against the Broncos.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but there is at least more reason for optimism for the New York Giants even though they probably won’t be in the conversation for postseason contention this season. 

In fact, they might flirt with a second-straight 4-12 campaign in an NFC East division that is expected to be a two-horse race between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. 

A difficult start to their season doesn’t really let up in 2020, which will be asking a lot from the team’s young stars and developing ranks — suggesting that this might be a transitional or growth year, even though there are plenty optimists out there believing that this is a team that can flirt with .500.

They certainly might, given the unpredictable nature of this year, the lack of preparation that comes with no preseason football, and the unknown that comes with first-year head coach Joe Judge. 

He certainly has the pieces in which future successful Giants teams will be built on.

Daniel Jones will be looking to build on the promising showing he put together during his rookie season last year while a healthy Saquon Barkley will be fully available to support him in the backfield. 

In terms of Jones’ passing game, he’s going to have his full arsenal of targets available, which wasn’t the case in 2019 because of suspensions or injuries. 

Evan Engram could be considered as one of the league’s best offensive tight ends when all is said and done in 2020 while wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton will finally be together on the field at the same time. 

There’s promise in the offense, but the defense is still a concern because this is a unit that is dealing with hypotheticals and “what-ifs” to succeed. 

The Giants allowed 28.1 points per game last season and tried to revamp their unit by bringing in linebacker Blake Martinez and cornerback James Bradberry as their two big offseason signings. 

The recent acquisition of Logan Ryan provides another proven veteran cornerback to bolster the passing defense, but there are still major question marks that come with an inconsistent and at times, invisible, pass rush. 

If the Giants can’t get to the quarterback, it doesn’t matter how good the linebacking or pass defense is. 

I initially had the Giants slated as a 4-12 team in my national predictions, but I’m going to tweak it somewhat:

Giants 2020 schedule, predictions

  • Week 1: 9/14 vs. Steelers- L
  • Week 2: 9/20 at Bears- W
  • Week 3: 9/27 vs. 49ers- L
  • Week 4: 10/4 at Rams- W
  • Week 5: 10/11 at Cowboys- L
  • Week 6: 10/18 vs. Washington- W
  • Week 7: 10/22 at Eagles- L
  • Week 8: 11/2 vs. Bucs- L
  • Week 9: 11/8 at Washington- L
  • Week 10: 11/15 vs. Eagles- L
  • Week 12: 11/29 at Bengals- W
  • Week 13: 12/6 at Seahawks- L
  • Week 14: 12/13 vs. Cardinals- L
  • Week 15: 12/20 vs. Browns- W
  • Week 16: 12/27 at Ravens- L
  • Week 17: 12/3 vs. Cowboys- W

Final Record: 6-10

NFC East finish: 3rd of 4