All rise, here comes the Judge.
Fans of New York sports are familiar with John Sterling’s famed long-ball call for Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, but the Giants are hoping they hit a home run themselves when they hired Joe Judge to lead Big Blue into the future.
The hiring was quiet and outside the box, as the former New England special teams coach has been somewhat quick to erase the stench of the ill-fated Pat Shurmur era in New York, one that ended with two disastrous years and dozens more bad headlines to go with it. Now, with Daniel Jones at the helm and a supporting cast that could take the promising rookie into full-fledged franchise QB, the Giants could be set up for the future.
That future, however bright, probably won’t come in 2020. Here’s why:
Giants record prediction for 2020
The Giants have plenty of upside because of new coach Joe Judge and second-year QB Daniel Jones, but their offense will take some lumps facing a brutal schedule and their defense, despite some big spending, remains in transition. They also are stuck in a tough division with the Eagles and Cowboys to think they can finish with anything more than a two-game improvement.
Daniel Jones certainly outplayed what a lot of people expected him to do in 2019. His turnover issues, though, should be at the forefront.
The Duke product (and Eli Manning stunt double) threw 24 touchdowns to 12 interceptions his rookie year, but also lost 15 fumbles (18 fumbles total), meaning: someone grab the Stickum. Still, Jones’ up-and-down rookie year provides a good springboard moving forward for the Giants, who won’t have to worry about the signal caller much heading into the future.
It’s everywhere else that should concern the Giants, especially defensively. They sunk a lot of resources into a defense that was very, very not good in 2019, and are still facing lots of question marks heading into 2020 including: DeAndre Baker on the restricted list for his part in an armed robbery, a pass rush that’s consistently inconsistent and a secondary in total that’s questionable. They added cornerback James Bradberry in free agency on a big, big deal, with $32 million guaranteed, so that should help in some capacity.
Rookie head coaches are also hard to gauge, too, and couple that with the fact that Bill Belichick’s coaching tree hasn’t exactly bore fruit through the years makes Joe Judge a very difficult case to predict. Judge seems like a no-nonsense type, which could go either way for a first-year head coach, and has already had some rocky goings with the New York media, which may or may not be a big deal. Judge did put together a solid staff, including former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett as the OC and former Miami DC Patrick Graham to the same position.
The offense still has some weaponry, featuring Saqon Barkley and flanked by a solid trio of wideouts in Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and breakout rookie Darius Slayton. They’re thin at tight end, with Evan Engram the lead man on the depth chart but injury woes make him something of a question mark moving forward.
If it all comes together, the Giants could be better than people expect in 2020 — but that doesn’t mean great or even good. Just better.
Final record: 6-10
Giants 2020 win total, Super Bowl odds
The division is going to be a difficult one for New York to navigate, with the Cowboys and Eagles still leagues ahead and the Redskins improving (on paper) this offseason, including the addition of head coach Ron Rivera.
Still, fans hoping for a Super Bowl appearance in 2020 might have to keep their shekels in their pocket, unless something miraculous happens.
Giants schedule 2020
The Giants have a pretty tough road schedule this year, with games at the Cowboys, Seahawks and Ravens. They have the benefit of playing at home vs. the 49ers, Buccaneers and Browns.
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