Each week, theScore will go division by division, highlighting which three players’ performances will most impact their team’s season in 2017.
Over the past two seasons, the Giants have tried Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen, Orleans Darkwa, Bobby Rainey, and Andre Williams at running back. They’ll enter 2017 hoping Perkins will be the long-term answer to their questionable running game.
Everyone knows about the passing weapons at Eli Manning’s disposal, but with the team ranking 29th in rushing in 2016 and 18th the season prior, the Giants could be relying too heavily on Manning’s arm. The quarterback had more than 600 pass attempts in 2014 and 2015, and came two tosses from that mark last season.
The Giants are hoping Perkins – a fifth-round pick from a year ago – can lock down the No. 1 back role and keep defenses honest and off of their top players.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham wasted no time lighting the league ablaze with his play, but one needs only to look at his performance in his lone career playoff game to see the negative impact he can have on the Giants’ season.
In his first time in the playoff spotlight, Beckham was targeted 11 times in a wild-card game against the Green Bay Packers, yet hauled in only four passes for 28 yards. He wasn’t the lone reason for New York’s playoff exit, but he was a major one.
The numbers will be there – he averages 1,374 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns per season – but will he be there when the Giants need him most?
Beckham and a group of Giants that included most of their receivers took part in a celebrity boat trip before their postseason contest. New York fans will hope those players will decline such an invite if it’s extended in the future.
Collins feels he was robbed of the Defensive Player of the Year award after his sparkling performance in 2016. He’ll have the opportunity to prove he’s a perennial contender if he can match or improve upon that play this season.
Alongside Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the troop nicknamed the New York Pass Defense (NYPD) had offenses on lockdown a year ago. The unit allowed its share of yards, but took the ball away 17 times – the second-best mark in the league.
The Giants spent a substantial amount of capital retooling their defense ahead of last season, and it paid off. They’ll need a repeat performance from all parties involved to advance further in 2017.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
Also from this series
- 3 players who will have the biggest impact on the Cowboys’ season
- 3 players who will have the biggest impact on the Eagles’ season
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