NY Giants @ Tennessee
Power rankings: NY Giants 32, Tennessee 21
When the Giants have the ball:
The Giants are firmly in a rebuilding process. Left in cap hell from ex GM David Gettleman, they have a new general manager (Joe Schoen), head coach (Brian Daboll), offensive coordinator (Mike Kafka), and defensive coordinator (Don Martindale). In the off-season, the Giants declined to pick up the 5th year option of QB Daniel Jones, which should tell you all that you need to know about what the Giants think of their starting QB. It's not that Jones isn't a deserved starter in the league, but it's clear at this point, as he enters his 4th season, that Jones isn't good enough to build a winning team around. Their attempts to do so were apparent, bringing in weapons like Kenny Golladay (from Detroit), drafting Kadarius Toney (20th overall, 2021), and Wan'Dale robinson (43rd overall, 2022). Golladay was bad last year, Toney was injured, and Robinson is a 5'8 178 pound receiver with sub 28 inch arms that many consider to be a reach. Along with Sterling Shepard (questionable, Achilles), they'll make up the Giants receiving core. At tight end, Evan Engram is no longer in town, leaving rookie 4th rounder Daniel Bellinger as the apparent top option. At running back, Saquon Barkley is back -- a true difference maker when healthy, but at a position that is easily the least important on the offense. They have started to revamp the offensive line, which was bad last year across the board, with the exception of LT Andrew Thomas, who finished 10th in ESPN's run block win rate and allowed just 18 pressures over 517 pass blocking snaps. RG Mark Glowinski was brought in as a dependable starter, and RT Evan Neal was taken 7th overall in the draft this season. Neal is a freak athlete who played well in multiple seasons at Alabama. The C and LG spots are potential weaknesses. They'll be up against a Titans defense that already lost their best edge rusher, Harold Landry, to a torn ACL. Jeffery Simmons is still here, however, as one of the better interior pass rushers in football. Denico Autry has shown to be a decent player along the edge -- he'll be needed as we cannot expect Bud Dupree to do much except collect his fat pay check. The linebacking core is more middle of the road -- Zach Cunningham has been a solid run defender, and 2019 6th rounder David Long was playing well prior to an injury last season. The Titans corners were all drafted in 2020 or later, creating a young, exciting, and scary group. Caleb Farley was taken 22nd overall in 2021, but he played just 60 snaps last season due to injury. On the other side, Kristian Fulton (2020, 61st overall) did have a big improvement in year 2 over his rookie season. With Elijah Molden (2021, 3rd round) on IR, that leaves Roger McCreary to start at nickel -- he's a rookie out of Auburn who was taken 35th overall in this years draft. The stability on defense is with the safety tandem of Amani Hooker and Kevin Byard, the latter of whom is one of the better safeties in football.
When the Titans have the ball:
Ryan Tannehill finished 10th last season in PFF grades (83.7) while completing 67% of his passes and gaining 7.1 yards per attempt. The big change for the Titans has come at receiver, as they traded away star AJ Brown for a 1st round pick and let Julio Jones walk in free agency. They brought in Robert Woods, a dependable receiver, but he is a 30 year old coming off a torn ACL. They also drafted Treylon Burks 18th overall, but the reports out of training camp on Burks were not great, and he struggled in the preseason. 2020 UDFA Nick Westbrook-Ikhine looks to be the #2 option for now. Kyle Phillips, a 5th rounder from 2020 who has yet to play a snap, appears one spot ahead of Burks on the depth chart. The offensive line looks to be a problem -- LT Taylor Lewan simply hasn't been his dominant self since tearing his ACL in 2020, but perhaps we're far enough removed from the injury for the 31 year old to put together a better season. C Ben Jones and RG Nate Davis were both decent players last season, and time will tell if 69th overall selection Nicholas Petit-Frere is ready to play RT in the NFL. The running game, of course, will be a heavy doss of Derrick Henry. The Giants defense, much like their offense, is a work in progress. They drafted edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux 5th overall, but he's out with a knee injury. Azeez Ojulari broke the Giants single season rookie sack record last year, and he's out with a calf injury. Interior players Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence both had down years in 2021 -- Williams played 100 more snaps in 2021 than in 2020, but had 5 fewer sacks, 11 fewer hits, and 7 fewer hurries. Lawrence run stop win rate has declined each season since 2019, 81% -> 77% -> 70%. At linebacker, Blake Martinez finally broke out to have a solid 2020 season before tearing his ACL in week 3 of 2021. He was strangely released. That leaves Tae Crowder to start, who earned a 29.1 PFF grade last year. The secondary will be without cap casualty James Bradberry, leaving Adoree Jackson as the one veteran in the cornerback room. The Giants have drafted 10 defensive backs since 2019, 2nd most to the Vikings 11. They'll need several of the young guys to turn into productive players -- starters now next to Jackson appear to be Aaron Robinson (2021 3rd rounder) and Darnay Holmes (2020 4th rounder). Safety Xavier McKinney took a big step forward in his sophomore 2021 season. He should provide at least some stability to what could be a very bad secondary.