For someone who says very little, Daniel Jones has been quite the lightning rod for debate this offseason. The New York Giants quarterback is coming off a promising rookie campaign in which he led all 1st-year signal-callers in touchdown passes with 24. Still, his knack for committing turnovers has led to many questioning his long-term success. That and “experts” bullishly opting to die on the hill of their pre-draft evaluation of the young QB.
No matter your current feelings towards Jones, we can all likely agree that the former 6th-overall draft pick will be a key cog for the Giants’ success this coming season. Whether that is for better or worse is yet to be seen. However, Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey opted to take a swing at both scenarios, presenting the best and worst-case scenarios for Big Blue in 2020.
Giants’ Best Case Scenario
Linsey and PFF’s research based both the best and worst-case scenario outcomes off of a range with high (90th percentile) and low end (10th percentile) win projections for all 32-NFL teams, which they state “gives a look at 80% of the most likely outcomes for each team.”
While Big Blue may miss out on double-digit wins in Linsey’s high-end prediction, their victory count would mark just the second time over the past seven years that New York would finish with more than eight wins.
90th percentile outcome: 9-7
How they get there: Jones keeps the high-end plays and the ability to create with his legs, and he also cuts down on the mistakes. That leads to a much-improved offense that may not have a true top option in the receiving game but offers plenty of solid contributors in Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley.
Defensively, the Giants can create enough of an interior pass rush with Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence to keep quarterbacks uncomfortable, while the additions of James Bradberry, Blake Martinez and Xavier McKinney give some structure to the linebacking corps and secondary.
Giants’ Worst Case Scenario
On the low end, Linsey predicts Jones, fresh off leading the entire NFL in turnovers a season ago, to continue a similar trend into 2020. In return, he has the Giants garner just four wins for the second consecutive year.
10th percentile outcome: 4-12
How they get there: Daniel Jones’ tendency to produce negative plays and mistakes doesn’t improve. He’s coming off a rookie season where he was one of just four quarterbacks with over 30 turnover-worthy plays and one of only nine quarterbacks to take at least 40 sacks on the year. Yes, the offensive line played a role, but so did Jones’ internal clock and obliviousness to bodies flying around him. A lack of improvement in that area, paired with a non-existent pass rush and depth concerns at cornerback, could lead to a team in rough shape in 2020.
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Most analysts would likely place New York’s win total between these two outcomes. Their additions on the defensive side of the football will certainly keep Big Blue more competitive on a weekly basis. Offensively, their o-line is shaping up to be one of the better units they’ve compiled in recent memory, while a healthy Saquon Barkley should return to his dominant form.
Still, if first-year head coach Joe Judge hopes to nab the Giants their first winning season in the past four years, it’ll be because of a rapid spurt of development on his quarterback’s part.