1. The first thing you look for every time you put on Giants film: How is the opponent tactically defending Odell Beckham Jr.? Or, perhaps more accurately, how is the opponent doubling Beckham? Nothing will change this season, even with six-time Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall now aboard. Beckham (as long as he’s healthy) will remain Enemy No. 1 for defenses because there isn’t a more threatening big-play weapon in football. Marshall, for the first time in his career, can expect to regularly see normal coverage to his side of the field. The big-bodied 33-year-old should thrive in a Giants offense that features slant routes.
2. Those slant routes comprise the backbone of head coach Ben McAdoo’s system, which is based on simplicity and execution. The Giants play in the same personnel package (“11”: one RB and one TE with three wide receivers) on virtually every snap.Their formations tend to be static, and they get to the line early so that Eli Manning can survey the defense and call adjustments. It’s a very straightforward approach.
3. This running game, ranked 29th a year ago, must improve. It’s hard because when you’re a three-receiver offense, your box only has six run-blockers (the O-line and tight end). That means you create fewer gaps, you have far fewer formations, and therefore you have a restricted array of run designs. (On the bright side, you often face fewer defenders in the box.) Really, there are only two runs in New York’s ground game, and they both occur primarily out of shotgun: inside zone, with double-teams right up the gut, and “power,” with a pulling guard.
4. Something the Giants love to do is throw play-action off of that “power” look. The pulling guard action impacts the outside linebackers, allowing Manning to target the tight end down the seam. With first-round rookie Evan Engram, the Giants have a weapon who can consistently capitalize on these plays.