New York Giants: Identifying Team's Biggest Advantage over Each NFC East Foe
In 2014, the New York Giants face the past two NFC Super Bowl representatives.
While those games will both be a good gauge of how far the Giants can go this coming season, the most important games they play will be inside the division, as they are for any team.
The Giants went 3-3 against the NFC East last season, but the division is growing more competitive all the time.
Dallas had a very disappointing 2013 season, but they still defeated the Giants in both meetings.
So how can New York get the best of these teams in 2014? Here, we take a look at the areas where the Giants can take advantage of each of their divisional opponents.
In each of the past four seasons, 10 wins has been enough to win the division. That makes these matchups that much more important.
The last time the Giants won the division, they went on to become Super Bowl champions.
Last season was a rough one for the Giants, but they still managed to pick up two victories over the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins have since undergone some changes, including the hiring of a new head coach in Jay Gruden. They also brought in noted Giant killer DeSean Jackson.
The games between these two teams should be competitive this season, but the Giants' biggest advantage could be inside the battle in the trenches, particularly in the middle.
New York added free-agent guard Geoff Schwartz along with center J.D. Walton. They then used a second-round pick to select center Weston Richburg.
Eli Manning should be surrounded by much better protection this year than he was last season.
Schwartz and either Richburg or Walton should be able to combine with Chris Snee to overpower the middle of the Washington defense, which will have to find a way to replace veteran linebacker London Fletcher.
New York will be able to use Rashad Jennings and the running game to pound the ball at Washington, leading to Manning hitting some big plays to his receivers down the field later.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Giants sweep the Redskins once again.
For a team that gave up a ridiculous amount of passing yards in 2013, the Dallas Cowboys didn't change up the personnel in the secondary much.
They did bring in Rod Marinelli as the new defensive coordinator, but will he be able to change a defense that was regularly abused last season?
In two games against Dallas last year, Eli Manning threw for 624 yards and six touchdowns. Still, Dallas beat them both times.
In 2014, there isn't much reason to think Manning won't be able to torch the Dallas secondary again, especially with a healthy Victor Cruz and new weapon Odell Beckham Jr. to throw the ball to.
Dallas will make tightening up the secondary its top priority, but it will have more talent to deal with than it did against the 2013 Giants.
New offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will be able to draw up new ways for the Giants to torment the Dallas defense.
If Brandon Carr matches up against Victor Cruz, that will leave Orlando Scandrick or Morris Claiborne to cover Beckham. That could be a problem for Dallas.
New York will air it out against the Cowboys; it just needs to come out on the right end of the score. If not, Dallas won't care how many passing yards it gives up.
The Eagles look to be the stiffest competition inside the NFC East for the Giants.
If New York is to get the better of the two games this season, it must limit mistakes. Though the teams split their two games last year, the Giants committed five turnovers and 23 penalties in those two games.
The Giants will be tasked with slowing down Chip Kelly's college-style offense, and quarterback Nick Foles has plenty of weapons to complement him.
However, DeSean Jackson is no longer one of them.
It's tough to identify an advantage for the Giants at this stage of the offseason, but if they are to defeat Philadelphia, they need to throw off the rhythm and timing of the offense.
Cornerback Walter Thurmond could play a big role in these games by getting physical with the Philadelphia receivers. He can bring over what he learned in Seattle to disrupt what the Eagles like to do.
In addition to that, defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Damontre Moore and Robert Ayers need to get pressure on Foles.
Tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson need to be tested often. The Giants are at their best when their defensive line is dominant, and with players like Johnathan Hankins and Cullen Jenkins in the middle, they can push the Eagles offensive line around.