Coming into the 2018 season there were a lot of changes in the Giants organization. There was a new General Manager David Gettleman, a new head coach, Pat Shurmur, and a new running back in Saquon Barkley. The mainstays from Giants season past was star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. who signed a lucrative 5-year deal before the season to ensure OBJ will stay with the G-Men for the foreseeable future. The other familiar face was quarterback Eli Manning who unlike Beckham Jr. has a cloud of uncertainty around him as Eli grows in age and the calls are for Big Blue to find the replacement for Manning sooner rather than later.
For Big Blue, the season could be broken into two parts with the bye week being the line of demarcation. The Giants struggled in the first 8 games of 2018 as Big Blue went 1-7 in the first half of the season. There was a last-second loss on the road to the Carolina Panthers and a blowout at home against the Eagles.
The Giants offense was the main culprit as the offense was in neutral if not going in reverse as the trio of Manning, Barkley, and Beckham could not make up for the deficiencies of the offensive line. Trades were made midseason as Pro Bowl defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison was traded to the Lions and controversial cornerback and former 1st round pick Eli Apple was traded to the New Orleans Saints. Also another maligned former 1st round pick Ereck Flowers was released by the Giants.
After the bye week and with the addition of right guard Jamon Brown the Big Blue offense started to make some headway. Eli Manning was able to engineer a late-game comeback against the San Francisco 49ers in week 10. Big Blue followed that up with their first home win in week 11 against Tampa Bay. While there was another final second loss against the Eagles the G-Men had a home win against the Bears in overtime and a dominating road performance against the Redskins in week 14.
Standing at 5-8 it looked like the G-Men had a faint but allbeit a chance to sneak into the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Titans came into Met Life and crushed the Giants fading dream in a 17-0 shut out. To top off the 2018 season there was another set of crushing defeats where the Giants blew 4th quarter leads. First was on the road against the Colts where the Giants trailed for less than a minute but it was the last minute of the game and the last loss was on a 4th and 15 play where Cole Beasley got his knee in and nothing else to help the Cowboys steal a victory from the Giants.
Going into 2019 there are three major concerns for the Giants. While the offense did improve in the 2nd half the critique switched to the play of the defense because the Big Blue D could not pressure the quarterback, generate turnovers, or come up with the crucial play to seal the victory in the second quarter. 2nd issue which is a nagging issue since the Tom Coughlin era was the ability to hold 4th quarter leads as Coughlin did win 2 Super Bowls but being unable to close out games in 2015 cost Coughlin his job. The 3rd issue, similar to the start of the season, is who will replace Eli Manning at quarterback. And just like 2018, we will have to wait and see what happens.