Nov 4, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) runs with ball after reception against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the New York Giants 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

2014 NFL Power Rankings countdown: 17. New York Giants

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2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

17.  New York Giants (NFC East)

2013 Record:  7-9

Head coach:  Tom Coughlin - Even with the struggles from quarterback Eli Manning and the lack of a consistent running game, Coughlin still managed to salvage a 7-9 record with the Giants last season.  The offense should be much better in 2014 and the playoffs are a possibility, but a second consecutive losing season may lead Coughlin’s retirement.

Best offensive player:  Victor Cruz, wide receiver - Cruz led the Giants in receptions for the third consecutive season with 73 catches for 998 yards and 4 TD’s.  He continues to be one of the top slot receivers in the NFL, and if Eli Manning can rebound from last season, then Cruz may be in line for a big 2014 season.

Best defensive player:  Antrel Rolle, strong safety - Rolle led the Giants last season in tackles with 98 and in interceptions with 6.  He also chipped in 2 sacks as well.  Rolle made an appearance in the pro bowl last season and with Justin Tuck leaving in free agency, Rolle is now the Giants best defensive player.

Rising Star:  Odell Beckham, wide receiver - Even though Beckham hasn’t played a down yet for the Giants, he has the kind of skill and talent to make an impact as a rookie.  The Giants drafted him with the 12th pick of the first round, and they will no doubt give him ample opportunities to make plays for them.

Best new addition:  Geoff Schwartz, left guard - The Giants had issues in pass protection and run blocking last season, so they went to free agency to help solve those problems.  Geoff Schwartz was one of the top free agent guards out there, and he should be able to step right in and help the Giants firm up their offensive line.

Biggest offseason loss: Justin Tuck, defensive end - Tuck had 11 sacks to lead the Giants last season.  He had 60.5 sacks for the team over his nine seasons as a Giants, and his pass rush ability won’t be easily replaced.

Biggest strength:  The Giants biggest strength is their secondary.  In addition to Antrel Rolle at strong safety and Quintin Demps at free safety, the Giants signed free agent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to go along with the improving Prince Amukamura on the other side.  They also signed free agent Walter Thurmond who will be the third cornerback.          NFL Power Rankings

Biggest weakness:  The Giants biggest weakness is a lack of pass rushers.  Justin Tuck is gone, and the Giants may not have any one to fill the pass rushing void.  Jason Pierre-Paul has the talent, but his production has dropped off significantly the past few seasons.  Mathias Kiwanuka is in the same category, and second year defensive end Damontre Moore did not record one sack last season.    2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

32. Houston Texans

31. Cleveland Browns

30.  Minnesota Vikings

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

28. Oakland Raiders

27.  Washington Redskins

26.  Atlanta Falcons

25.  Buffalo Bills

24.  Tennessee Titans

23.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22.  Detroit Lions

21.  Miami Dolphins

20.  St. Louis Rams

19.  New York Jets

18.  Dallas Cowboys

 

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Tags: 2014 NFL Power Rankings Antrel Rolle Eli Manning NFL Power Rankings Victor Cruz Washington Redskins