Giants burning question: Does Eli Manning have the best arsenal of his career?
The Giants are loaded at receiver and history says that could mean a trip to the postseason
With the clock ticking on Eli Manning's career, the New York Giants did something this year that they don't normally do during the offseason: They added a bunch of weapons for their 36-year-old quarterback and all but conceded that they're in win-now mode as Manning heads into the twilight of his career.
Since March, the Giants have beefed up their offense by signing a tight end who can block (Rhett Ellison), drafting a tight end who can catch with their first-round pick (Evan Engram) and adding a receiver (Brandon Marshall) who could've been a No. 1 guy on at least a dozen other teams, but will be a No. 2 guy in New York.
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The addition of Marshall might have been one of the most underrated signings of the offseason. By adding the 33-year-old, the Giants' receiving corps went from good to best in the NFL.
Yes, Manning has thrown to some talented receivers over the course of his 13-year career -- including Plaxico Burress, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Steve Smith -- but none of them match the trifecta that Manning has now.
Just ask Beckham. The Giants outspoken receiver has spent some time this offseason wondering how opposing defenses are going to stop his team's offensive attack.
"I'm really looking forward to seeing what teams are going to do this year. I think it's going to be a lot of trouble," Beckham said in June, via NJ.com. "Especially young Shep, I know he's ready. I know the other receivers in that room, TK (Tavarres King), are ready and our defense is going to be very solid as well. So I'm looking forward to this year."
If Marshall looks anything like he did in 2015, when he tallied 1,502 receiving yards and tied for the NFL lead with 14 touchdowns, then it's hard to imagine how any defense will be able to slow down the Giants.
The combination of Marshall and Beckham could be a lethal one, and if NFL history has taught us anything, it's that a lethal receiving combination can be enough to take you to the playoffs.
The possibility of Marshall and Beckham combining for 2,700 or more receiving yards this season isn't out of the question, and if that happens, the Giants will almost be a lock for the postseason. Since 1960, there have been 12 receiving duos who have combined for 2,700 or more yards and in 10 of those instances, the team they played for ended up in the postseason.
The Giants have experienced this first-hand. Back in 2011, Cruz and Nicks combined for 2,728 receiving yards on a Giants team that ended up winning the Super Bowl over New England. Coincidentally, the Patriots also had a duo (Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski) that combined for more than 2,700 receiving yards that year. Gronk and Welker combined for 2,896 yards that season.
If Marshall and Beckham do combine for 2,700 yards, they'd be the first NFL combo to do it since 2014, when the Broncos (Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders) and Packers (Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb) both accomplished the feat, and in something that's probably not a coincidence, both teams made the postseason that year.
If Shepard, Marshall and Beckham were to all hit the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, the Giants would become just the sixth team in NFL history -- along with the 1980 Chargers, 1989 Redskins, 1995 Falcons, 2004 Colts, 2008 Cardinals -- to produce three teammates who all hit the 1,000-yard mark in the same year.
Four of those teams ended up making the playoffs, and the one that didn't -- the Redskins -- missed out on the postseason despite finishing 10-6.
If the Giants' plan on offense this year is to just let Manning go bombs away, that plan might actually work. If Manning has already proven one thing, it's that he doesn't need a great running game to get to the Super Bowl. In 2011, the Giants ended up winning the Super Bowl even though they ranked dead last in rushing during the regular season.
Here's a list of the top receiving tandems of all-time and how their season ended. If Marshall and Beckham and crack their way onto the list in 2017, the Giants will likely be in for a big season.
|Team||No. 1||No. 2||Total yards||Record||Result|
|1995 Lions||Herman Moore||Brett Perriman||3,174||10-6||Lost wild card round|
|2000 Rams||Torry Holt||Isaac Bruce||3,106||10-6||Lost wild card round|
|2014 Broncos||Demaryius Thomas||Emmanuel Sanders||3,023||12-4||Lost divisional round|
|1961 Oilers||Charley Hennigan||Bill Groman||2,921||10-3-1||Won AFL title|
|2000 Broncos||Rod Smith||Ed McCaffrey||2,919||11-5||Lost wild card round|
|2011 Patriots||Wes Welker||Rob Gronkowski||2,896||13-3||Lost Super Bowl|
|2005 Cardinals||Larry Fitzgerald||Anquan Boldin||2,811||5-11||Missed playoffs|
|2014 Packers||Jordy Nelson||Randall Cobb||2,806||12-4||Lost NFC title game|
|2011 Giants||Victor Cruz||Hakeem Nicks||2,728||9-7||Won Super Bowl|
|2013 Broncos||Demaryius Thomas||Eric Decker||2,718||13-3||Lost Super Bowl|
|2013 Bears||Brandon Marshall||Alshon Jeffery||2,716||8-8||Missed playoffs|
|2000 Vikings||Randy Moss||Cris Carter||2,711||11-5||Lost NFC title game|
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