NFL New York Giants

5 New York Giants Storylines to Keep an Eye On

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New York Giants: 5 Storylines

Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants' season is just one day from kicking off and the G-Men are one of the few teams in the NFL that still remains a mystery. Experts and analysts have varied with their predictions, some picking the Giants to make a playoff push, while others have left them on the outside looking in.

It seems to be a role that the Giants are becoming accustomed to. When New York hoisted the Lombardi trophy in 2007 and 2011, most people believed that they had overachieved. When the Giants missed out on the playoffs last year, people labeled them as underachievers. Apparently, this team is supposed to make the playoffs, but not make a deep run at the Super Bowl every season.

At least one person's expectations have stayed consistent, and that is general manager Jerry Reese. ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk reported Reese’s frustrations in late July.

“All I know is that we’ve been in the playoffs one time in the last four years and that’s really not acceptable for us,” Reese told Youngmisuk. “That’s not our standards. That’s not what we shoot for. We want to put everybody on notice, myself, everybody is on notice that that’s not our standard.”

It's clear that the Giants have their own set of standards, no matter what everybody else thinks. New York is going to have to strive for consistency this season and look to avoid the Six Flags-style roller coaster that many of their seasons have become in recent years.

Here are five New York Giants storylines to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

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Shifts in the Secondary

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The Giants caught a crushing blow in the preseason, losing safety Stevie Brown to a torn ACL. Ryan Mundy, an offseason acquisition who spent his first four years in Pittsburgh, will try and fill his shoes. Also look for Will Hill and rookie Cooper Taylor to see some time at safety. We may also be witnesses to a changing of the guard at the No. 1 cornerback slot. Corey Webster cannot afford another year as disastrous as 2012. Prince Amukamara is climbing the ranks and has solidified himself as a No. 2, but if Webster continues to struggle, Amukamara may take over as the No. 1 sooner than everybody initially envisioned.

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The Makeshift Offensive Line

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Center David Baas and tackle David Diehl both went down with injuries in the preseason. Baas could be back in week two or three, but Diehl may not be back until week five. In the meantime, head coach Tom Coughlin has been playing around with the o-line, first using Jim Cordle and then moving Kevin Boothe to the center spot. Rookie Justin Pugh has also been inserted into the starting lineup. If the line struggles, Coughlin will have some more mixing and matching to do until the Giants' injured starters can fully recover.

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The Revamped Defensive Line

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In the offseason, the Giants made improving the defensive line one of their top priorities. New York signed defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins and also used their second-round pick on defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, out of Ohio State. The run defense was abysmal a season ago and took a serious toll on the team. Keep an eye on the new additions, especially Jenkins, and see if they can be the difference makers.

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Rueben Randle vs. Hakeem Nicks

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Hakeem Nicks found a way into the hearts of Giants fans with his one-handed catches and elite playmaking ability. The problem is, and has always been, his health. Nicks is an injury-prone receiver and is entering a contract year. Many analysts are expecting a breakout year from second-year man Rueben Randle, who currently occupies the third receiver spot. If Nicks has another year hampered by injuries and Randle can establish himself as a consistent target for Eli Manning, this could be the last year Nicks will be sporting a Giants uniform.

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The David Wilson Show

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Running back Andre Brown was the latest Giant to get hit with the injury bug. He suffered a fracture in his left leg against the Patriots and has been placed on the injured-reserve list with an option of returning to the team in week eight. That means that second-year manDavid Wilson will become the feature back instead of splitting carries with Brown. Wilson has tremendous speed and is a big-play threat. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride should have a field day using Wilson on screens to get him into space. This is Wilson’s opportunity to show he was worthy of the first-round pick the Giants spent on him.