The New York Giants open the 2014 regular season Monday at 7 p.m. ET against the Lions in Detroit on ESPN's "Monday Night Football." Here are three things to watch as the Giants try to avoid a repeat of last year's 0-6 start.
1. Are they being careful with the ball? Giants quarterback Eli Manning led the league with a career-high 27 interceptions last year. The Giants led the league with 40 turnovers, including two Curtis Painter interceptions and the team's 11 lost fumbles. Coach Tom Coughlin hinted recently that part of the reason the passing game was AWOL in the preseason was because the Giants were focused on re-establishing their run game. Coughlin feels the run-game troubles last season deprived the offense of balance and led to the turnover problems. So if the Giants look conservative out of the gate, it could be because their coaches are in their ears about the vital importance of not turning over the ball. They turned it over six times in their prime-time opener in Dallas last year and left Coughlin baffled. If anything like that happens again in this opener, the coach's reaction likely would be more severe.
2. How does Jason Pierre-Paul look? The Giants' ultra-talented pass-rusher says he's fully healthy for the first time since early in the 2012 season, and that he's determined to be the player he was in 2011, when he had 16 sacks and helped lead the Giants to the Super Bowl. This is Pierre-Paul's first chance to make his bold summer predictions come true, and we'll be watching closely to see whether he flashes the speed and explosiveness we remember from that breakout season three years ago. Pierre-Paul is playing for a contract this season, and if he can perform at an elite level, the Giants' pass rush has a chance to move back toward the top of the league.
3. What will they do in the red zone? The Giants have tended to run the ball when they get close to the goal line in recent years. Will they run it with Rashad Jennings? Andre Williams? Peyton Hillis? Or will they throw the ball more when they get in close, to a tall wideout like Rueben Randle or Corey Washington or to one of their towering tight ends? There are a lot of questions about new coordinator Ben McAdoo's offense, but one of the biggest is how the Giants plan to finish off drives.