New York Giants Predictions
The New York Giants didn’t exactly look like a Super Bowl team when they entered the playoffs at 9-7. Nevertheless, they were the team hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at season’s end.
With little help from the running game, Eli Manning was forced to put the offense on his back. He delivered. He showed the doubters that he should be considered among the league’s elite quarterbacks.
The Giants finished eighth in the NFL in total offense in 2011 with 385.1 yards per game. They ranked ninth in the league in scoring with 24.6 points per contest. A passing attack that ranked fifth in the league with 295.9 yards per game made up for a running game that was the worst in the NFL.
Manning completed 359 of 589 passes for 4,933 yards with 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. The interception total needs to decrease, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since the offense relied on him to make things happen.
82 of Manning’s completions went to Victor Cruz, who led the team with 1,536 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches. Hakeem Nicks, who hauled in 76 passes for 1,192 yards and seven scores, combines with Cruz to give the Giants a nice one-two punch at the wide receiver spots.
In order to improve the running attack, the Giants drafted Virginia Tech’s David Wilson in the first round. Ahmad Bradshaw, who rushed for 659 yards and nine touchdowns last season, will remain the starter.
The line was pretty solid in terms of pass protection must do a better job of opening holes this year. Getting left tackle Will Beatty back from an eye injury will help some.
It all starts up front. Ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora helped the Giants tie for third in the league with 48 sacks. Pierre-Paul had a breakout season with 16.5. It’s safe to say the G-Men wouldn’t have made a Super Bowl run without this group bring the heat.
The linebacker unit was underwhelming. That’s why New York has brought in Keith Rivers, who adds athleticism and speed. Mathias Kiwanuka played well enough to earn a three-year extension, but the Giants are looking for more production from Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley.
Despite boasting one of the top pass-rushing units in the league, the Giants ranked 29th in the NFL against the pass, allowing 255.1 yards per game. They know they need to be better in coverage this year. Having Prince Amukamara on the field would certainly help.
NFC East Prediction: 2nd Place
The Giants got hot at just the right time, just like they did in 2007, and rode the momentum to a Super Bowl win. They defied the odds by winning it all despite having the worst running game in the league and a porous secondary.
I’m not taking anything away from last year’s accomplishment, but the Giants are not the most talented team in the NFC East. Because of that, they’ll have a hard time repeating as division champs. They only went 3-3 against division foes in 2011 while the Philadelphia Eagles went 5-1.
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