It was a roller coaster ride for Giants fans. They started the season 6-2 with a bevy of comeback victories and a two-game division lead, then lost five of six and were searching for answers.
With two dominating wins to end the regular season, they punched their ticket for postseason play. It was not hard to find the good and the bad on this Giants team, and I have handed out awards as such.
Here are the best of and worst of awards for the New York Giants this season.
There should not be any doubt in anyone's mind who the MVP of the New York Giants has been in 2011. Eli Manning carried this team on his back and they would not be anywhere close to where they are without his clutch play.
He had the best year of his career, finishing with 4,933 yards, 29 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and a 92.6 QB rating.
Not only that, but he led the Giants on six game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and set the NFL record with 15 fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
Only Aaron Rodgers had a better QB rating in the fourth quarter this season.
What Eli Manning meant to the offense this season, Jason Pierre-Paul matched with what he meant to the defense.
The Pro-Bowl defensive end carried the defense in many games, coming up with huge play after huge play.
JPP led all defensive lineman in solo tackles with 65, total tackles with 86, was third in sacks with 16.5, recorded a safety, a blocked field goal and forced two fumbles.
He was an absolute monster this year and saved the Giants while Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora were dealing with injuries.
Victor Cruz exploded onto the NFL this year and has become one of the top wide receivers in the NFL. He finished the year with 82 catches, 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns.
He blew away Amani Toomer's old franchise record for yards in a season. He electrified crowds with his ability to make big plays. He had six touchdowns of 65 yards or more and was second only to Calvin Johnson with nine receptions of 40-or-more yards.
He also had a 99-yard touchdown reception, which tied an NFL record (obviously). Cruz was the man this season, helping fans forget a certain No. 12 who did absolutely nothing for the Eagles.
Although he did not have a spectacular season worthy of highlight reels, sixth-round pick Jacquian Williams had a terrific season for Perry Fewell's defense.
The Giants probably did not expect much from the South Florida product, but he finished the season with 78 tackles, one sack, four pass deflections and three fumble recoveries.
He showed a lot of promise while playing like a rookie at times. The bottom line: GM Jerry Reese and his staff found another late-round gem.
In April of 2010, 32 teams passed on Victor Cruz multiple times, and here he is today as a top-10 wide receiver in the NFL just a year later.
Cruz did not even get to see the field in 2010, but made the team based on an incredible preseason performance against the Jets on Monday Night Football.
It was foreshadowing what was to come.
Easily the most underrated player on the Giants this season has been Michael Boley. Not only for his contributions playing linebacker, but for the responsibilities he took on when Jonathan Goff was lost prior to the season opener.
Boley assumed the role of leader and play caller on defense. He made adjustments on the field and was such an important part of what Perry Fewell wanted to do.
It was such a blessing to see Boley make maybe the defensive play of the year for the Giants last night. On a fourth-and-one, early in the fourth quarter and the ball on the Giants 11, the Cowboys were threatening to bring the game within seven points.
They attempted a quick QB sneak, but Boley was not fooled. What happened is what you see pictured on this slide. Boley anticipated the snap, leapt over the line and prevented Romo from moving at all as the Giants held.
The play allowed the Giants to work some more clock and make the Cowboys potential comeback that much more difficult.
It is amazing the difference one player can make for an entire unit. Yes, there were improvements in the special teams coverage for the Giants this year, but Steve Weatherford was a huge reason for that.
He also did well as a holder for Lawrence Tynes. Knowing he had that ability allowed the Giants to release Sage Rosenfels in the preseason and clear some cap space by keeping David Carr as the backup QB instead.
There were a few candidates for this award, but Weatherford is the winner.
This was the hardest award to give out. The thought process behind this was what unit made the most improvement this year along with which unit was the most consistent.
The candidates I came up with were Tom Quinn, OL coach Pat Flaherty, DC Perry Fewell and WR coach Sean Ryan.
Quinn won over Flaherty and Fewell because the offensive line and defense were not consistent all year long. He got the nod over Ryan because the receivers were good already, so the improvement aspect was not there.
The Special Teams last year was one of the worst in the league—their coverage was downright embarrassing. This year saw drastic improvement; partly because the Giants brought in a ton of new players, but also because they were more disciplined.
After everyone wanted him run out of town last season, Quinn deserves a ton of credit for the job he's done.
When you finish dead last in yards per carry and rushing yards per game it is not that difficult to pick out the most disappointing player, or unit in this case.
I could have picked out the worst one, but this is a group that is supposed to work together and they did a terrible job of that for most of the year.
They improved a bit in their last five games—which hopefully continues throughout the playoffs—but overall it was a very bad year for the group up front.
When Terrell Thomas was lost for the season after tearing his ACL in a preseason game, all eyes turned to Aaron Ross as the potential savior.
He had been telling reporters he felt as healthy as he had since his rookie season and felt prepared to take on the extra responsibility.
Well it didn't exactly turn out like he had planned. Ross had a good game or two this season, but overall he was an abomination.
The Giants will likely look to add another secondary player in this year's draft, if anything else to add depth to the unit that lost four players to season-ending injuries before the season even started.
I'm really picking on the secondary here, but when you have the 29th-ranked pass defense, that should come as no surprise.
Prince Amukamara broke his foot the second day he practiced with the team in training camp and missed the first nine games of the season.
His debut was supposed to solve a lot of problems in the Giants' secondary, but it seemed to just create more. He did not show a single shred of coverage ability in the six games he played, and he even got benched against the Redskins.
He was supposedly going to use that as motivation moving forward, but the first-round pick barely saw action against the Jets and Cowboys so the coaching staff must not feel comfortable with him in the lineup.
Ironically, the Giants defense has played much better in those last two games, but I would chalk that up to the front seven getting more pressure on the QB than Amukamara's absence.
He is still a rookie who did not have any minicamps and missed the first 10 weeks (bye week) of practice, but what we saw this year was not impressive.
You might be thinking, "How can you give this award to the offensive coordinator of a team with a top-10 yardage and scoring offense?"
My answer to that is you must not have watched the games. Kevin Gilbride was his usual predictable, no-adjustment-making self this year and was bailed out by the brilliant play of Eli Manning.
I cannot count the number of times I was furious with Gilbride's play calling during the games this season. He needs to be replaced ASAP, but probably will not be unless Coughlin is let go.