Giants vs. Patriots: Is New York the Super Bowl Favorite Next Season?

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants reacts in the first half while taking on the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Manning, named MVP, led the Giants to a 21-17 victory.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

So the New York Giants are the Super Bowl champs…so what’s next?

Do the Giants have what it takes to repeat as champions for the first time since the New England Patriots did it a decade ago?

In a word, no.

With free agency coming up on March 14th, GM Jerry Reese has some tough decisions to make.

Here is the list of free agents that the team has to make a decision on:

Receiver Mario Manningham; tackle Kareem McKenzie; cornerbacks Terrell Thomas and Aaron Ross; defensive end Dave Tollefson; punter Steve Weatherford; defensive tackle Rocky Bernard; safety Deon Grant; linebackers Jonathan Goff and Chase Blackburn; guard Stacy Andrews; quarterback David Carr; defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy; offensive lineman Tony Ugoh; defensive backs Derrick Martin and Justin Tryon; kick returner Devin Thomas; and punt returner Will Blackmon.

Manningham is going to seek a multi-year mega deal after making the catch of the Super Bowl and will likely get a better offer elsewhere. That is going to really limit the options for Eli Manning. Ross is likely to do the same, which would severely cripple an already shoddy pass defense.

The big weakness on the team lies in the secondary and the jury is still out on 2012 first-round pick Prince Amukamara. If they lose Ross, the 29th-ranked pass defense is going to be even worse.

What about their running game that was dead last in the regular season in total yardage?

With the way the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers are put together, there is no doubt all of them will be back and better than ever next season. The AFC has rising powers in the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals on top of the already elite New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

And Peyton Manning will be back playing…somewhere.

Winning the Super Bowl is all about being the hot team nowadays. The Giants got hot at the perfect time. They capitalized on being able to sneak into the playoffs at 9-7, but the fact remains they still lost seven times.

Remember when they were 7-7 and had just lost to the Washington Redskins for the second time?

People were calling the season a disappointment and head coach Tom Coughlin was on the hot seat. So while the Giants kept winning when it mattered most, they were not the best and most talented team during the 2011 season.

Will the Giants make the playoffs in 2013? Probably. But will Coughlin be able to masterfully push all of the right buttons at the perfect time yet again with a roster that is set to undergo a few significant changes while holding the bull's-eye of being the champs on their back?


Enjoy the celebration while it lasts Giant fans. 


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