Super Bowl 2012: Will a Repeat Earn the New York Giants a Dynasty Label?
I know that the confetti's barely stopped falling, but with a roster that should return more-or-less intact, an elite quarterback in Eli Manning at the top of his game, a variety of offensive weapons at his disposal and a fearsome pass rush, the Giants should be well poised to make another run at the NFC East title next season.
Should they do that, and once again not only advance to the postseason but emerge from Super Bowl XLVII victorious for their second straight championship and third under Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, then there's little doubt that a certain term will start getting thrown around.
Before we put the cart before the horse, let's take a look at what the Giants would need to do to even advance to the Super Bowl again, much less win it.
It's unknown as of yet exactly where the Giants sit in relation to the 2012 salary cap, but given the wiggling they had to do to get under the 2011 cap, it's probably a safe bet that Big Blue won't have a lot of room to make any big free-agent splashes.
Luckily for the Giants they also don't have many prominent players hitting the open market, with the biggest names being wide receiver (and Super Bowl hero) Mario Manningham and cornerback Terrell Thomas, who spent the entire 2011 season on injured reserve.
Both Manningham and Thomas are capable NFL players, but neither is a superstar by any stretch, so the loss of one (or both) wouldn't be that significant a blow to the Giants so long as they acquire serviceable replacements for them in free agency and/or April's draft.
If there is one glaring area of need for New York it's at middle linebacker, where Johnathan Goff was lost to an ACL tear before the season began, forcing the Giants to rotate a menagerie of players into and out of the lineup at the position all season long.
That said college football's leading tackler in 2011, Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, may well be available when the Giants pick at the end of the first round, and Kuechly could provide an easy and obvious fit in the middle of New York's 4-3 if the Giants aren't confident about the status of Goff's knee.
Assuming that the G-Men roll into 2012 with a similar (or even improved) group of personnel, there's little reason to think that they won't be considered the favorites in the NFC East, especially after the roller-coaster 8-8 disappointments of years just turned in by their main competitors in the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
Would a Third Title in Six Years Make the Giants a Dynasty?
Unfortunately the 2012 NFL schedule makers once again didn't do the Giants any favors following this season's third-hardest schedule in the league. In addition to the NFC East contests next year's slate features home games with the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, and trips to play the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals on the road.
Ouch. Getting a wild card may be tricky with that schedule, so New York may once again have to win the NFC East to make a run at defending their championship.
However, if the Giants can keep their team relatively intact (which seems pretty likely), once again emerge from atop the NFC East gauntlet (less likely, but still very much a possibility) and then go on another seemingly patented Eli Manning playoff run, ending next February the same way they will this one...
Then yep, things are going to get pretty Dy-nasty in the Big Apple.
Just think of what that would do to Rex Ryan.
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