New York Giants: 5 Reasons Giants Should Be Wary of Super Bowl Hangover
It's nearly impossible to repeat as Super Bowl champions in the NFL.
The New York Giants possess the necessary talent and leadership to make another Super Bowl run in 2012-13, but it won't be easy. There are a number of factors standing in the way of a Super Bowl XLVII victory for the Giants in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Here are five reasons it'll be difficult for the G-Men to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
Free Agency, Contract Issues
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Free agency and touchy contract negotiations could possibly hurt the Giants in 2012.
After Mario Manningham made an improbable 38-yard catch down the sideline to help propel the Giants to Super Bowl glory, he basically guaranteed himself a pay raise, and it most likely will not be with New York.
Defensive lineman David Tollefson, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, safety Deon Grant and cornerback Terrell Thomas are also key free agents this offseason. Cornerback Aaron Ross is also a free agent, but the re-signing of Thomas would negate Ross's departure if he did leave New York.
However, if the G-Men can address these issues through free agency and the 2012 NFL draft, they won't have much to worry about.
The Philadelphia Eagles
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As a Giants fan, it pains me to say this, but the Philadelphia Eagles will play well in 2012.
Similar to the Miami Heat, the Eagle's 2011 season was one of disappointment and a learning process.
It's been reported that the Eagles will franchise tag star wideout DeSean Jackson, who was a major distraction for Philadelphia last season.
Jackson went from two back-to-back 1,000-plus-yard seasons and a combined 15 touchdowns to less than 1,000 yards and a mere four touchdowns in 2011.
Philadelphia began its promising season just 4-8, but turned it around at the end, going 7-1 to close out its play and give itself momentum heading into the 2012 season.
The Giants went 1-1 against Philly last season, defeating Michael Vick in Week 3 but falling short to Vince Young Week 11.
New York should be wary of the Eagles heading into 2012.
Questions at WR
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As stated earlier, Mario Manningham is a free agent and will most likely be looking to cash in on his Super Bowl XLVI performance.
Manningham's 2011 season was overshadowed by the emergence of Victor Cruz.
Manningham had just 39 receptions, 523 yards and four touchdowns in 12 games during the regular season, but he stepped up immensely during the postseason, accumulating 189 yards and three key touchdowns for the G-Men.
While I don't think it will be a distraction, Cruz has requested a pay raise in New York, and rightly so. His 2011 breakout season saw him catch 82 balls for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns.
If Manningham walks, the Giants will be forced to look towards the draft or free agency to add a wide receiver on the outside, as Cruz has proved to be the slot man.
It should be an interesting offseason for the G-Men in the wide receiver department.
It's Difficult to Repeat
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Only seven teams in the history of the National Football League have repeated as Super Bowl champions.
Great head coach and quarterback tandems are usually the key to repeats in the NFL, which is something the Giants possess. Yet, while the Giants do have the coaching and quarterback to certainly contend for another Super Bowl title in 2012, it's highly unlikely they'll be successful.
As of right now, there are too many questions on both sides of the ball for the Giants to be thought of as the favorite heading into next season.
But then again, no one expected Big Blue to win Super Bowl XLVI.
Questions in the Running Game
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The running game wasn't an effective tool for the Giants in their Super Bowl run as it was back in 2008, but that doesn't mean Eli Manning and the passing offense can shoulder the load again next season.
Victor Cruz will likely see more double coverage and bumping at the line. Of course, Hakeem Nicks can torch a defense, too, but a productive rushing game would benefit New York in 2012.
After averaging more than 137 yards per game on the ground in 2010, the Giants mustered an NFL-worst 89.2 in 2011.
As stated earlier, Brandon Jacobs' status in New York is up in the air, and the Giants still have questions on the offensive line. New Orleans Saints' offensive lineman Carl Nicks will hit the free agent market this offseason and is someone the Giants should look to acquire.
If New York doesn't bolster its running game in the offseason, it'll have more trouble on the offensive side of the ball in 2012.