There are many striking similarities to the offseasons prior to 2008 and 2012. Those were both years in which the Giants were Super Bowl Champs, and both free agency periods were not kind to the Giants.
In 2008, the Giants lost Kawika Mitchell and Gibril Wilson as they signed free agent contracts; this year the Giants cut Brandon Jacobs (due to a contract dispute) and failed to re-sign wide receiver Mario Manningham.
Despite being Super Bowl champions, the Giants are not the common pick to win the division the following year.
After the Giants came together and won it all in 2007, they came out firing the next season despite taking a perceived hit on their depth chart. They started the season 11-1 before losing four of their final five games, including a playoff game.
Can this team come together and be a complete team like they were in 2008? That year the Giants were the No. 1 rushing team, and the defense was stout under Steve Spagnuolo.
It would take a huge change for the Giants to be considered a complete offensive team again. They were dead last rushing the football in 2011 and had to overcompensate by utilizing Eli Manning's arm.
The defense could see vast improvements with how many players they are getting back from injury as well as the trade they made for Keith Rivers, former No. 9 overall pick in the 2008 draft.
I wouldn't expect to see the Giants come out of the gates as they did in 2008, but a 5-1 start is not outlandish.
Nine wins will get you close to the playoffs, but the Giants found out in 2010 that even 10 wins doesn't guarantee a spot. With brutal common opponents for every team in the division, the difference in NFC West opponents could make a huge difference.
Where the Giants play the 49ers, the Cowboys play the Seahawks and the Eagles play the Cardinals. There is a noticeable dropoff in talent from the 49ers to the others. In a tight divisional race, that basically makes the 49ers game a must win for the Giants.
The NFC East race will come down to a game or two, and hopefully the Giants are on the right end of that differential.