Coming off a Super Bowl championship against the Patriots, the New York Giants were looking for a repeat. With having only lost to the Browns going into Week 14, the Giants looked like a repeat was inevitable.
Unfortunately, star receiver Plaxico Burress had a moment of stupidity and it cost him his season. From his suspension on, the Giants won one of their next four regular season games and were man-handled by the Eagles in the first game of the playoffs.
Eli Manning proved in 2007 season that he has what it takes to take a team to the promised land. He has a good arm, good accuracy, and good decision making. He also can be very elusive, as the Patriots well know, and knows how to get the job done when the game is on the line.
This year he should once again be able to take his team deep into the playoffs.
The Giants’ main reason for their success last season was the trio of Earth, Wind, and Fire.
Brandon Jacobs was the rock of the team as he plowed through opposing lines wearing down the defense and this year he will be out plowing once again.
Derrick Ward flew past the defense for his first 1,000 yard season, but his efforts earned him a free agent contract in Tampa so it will be up to the youngster Danny Ware to carry some of the load.
Ahmad Bradshaw scorched a trail when it came to the fourth quarter. He will be the No. 2 back this season, so he can no longer wait until the end to contribute.
The force that made the way for these three was and will be again fullback Madison Hedgecock. He is slowly becoming one of the best fullbacks in the league. He also adds a reliable check down option for Eli.
The offensive line has maybe one person even mentioned by most football fans, but the Giants' line is one of the best in the NFL.
This is not the biggest bunch, but the technique and tenacity are what makes them a brutal line. This group loves to run block, but lineman like O’Hara and Snee make will make sure Manning has the time to choose where he wants to throw it.
The defense is the strength of the team and one of the most feared around. It is the second best defense in the NFL and can get to the quarterback like none other.
The line is the best in the NFL as there is depth upon depth.
The line is led by sack masters Justin Tuck and the returning Osi Umenyiora. These two make the best pair of ends in the NFL and will terrorize every quarterback they face. Up the middle, the line gained depth through free agency by adding Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard who were stars on their former line, but they may be the backups to Fred Robbins and Barry Coefield.
The linebackers are the beneficiaries of such a deep line. Led by Antonio Pierce, this group has a nose for the ball and provides good experience to the defense.
The group also gained Michael Boley who seemed to be in on every tackle last season in Atlanta. Clint Sintim could be a surprise starter later in the year as he’s been showing that he can get a lot of face-to-face meetings with opposing quarterbacks and has shown skills from the three point stance on the line.
The secondary is still young, but they play beyond their years. Kenny Phillips and Michael Johnson are the eyes of the defense and the leaders of the secondary. Corners Webster and Ross have talent, but they are susceptible to big plays.
The whole country knows that the Giants' offense was not the same when Burress was suspended. The offense just did not seem to have the same big-play ability.
This year someone will need to step up into that big play role, but there are no more veterans left as Toomer also departed and Tyree is on the verge of getting cut.
The team drafted Hakeem Nicks and 6’6" Ramses Barden to hopefully fill the role.
The Giants' receivers are very young and it will take some time before Eli gets familiar with them. It is very likely that there will be a lot of dropped passes and nerves in the first part of the season.
This is the only thing, other than the Eagles, that stands between them and another championship.
Brandon Jacobs is a top-10 back who will see even more carries due to Ward moving on.
Kevin Boss should emerge as a top fantasy tight end. There is no No. 1 receiver in New York, so Eli will be looking for Boss as his security blanket and maybe even the go-to guy.
The defense is tops in the NFC. It will be at the top in sacks with Osi back and will force a lot of turnovers.
The sleepers are Bradshaw at running back as he is now the No. 2 back, and the other is Barden, who should become the play-maker and red zone target that was lost by the departure of Burress.
11-5, second place