The New York Giants have been classified by the mainstream NFL media as a fluke.
The last time I checked, a fluke was type of fish. In some regions they are called "doormats," in others, the summer flounder. They also are voracious predators with very sharp teeth.
If that is the case, then a fluke is outwardly docile but extremely dangerous up close.
Bingo. They finally got it right. This Giant team looks like any other team in the league on the surface, but deep down they are the most dangerous team in the NFL. Read on.
Last season, the Giants came out of "nowhere" to win the Super Bowl.
Nowhere? The Giants weren't exactly the Tampa Bay Rays. This is a team that had qualified for the playoffs the previous two seasons. Granted, they were inconsistent, but they were 8-8 and 11-5 in the previous two seasons. Their 2007 record should have been at least 12-4, not 10-6.
Let's face it. There was no love for these Giants from the start.
The media loves the Dallas Cowboys and the San Diego Chargers. They loved their penchant for talent accumulation and their sexy potential. The Giants possessed those qualities but the media never beat the drum for them. So, when an "unknown" player by the name of David Tyree made an impossible catch to jettison this team past the unbeatable Patriots, the media played it up as if it were a fresh angle.
If you are true football fan, you would know that David Tyree is one of the game's most talented and hardest working players. He did in that game what he is known for—making game-changing plays. He was far from a secret weapon.
Going into this season, the Giants have been given little to no chance of repeating. The Cowboys are heavily favored. The Eagles, for some reason, are also predicted to finish ahead of the Giants. Neither one of these teams has won a Super Bowl in the new millennium and neither has shown much heart in their post-season efforts.
The myth is that the Giants have lost too many key players to make a run at the NFL Championship. The reality is they might be a better team without those players.
Issue: the Giants will miss Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora.
Will they? Strahan still had some gas in his tank, but realistically he was not the Strahan of old. Umenyiora had 13 sacks in 2007, but to be fair six of those came in a game against an inexperienced LT and an immobile Donovan McNabb.
They will be replaced by the real MVP of Super Bowl XXII—Justin Tuck—and former first rounder Mathias Kiwanuka, who is a bigger, faster, stronger version of Umenyiora. The pass rush may actually be BETTER in 2008.
Issue: the Giants linebackers and secondary are sub par.
Really? Antonio Pierce is the centerpiece at MLB, and at last glance he was one of the league's best. He will be surrounded by young players the Giants have been grooming—Gerris Wilkinson and Bryan Kehl. Remember those names.
As for the secondary, the Giants have been building through the draft. In 2005, their top pick was Corey Webster. In 2007, it was Aaron Ross. This year, the team spent their first two choices on Kenny Phillips and Terrell Thomas. They are five of the 10 defensive backfield players on the Giants' 2008 roster. They have quantity and quality at all positions now.
Issue: Super Bowl MVP or not, Eli Manning’" onclick="return(Jiglu.overlayOpen(this))">Eli Manning has still not turned the corner.
That, to me, means that his best days are still to come. That's a good thing. The truth is that Manning has finally realized that he has to be fastball pitcher in the NFL. He has to throw spirals—especially at home. In week 17 last season, he found that fastball. Since then, the Giants have been a force to be reckoned with.
This is a team that also has consistency at offensive line, an excellent WR corp and an unstoppable running game with Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.
So keep picking Dallas and Philadelphia and Minnesota to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
I'll stick with the Giants.
published from blogNYG.com