Last season, the New York Giants posted the league's fifth-best offense in terms of yards, and seventh-best in terms of scoring. In fact, in the past three years the Giants have finished in the top 10 in both of those offensive categories.
A major factor for the good play of the Giants offense has been the offensive line's ability to open holes in the run game as well as protect franchise quarterback Eli Manning. Having one of the best offensive lines in the league makes it that much easier for the rest of the team.
We've also seen a drastic improvement from Eli Manning. Although he may have taken a slight step back in 2010, his improvement from the 2007 season to now is definitely showing in the stat sheet.
He has been helped by the additions of Hakeem Nicks, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham during that span, so to say he's made the improvement alone is not the case.
This article is a projection of the offensive skill player statistics for the 2011 season. You should know going in that I am assuming the entire season is played, and that the lockout ends prior to training camp.
I am also going to be making a couple of assumptions, which I'll make clear on those slides.
Eli Manning has made drastic improvements, comparing his numbers prior to 2007's playoff run and the numbers since. The 2008 season was his best year in terms of taking care of the ball, but since the Giants have given him the reins to the offense the past two years, his interceptions have started to climb back up, culminating in the 25 he had this past season.
That said, he still has proven himself to be a top-10 QB in this league and gives the Giants a chance to compete for the division each and every year.
I expect him to cut down the interceptions in 2011 as about 10 of them were a result of bad bounces.
Best Season (2009): 317/509, 62.3%, 4021 yards, 27 TDs, 14 INTs, 93.1 QB rating
2011 Season: 300/485, 61.8%, 3734 yards, 28 TDs, 16 INTs, 91.2 QB rating
The Giants will take some of the pressure off Eli by getting back to the running game more often this season, bringing his attempts back below 500. As a team they increased their rushing attempts by 40 from 2009 to 2010; I expect them to get to somewhere in the 2008 range of 500+.
Ahmad Bradshaw had a breakout campaign in 2010 as the Giants turned the primary ball-carrying duties over to him, much to the chagrin of Brandon Jacobs.
Jacobs made it pretty well known that he wasn't happy with the Giants taking the starting label off him, but he would soon come to realize that the Giants had a brilliant plan in store.
They kept him fresh for the latter half of the season and it paid off, so much so that following the Giants' 31-7 win over the Redskins on December 5, Jacobs said postgame he was having more fun than in the Super Bowl season.
After the year ended, Tom Coughlin admitted he wished he would have let Jacobs carry the ball more, according to Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger, and with that I'll give you my predictions for the Giants running back tandem.
Best Season (2010): 276 carries, 1,235 yards, 4.5 ypc, eight TDs
2011 Season: 235 carries, 1,081 yards, 4.6 ypc, nine TDs
Bradshaw's numbers will dip a little, but only because Jacobs will get more involved in the offense.
Best Season (2008): 219 carries, 1,089 yards, 5.0 ypc, 12 TDs
2011 Season: 210 carries, 1,071 yards, 5.1 ypc, 13 TDs
Tom Coughlin is going to get this two-headed monster going in 2011 behind a finally healthy offensive line. It's going to be 2008 all over again.
The two combined for 423 carries and 2,058 yards in 2010, so 445 and 2,152 in 2011 is realistic, especially with a rediscovered commitment to the run.
The Giants have one of the best wide receiving corps in all the NFL. Mario Manningham is the Giants' third-best wide receiver who could be a No. 2 on a lot of teams, and even a No. 1 on a couple teams.
Hakeem Nicks emerged as one of the best receivers in the NFL last year over the first 10 weeks of the season, but a minor injury hampered his ability to be compared with the NFL's elite.
Nicks has been hard at work this offseason and reportedly has put on several pounds of muscle. With this being his first healthy offseason, he's been able to work on improving his game to make him one of the toughest to cover in the NFL.
Manningham made great strides last season when Steve Smith got hurt and could be needed to step up at the beginning of the 2011 season as well. Smith is coming off major knee surgery and although his rehab is going well, it's unknown whether he will ever be the same.
I wouldn't be surprised if Manningham saw more action split out and Smith was mainly utilized in the slot.
Best Year (2010): 79 rec, 1052 yards, 13.3 ypc, 11 TDs,
2011 Season: 94 rec, 1424 yards, 15.1 ypc, 12 TDs
Nicks is going to establish himself as one of the premier receivers in the league and make the Pro Bowl in 2011.
Best Year (2009): 107 rec, 1220 yards, 11.4 ypc, seven TDs
2011 Season: 70 rec, 784 yards, 11.2 ypc, two TDs,
Assuming Smith stays healthy, he'll have an impact, but it will mainly be as a third down security blanket for Eli Manning.
Best Year (2010): 60 rec, 944 yards, 15.7 ypc, nine TDs
2011 Season: 40 rec, 640 yards, 16.0 ypc, seven TDs
Super Mario established himself as one of the better deep-threat receivers in the league last year. Although he is technically the third wide receiver on the depth chart, the health of Smith could come into play and Manningham could be called upon to pick up the slack, which would cause his projected numbers to sky rocket.
The dip in his numbers is a combination of Nicks' improvement and the assumption that Smith stays healthy all season long
For some reason or another, Kevin Boss has not been as integral a part of the offense as many of us have hoped for over the years. After he replaced Jeremy Shockey during the 2007 season and played well, many had high hopes for Boss.
Unfortunately it hasn't played out that way, and I'm afraid the Giants will continue to run most of the passing offense through their wide receivers and not the tight ends.
Best Season (2009): 42 rec, 567 yards, 13.5 ypc, 5 TDs
2011 Season: 30 receptions, 411 yards, 13.7 ypc, 3 TDs
(For those skeptics counting, that's 3,259 of Eli's 3,734 yards, and 24 of his touchdowns.)
Boss will still be a productive, but his numbers will dip due to the drastic improvement of Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith getting back healthy.