With the 2011 season set to begin officially (hopefully) this weekend, it's time to start thinking about our favorite teams and their chances to bring home the Lombardi Trophy.
The past two seasons have not ended the way anyone would have expected. 2009 saw a 5-0 start turn in to an 8-8 finish, and 2010 saw a devastating loss to the Philadelphia Eagles derail the Giants' season.
Prior to the conclusion of that game, the Giants were 9-4 and up 21 on the verge of taking a game lead over the Eagles in the division.
The past two seasons have ended in heart breaking fashion. The Giants followed up the Eagles loss with a 45-17 loss on the road to the eventual champion Green Bay Packers—a game that many point to as the one that jump started the Packers run to the Super Bowl.
The 2011 season comes with a lot of promise for the Giants. They were one of the NFL's most balanced teams in 2010, but the season was marred by a ridiculous amount of turnovers.
In fact, the rise in giveaways over the past two seasons is appalling. The Giants turned the ball over only 13 times in 2008, but that number increased to 31 in 2009, and all the way up to 42 in 2010.
That's 2.625 turnovers per game. You can't expect to win when you give the ball to your opponents more than twice per game.
Of course, the Giants did force a league high 39 turnovers, which attributed to them still having a winning record.
42 turnovers is outlandish, and there is no way anyone can expect that to happen again, since it rarely has under Tom Coughlin.
The high number during his tenure before 2010 was 34, and the average per season is only 25, so we should expect at least a double digit decrease in turnovers.
If and when that happens, it will propel this balanced team to the top.
What are some other reasons to get excited? Let's take a look.
I still can't figure out why there aren't any pictures of Fewell in a Giants shirt from Getty Images.
The Giants featured the No. 7 defense in the NFL in terms of yards allowed per game. Here are some other numbers:
- No. 9 against the pass at 209.5 yards per game
- No. 8 against the run at 101.3 yards per game
- No. 17 in points allowed at 21.7 per game
- No. 5 with 46 sacks.
- No. 1 with 39 turnovers forced
Perry Fewell had an incredibly successful 2010 season, and it was no surprise that he was one of the most coveted head coaching prospects.
Thankfully, he did not get hired, so we get at least one more year with him. This is starting to become a recurring theme with the Giants. John Fox, Steve Spagnuolo and eventually Perry Fewell all went on to become head coaches after a couple of seasons as the Giants defensive coach.
Something in me believes Fewell is here to stay and this is Coughlin's last season. He will go out on his own terms, but if the Giants have a good year, he may retire.
With the additions of Prince Amukamara and Marvin Austin in the 2011 NFL Draft, this defense can get even better.
Not only that, but another year with Fewell will make this a dangerous unit. At times last year, they looked like they were still adjusting to Fewell's schemes, but another year in camp with him should all but clear that up.
The Giants ended the season in heartbreaking fashion, prompting the critics everywhere to start talking about how much the Giants choked.
With the way they lost that game to the Eagles, I'd buy that, but I don't believe they deserved the amount of criticism they got.
A 10-win season with that schedule is pretty impressive. Although in New York, respectable seasons don't get you anywhere—we want playoff berths.
As it happens, they got a ton of criticism, which will fuel their fire for the 2011 season. This team has typically performed at their best when everyone counts them out, and even after a 6-10 season, I'm still hearing more people say the Cowboys are the better team.
Give me a break. I can't wait to see how much this team dominates out of the gates.
(Video contains music that may be offensive, but it was the best video)
My favorite part of this video is around 2:37, when he catches a touchdown against Carolina in Week 1 and points to the turf of the end zone, as if to say "I'm here to stay."
Hakeem Nicks is going to emerge as a top five wide receiver in the NFL this season. I'd be willing to wager a decent amount of money to back up that statement.
Let's look at his numbers.
- 79 catches—No. 12 in NFL
- 80.9 yards per game—No. 5
- 11 touchdowns—tied for No. 4
He did this in 13 games. If you add the 18 catches from those three games he missed with a broken toe, he would have 97 catches, placing him 3rd in the NFL.
Judging by his 2010 season, he is already a top five wide receiver, but he doesn't get the recognition he deserves.
I can't wait to see this guy in action. He has supposedly added between five and 10 pounds of muscle this offseason—it's the first offseason that he's not had to recover from injuries and is clearly taking advantage.