If you ask anyone on the Giants their goals for the 2011 season, they’d probably tell you to make the playoffs, win the division and to make it to Super Bowl XLVI. However, these five players have a chance to put up excellent individual numbers in 2011.
The Giants are an extremely talented team who have trouble executing as a unit. Regardless of where the G-Men end-up in the standings, I expect these five guys to have an exceptional season.
Outside of throwing 25 interceptions in 2010, Eli Manning put up excellent numbers. He passed for over 4,000 yards and threw for 31 touchdowns. Ten of Eli’s picks were either tipped or dropped by his young receiving corps. If he can make better decisions with the football in 2011, he’ll put up some of the best numbers in the NFC.
Of all the guys on this list, Eli offers the most uncertainty. There’s no question that he can put up solid yardage and touchdown marks, but the turnovers are keeping him out of that “elite” class he’s so sure he’s a part of. This season could be make or break for the Giants’ QB.
At just 25-years-old, Jonathan Goff is emerging as the heart and soul of the Giants’ inexperienced linebacking corps. The Giant front office expressed their adoration for Goff by not making any noise at the MLB position during the free-agent signing period.
The 2008 fifth-round pick will likely improve on an impressive 80 tackle campaign in 2010. With opposing offenses focusing on New York’s explosive defensive ends. Goff could have a field day in 2011.
Jason Pierre-Paul is the real deal. At 6'5", and over 270 pounds, he has excellent speed coming off the outside. He ran a 4.71 at the combine and has shown great acceleration all preseason. With Osi Umenyiora starting the season on the sidelines, Pierre-Paul will have his chance to shine.
Even when Osi returns, Pierre-Paul will still see a lot of playing time as part of the Giants main D-line rotation. He had 4.5 sacks in 2010 with limited playing time. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hit double-digits in 2011.
Brandon Jacobs has averaged over six yards per carry this preseason. Since Ahmad Bradshaw has taken over as the primary back, Jacobs has been dominating. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry in 2010 and scored nine times.
Bradshaw is technically the starting running back, but Jacobs will likely have the better season. He carried the ball just 147 times in 2010, and if Bradshaw continues to put the ball on the ground, that number could near 200. I expect Jacobs to eclipse the century mark in rushing yards for the first time since 2008.
Hakeem Nicks could easily put up the best numbers of any receiver in the NFC. In spite of being just over six feet tall, Nicks is extremely physical and has no trouble overpowering opposing CBs. He’s showed Giants fans he’s ready for the regular season by catching five passes for 71 yards against the Jets and their excellent secondary. If he played the full game, he would have easily exceeded 100 yards.
With Manningham establishing himself as a legitimate downfield threat, opposing defenses will only double team Nicks in certain situations. Expect All-Pro numbers in 2011.
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