Thursday, August 19, 2010

2010 Preview: New York Giants

2009 Record: 8-8

2009 Rankings:
Total Offense - 8
Run Offense - 17
Pass Offense - 11
Scoring Offense - 8
Total Defense - 13
Run Defense - 14
Pass Defense - 15
Scoring Defense - 30

If you want to prove to someone that the complexion of the NFL changes every 4 weeks, show them game footage of the 2009 New York Giants. The Giants ran out to a 5-0 start then fell flat on their face, losing 4 in a row. Granted, only 1 of the Giants first 5 wins came against a team that had more than 5 wins last season and all 4 of their losses came against eventual playoff teams. For the most part, excluding their sweep of division champion Dallas, the Giants beat inferior teams and lost to superior teams, which is pretty much the definition of mediocrity. If anyone is looking to point a finger of blame, look no further than the 30th ranked scoring defense in the league. The Giants gave up 30+ points in 7 games (2-5 in those games) and 40+ points in 5 games (0-5 in those games).

To address these problems, the Giants went out and added safety Antrel Rolle from Arizona and MLB Keith Bulluck from Tennessee in free agency and Jason Pierre-Paul (DE-South Florida) in the draft. From their first preseason game, it is obvious that JPP has an insane amount of talent but his skill is still very raw. He is a pass-rusher to the core, and the Giants have the depth along the D-line to play him situationally and utilize his talents while he learns the system. With the return of CB Aaron Ross and S Kenny Phillips from injury, the Giants secondary should be vastly improved. There's no reason to believe this defense can't return to their 2008 form when they were one of the best in the league.

On offense, Eli Manning probably isn't going to light up the scoreboard like his brother, but he doesn't need to. The Giants boast a balanced attack with a solid tandem of bruiser Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw at running back. At receiver, the Giants have 3 very capable WRs: Steve Smith (107 rec, 1220 yds, 7 TD), Mario Manningham (57 rec, 822 yds, 5 TD), and Hakeem Nicks (47 rec, 790 yds, 6 TD). Additionally, tight end Kevin Boss is an underrated contributor to the passing game. Boss racked up 42 catches, 522 yds, and 5 TD last season. With a solid balance of run and pass and an improved defense, the Giants should be contenders in the NFC East once again.

The Giants are one of those teams that might not have great players at any one position, but they have a lot of good players that play really well together as a team. They probably won't blow anyone out of the water (except Detroit in week 6), but this is a team that has the depth and experience to make a run at the NFC East crown. Everyone has set out to crown the Cowboys as the NFC East champions, but let's not jump to conclusions. Remember, the Giants have won 4 of their last 5 against Dallas. The Giants are definitely a sleeper team in the NFC, and they have the talent to make a legitimate run at the playoffs.

Ian's Prediction: 11-5

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