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Saturday August 30, 2008 8:54 am

NFL Preview: New York Giants

Posted by Dean Browski Categories: NFL,

Eli Manning of the New York Giants

2007 RECORD: 10-6
Overview: The New York Giants had the best postseason run in NFL history and possibly sports history last year.  To win three straight road games in the playoffs and to then knock off the seemingly invincible New England Patriots in the Super Bowl was absolutely amazing.  I don’t blame anyone for getting caught up in the Giants of the last four games, but let us not forget the Giants of the first 16 games.  Be excited about Eli Manning, be excited about the duo at the running back position, but we must curb our enthusiasm for many other aspects of this team in 2008.

Offense: Offensively, the Giants had success in last year’s playoffs because of one thing they did and one thing they didn’t do.  They ran the ball, and ran it well; mixing Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.  What they didn’t do was turn the ball over.  Manning showed some moxy, but that shouldn’t be confused with being a great QB.  Eli still has much to prove.  Are you willing or able to forget the 3 INTs for TDs against the Vikings in Week 12?  Plaxico Burress missed most of camp and even if his ankle is 100%, I am not sure his heart is.  David Tyree will always be remembered, but he shouldn’t be counted on, and Amani Toomer is old and slow.  The Giants need Steve Smith to show some flashes of his USC days, and Mario Manningham to step up quickly or there won’t be many open wide receivers for Eli.  What this all means is that the Giants must continue what they started at the end of last year.  That is, control the ball, don’t turn it over, and allow the defense to be their best offense.  Getting rid of Jeremy Shockey will aid the Giants’ cause to that end. 

Defense: The Giants lost a lot of people from last year’s defensive unit.  Kawika Mitchell, Gibril Wilson, Reggie Torbor, and Michael Strahan are gone from a unit that was the reason they are the defending Super Bowl champs.  More specifically, the Giants D-line made everyone on the defensive unit better.  Osi Umenyiora will be able to provide pressure on the outside, but his 13 sacks of last year are a bit misleading when you recall that six of them came in one game.  Mathias Kiwanuka will be back on the field after breaking his leg against the Detroit Lions and will need to be at his athletic best.  The question with Kiwanuka is will he play as a defensive lineman or a linebacker?  He may be needed at linebacker, but is better at the other positions.  (This preview was prepared prior to Osi Umenyiora being lost for the season.  With that, and Michael Strahan’s wise decision to stay retired, Kiwanuka will be devoting his time solely to the D-Line.)  Antonio Pierce is going to need have the leadership year of his career in 2008 to make up for a lack of depth at the LB position.  There are a lot of athletes in the Giants secondary and have an excellent cover guy in Aaron Ross.  My concern for them is what happens if the front seven does not apply the same type of steady pressure that they did last year? 

Rookies: The Giants took two defensive backs with their first two picks in this year’s draft.  Kenny Philips from the University of Miami has a chance to contribute right away, especially if he shows the ability to make tackles.  I believe the Giants did the best they could to address their WR needs, getting Mario Manningham with the 95th pick overall.  He could be Amani Toomer’s pet project, being that he too played at the University of Michigan.  I find it funny that the Giants like to take QBs from Kentucky, drafting Andre Woodson with the 198th pick.  If you recall, oversized Jared Lorenzen was from Kentucky, but is now with the Colts.

Prediction: I mentioned previously that the Giants took good care of the ball during last year’s playoffs.  That is not to say they didn’t try to turn the ball over, they just happened to get some fortunate bounces.  If I were a betting man, which I am, I wouldn’t bet that the ball is going to bounce as well for the Giants this year as it did last. Don’t expect this team to rest on its laurels though either.  The early schedule is favorable for the Giants, with the toughest of their first six games coming after their BYE (Seattle Seahawks).  There is a great chance for the Giants to start 6-0 before they play the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles in consecutive weeks.  Despite a favorable schedule, I have doubts about the Giants consistency.  I predict the Giants will go 10-6 in 2008.

View All of Dean Browski’s 2008 NFL Team Projections



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