Sporting news predicts the Giants to finish 12-4 and 1st in the NFC East. They predict that the Giants will beat Philadelphia in the Divisional Playoffs, beat Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game and beat New England in Super Bowl 44.
Here are the “7 Reasons”:
1) Championship Pedigree: The Giants have been there, done that. Many key players already own Super Bowl 42 rings. They still have the swagger of champions. Last season made them even hungrier. Until Plaxico Burress’ gun incident derailed them, the Giants looked ready to repeat. They feel cheated, as if their season went up in smoke when a gun went off in a nightclub. Burress is now gone and will not stand in their way. Nothing will.
2) Depth: This team is well equipped to handle injuries. Significant players have gone down over the past two seasons – Jeremy Shockey, Mathias Kiwanuka, Osi Umenyiora. Yet the Giants kept winning. General Manager Jerry Reese has assembled a formidable roster. The Giants are toast if Eli Manning goes down for the long term. But overall their roster is rock-solid.
3) Offensive Line: Guard Chris Snee and Center Shaun O’Hara are coming off Pro Bowl seasons. David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie are excellent tackles, and Rich Seubert is a dependable guard. The Giants led the league in rushing last season, as their backs were provided with gaping holes. Few backs run with Brandon Jacobs’ power and Ahmad Bradshaw’s game-breaking speed. Derrick Ward, who signed with the Buccaneers, will miss the Giants offensive line more than the Giants will miss him.
4) Ferocious pass rush: Justin Tuck became a star last season after Umenyiora suffered a season-ending injury. Together, they will make sandwiches out of quarterbacks, while Mathias Kiwanuka will rarely see double teams, making him even more effective. The Giants will miss defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, now head coach of the Rams. But the franchise was smart to promote former linebackers coach Bill Sheridan to defensive coordinator. Sheridan sat in meetings with Spagnuolo, and knows best how to deploy personnel. Remember Super Bowl 42, when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady spent much of the game on his back? The Giants have the personnel to do that again.
5) Tom Coughlin (in Iraq): The longer he coaches, the more the Giants reflect his tenacity. One of Coughlin’s heroes is former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. After the league meetings in March, Coughlin drove up the California coast to meet Wooden for the first time, and they talked for three hours. Like Wooden, Coughlin never thinks he knows it all. Late in his career, Coughlin had evolved into a players’ coach, without being too lenient. Hiring young head coaches has become trendy, but the league’s oldest head coach (Coughlin will be 63 in August) is still one of the best.
6) Eli Manning: It seems like this guy has been around for a decade, but he’s only 28. Manning has his supporters and his crtics, but has yet to reach his prime. He already wears a ring, and often plays his best in clutch situations. Quarterback is the most important position in team sports. In the fourth quarter, the Giants have a quarterback who makes plays.
7) Special teams: The punter (Jeff Feagles) is superb at pinning teams inside the 20. The placekicker (Lawrence Tynes) is reliable. The kick-coverage units are excellent. The Giants usually win the battle of field position and rarely waste scoring drives.