The New York Giants are who we’ll be touching on today to continue our 32 NFL Team Preview. The Giants have had a lot of success in the 2000’s, reaching the Super Bowl 3 times and winning it twice. They’re coached by Tom Coughlin who ESPN ranked 14th in their list of Greatest Head Coaches of All Time (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/feature/index?page=greatestcoaches). Coughlin has a lifetime record of 162-128, 12-7 in the Playoffs, and led the Giants to 2 Super Bowl victories. If Coughlin and the Giants can win another Super Bowl in near future, they’ll be labeled as the next Dynasty Team in the NFL.
Offense: The Offense for the Giants ranked 14th in the NFL last season, placing 12th in the pass and 14th in the run. Their General on Offense is Eli Manning. Eli threw 52 yards short of 4,000 yards in 2012, with 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Manning is already number 1 in the history of the franchise in touchdown passes (211) and is 1,935 yards away from passing Phil Simms as their All Time leader in Passing Yards. His set of receiving options is arguably the best in the business and should help him break that record quickly this upcoming season. Victor Cruz has become one of the biggest threats at Wide Receiver in the NFL over the past 2 seasons. He’s accumulated 168 catches, 2,628 yards, and 19 touchdowns in that time, leaving many GM’s regretting that they didn’t take a chance on the un-drafted Receiver in the 2010 NFL Draft. Hakeem Nicks is the player who forms a two-headed monster at this position with Cruz. Nicks is very effective when he’s on the field but hasn’t played a 16-game season in his 4 years being a pro. When both these guys are in the game it makes life easier on the other Wide Receivers Rueben Randle, Louis Murphy, Jerrel Jernigan, and Ramses Barden. However, they’re not the only big time weapons for the Giants as pass catchers, as New York signed Brandon Myers during Free Agency. The Tight End had a career year for the Raiders last season, catching 79 passes for 806 yards and 4 touchdowns. If he can mirror that production in 2013, Secondary’s are going to have headaches playing against these guys on Sundays. The Offensive Line for the Giants got stronger through the Draft, when the team selected Justin Pugh 19th overall. Pugh comes from Syracuse University and will start at Right Tackle. Left Tackle William Beatty played in all 16 games for New York last season, only allowing 3 sacks total. It’ll be Beatty and Pugh’s responsibility to make sure Eli stays upright against the talented pass rushers in the NFC East. The starting Guards will be Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe. Snee is one of the longest tenured players on the Giants, being with the team since 2004. David Baas is going into his 3rd season with the team, his 9th in the NFL, and will be the starting Center. The Line is going to be responsible for making holes for Running Back David Wilson. Wilson averaged 5.0 yards per carry, on 71 attempts, during his rookie campaign last year and rushed for 358 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Running Back had some fumbling problems at Virginia Tech, but if anyone can fix a Running Back’s fumbling issues, it’s Tom Coughlin. Andre Brown will back him up. Brown was originally drafted by New York in the 2009 Draft but after being waived by the team and bouncing around 4 other organizations, made his way back to the Giants last season and ran for 8 touchdowns. He was having a good year until he broke his fibula in November. If Brown and Wilson can stay healthy, they should provide solid production for the team this upcoming season. New York shouldn’t have too many problems Offensively next year, as long as they can keep their Quarterback healthy.
Defense: New York’s Defense had a difficult season in 2012, ranking 31st in Total Defense (25th versus the run and 28th against the pass), but tied for 3rd in the league in interceptions. Their strength is the Defensive Line. Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck make up the Defensive Ends and are a handful for Offensive Tackles. Pierre-Paul had a bit of a disappointing season in 2012. I say this because he is regarded as one of the best pass rushers in the league, but only registered 6.5 sacks. He did however lead the team in tackles for loss though with 8. Tuck has slowed down some over the past few seasons, only having 9 sacks total, but plays the run very well. The team drafted Damontre Moore 81st overall. Moore tallied 26.5 sacks in 3 seasons at Texas A&M and will sub in relief with Mathias Kiwanuka. The Defensive Tackles for the Giants consist of Cullen Jenkins, Linval Joseph, and Shaun Rogers. Joseph is the youngest of the group and put up his best numbers last season with 59 combined tackles and 4 sacks. Jenkins comes over from Philadelphia to start along side Joseph. Rogers is looking to prove he can still play going into his 13th season. He’ll be competing with Johnathan Hawkins, who New York selected 49th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft, to be the main sub for the Tackles. I believe whoever wins that job in camp, will see a lot of time in running situations during the season. The Linebackers for the Giants are their weakest link. Keith Rivers was traded for in 2012, to play Outside Linebacker from Cincinnati, but hasn’t at all played with the expectations that come with being the 9th overall pick in the 2009 Draft. Aaron Curry is another Outside Linebacker that never lived up to the hype, being the 4th overall pick in the same draft as Rivers, and was signed in the offseason to compete with Jacquian Williams. Dan Connor signed with the Giants over Free Agency and should be the team’s starting Middle Linebacker. The Secondary got a surprise in production from the Strong Safety position last year season, when Stevie Brown stepped in for an injured player and tied for second in the NFL with 8 interceptions. Fans are hoping to see the same performance from him next year. Antrel Rolle is the starting Free Safety and has played well since being signed in 201o. He hasn’t lived up to being the highest paid Safety in NFL history though, as he was at the time of the Giants signed him. The Cornerback position is pretty stacked. Terrell Thomas was having great production in 2009 and ’10, intercepting 5 passes in each season, but hasn’t seen the field since tearing his ACL twice in as many years. Corey Webster has been a staple for New York at Cornerback intercepting 14 passes over the last 3 years for the team. Prince Amukamara was the 19th pick in the 2011 Draft, but has battled injuries since being selected, and hasn’t been able to play a full 16-game season. Jayron Hosley was a playmaker at Virginia Tech and, going into his 2nd NFL season, is looking to make his way into the starting lineup in 2013. The Secondary has just as much talent as the Defensive Line for the Giants. It’s highly unlikely that New York will struggle as badly as they did defensively last season.
End Result: The Giants are to be a tough matchup for their opponents in 2013, as usual. I think that they’ll finish with a record of 10-6.