Despite going 10-6 last season, returning Giants players want payback for their crucial Week 15 loss at home to the Philadelphia Eagles on the last play of the game, when DeSean Jackson returned a punt 65 yards to cap off a heartbreaking defeat for the Giants.
Given that GM Jerry Reese and the front office did not do enough to keep pace with the Eagles, Manning and company will have their hands full, and though a playoff berth is likely, it is not guaranteed.
Looking at the Giants offense, the running game will be solid. Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, and Danny Ware are a scary trio for opposing defenses, with Jacobs pounding and wearing out defenders, and Bradshaw and Ware bouncing to the outside and breaking free for prolonged runs.
The passing attack is decent but slightly weakened from last year, with WR Steve Smith and TE Kevin Boss departing for more money elsewhere. However, WR’s Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, and Domenik Hixon will be Eli Manning’s key targets, each one with plenty of talent to make the Giants’ offense one of the league’s most potent and well-rounded.
Defensively, the 4-3 alignment has two elite pass rushers up front, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, along with stud linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. Behind them in the secondary stand CB Corey Webster, S Terrell Thomas, and S Antrel Rolle, all outstanding at their positions.
The only concern is their ability to tackle and tendency to give up the “big play,” which they have been prone to doing recently. Overall, though, Big Blue’s defense should be above average, especially since they can really rush opposing quarterbacks with authority.
Glancing again at the Giant’s schedule, they will undoubtedly hit a rough patch from weeks 9-14, facing five of the NFL’s elite in that span. That being said, they have a terrific chance at making the playoffs, although how far they go depends on Eli Manning hitting his receivers and their defense making big plays when they need it most. A 9-7 record could very well land them the 6th and final playoff spot in the NFC.