Current Odds as provided by WagerWeb:
NFL East Futures Odds: +250
Super Bowl: +2200
Win Total: 9.5 (Over +110 Under -150)
No matter what happens during the offseason, the New York Giants have made a habit out of being one of the most mysterious teams in the league. Just when you think things are going to implode, they circle the wagons and go on a run that leads to an improbable Super Bowl Championship, as was the case in 2007. Just when you think this team has its act together, things quickly come unraveled as they did in 2009, when the Giants started the season 5-0 only to wind-up 8-8 and out of the playoffs. The bottom line is that New York has managed to win at least 10 games in four of its last six seasons and has not finished under .500 since 2004.
Eli Manning may have not racked up nearly as much hardware that his only brother Peyton, but the eight-year vet out of Mississippi is still one of the best signal-callers in the league. Much like his team, Eli is a mixed bag of tricks at times with last season being a prime example. He threw for more than 4,000 yards and had a career-high 31 touchdown passes, but he personally turned the ball over 30 times with 25 interceptions and five lost fumbles. His overall quarterback rating dipped to 85.3 percent; the lowest rating in three years. Nonetheless as Manning goes, so go the Giants.
Fortunately, he will have a solid running game still in place with the re-signing of Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combined for 2,058 rushing yards and 17 TDs last season. The passing game will feature Hakeem Hicks and Mario Manningham as the two primary receivers, but New York will have to replace TE Kevin Boss and WR Steve Smith, who were both lost to free agency.
The drama concerning Osi Umenyiora’s attempt to land a new contract appears to be on the back-burner as the disgruntled lineman is once again practicing with the team. Of bigger concern is the broken foot of No.1 draft pick Prince Amukamara, who was brought in to help add some depth in the secondary. He is expected to be out for at least one to two months. New York also added some youth up front with the selection of defensive lineman Austin Martin in the second round, and some veteran depth with the signing of nose tackle Gabe Watson, who spent five seasons in Arizona. The main thing the Giants accomplished was re-signing a couple of key players from last year’s squad that ended the season ranked seventh in the NFL overall.
The loss of Boss and Smith from the receiving corps could hurt, but Head Coach Tom Coughlin has more than enough confidence in the players he does have. One new face in the crowd that could have an impact in the passing game is WR Jerrel Jernigan, who was selected in the third-round of the draft. He has already garnered some rave reviews in training camp and should be able to work his way more and more into the lineup as the season progresses.
General Manager Jerry Reese defended the Giants’ lack of activity in the free agent market by insisting the talent this team needs to get back on top in the East is already on the roster. Given the fact that this team has already done more with less, makes you believe he may have a point.
2011 New York Giants Schedule
When the Giants went to the Super Bowl in 2007, the New England Patriots along with the rest of the AFC East were on the schedule, as is the case this year. They will also face the NFC West this year with San Francisco and Arizona on the road. The roughest stretch of the schedule is Week 11 through 14 when New York squares off against the Eagles and Packers at home, mixed in with games against New Orleans and Dallas on the road. A .500 record through that stretch would almost guarantee a 10-win season and a possible return to the postseason after a two-year hiatus.
New York Giants Predictions
Coughlin’s veteran leadership has weathered more than a few storms over the course of his seven previous seasons at the helm. This year should be no different as long as Manning does a better job of taking care of the ball. A 10-6 record will be good enough to make into the postseason as the Giants finish second in the division and lock-up a Wild Card berth. For NFL season win total predictions, I say take the ‘over’.