2011 Record: 9-7 (Super Bowl Champions)
Projected 2012 Record: 9-7
Key Arrivals: CB Dante Hughes, DT Shaun Rogers, LB Keith Rivers, TE Martellus Bennett
Key Departures: WR Devin Thomas, CB Aaron Ross, WR Mario Manningham, RB Brandon Jacobs, TE Jake Ballard
The New York Giants pulled off another shocking playoff run to win the Lombardi Trophy for the 2nd time in 4 years. Eli Manning was spectacular in the playoffs, 12 TDs and only 1 INT with over 1200 yards. During the regular season he was good, passing for almost 5000 yards (in a stat inflated year, but a feat nonetheless) but still had those dreadful interceptions (16). He’s losing a big WR in Mario Manningham, but he should still have Hackeem Nicks and Victor Cruz out wide, giving a decent balance at WR. Jake Ballard is gone, but in comes Martellus Bennett, who would be yet another TE in a position that has seen a different starter almost every year since Shockey’s departure after the 2007 season.
The Giants ranked dead last in rushing last season and 22nd in attempts, they have let Brandon Jacobs go, bringing in rookie David Wilson (VA Tech) to run with Ahmad Bradshaw. While Jacobs wasn’t the intimidating force he once was when he first broke on the scene a few years back, but he was still a hefty part of this team, and losing him to replace him with a rookie won’t help the run game exponentially. The Giants only averaged 89 ypg on the ground, providing little to no balance for QB Eli Manning.
We’ve seen the Giants win a Super Bowl, only to churn out a disappointing season before, and to me, 2012 won’t be much different. The Giants staggered to a 9-7 record and got hot last year at the right time. This year they’re facing stiffer competition from 2 of the 3 teams in their division, and their schedule isn’t necessary brutal, but it isn’t the easiest one in the world. They close the season vs PIT, @ CIN, BYE, GB, @ WAS, vs NO, @ ATL, @ BAL, vs PHI, 8 difficult games to close out the season (sans Washington).
A combination of schedule and lack of running game, coupled with the league having a full offseason to practice and defend the pass. The trend of QBs throwing for almost 4000 to close to 5000 yards in a year was just that: a trend. While the league is becoming more and more passing oriented, a year where everyone is hitting 4000 isn’t going to happen, unless there’s a lockout.
and oh yeah, the defense (almost forgot), they have to get better at stopping the run, again, teams are going to be relying on their RBs a little more in 2012 than they did in 2011, so ranking 29th against the run will come back to bite them if they’re not careful!