NFL Team Preview: Giants
By Mike Brody
After finishing 11-5 and winning the NFC East last season, expectations are very high in New York for the Giants. New York addressed its 26th-ranked defense from a year ago by overhauling its secondary in the offseason and adding depth at linebacker. QB Eli Manning has another year under his belt and plenty of weapons on offense. If they can survive the competition from the toughest division in the NFL, the Giants just might fulfill those lofty expectations.
Key Additions: DBs Quentin Harris, Jason Bell, Will Demps, R.W. McQuarters and Sam Madison, LBs Brandon Short and LaVar Arrington, QB Rob Johnson, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, WR Sinorice Moss.
Key Subtractions: DTs Kendrick Clancy and Kenderick Allen, DBs Shaun Williams and Will Allen, LB Nick Greisen.
Sportsbook Odds: The Giants will again be a playoff and Super Bowl contender. If they win their division again, they will be a favorite to reach the Big Game heading into the playoffs. They could be a value bet at this point in the season.
has New York as +$175 to win the NFC East, +$700 to win the NFC championship and +$1400 to win Super Bowl XLI.
Player to Watch: As Manning enters his third season — second as a full-time starter — he should continue to improve and make better decisions. But the key player for the young QB and the Giants will again be RB Tiki Barber. The All-Pro is coming off his best NFL season, rushing for 1,860 yards and 9 TDs and another 540 yards and 2 TDs receiving. Barber should have another huge year and knows that his window to reach his ultimate goal is closing quickly. “There is probably more sense of urgency for me now, as I approach the season, because I know there isn’t a lot of time left for me to be ultimately successful, and win a Super Bowl,” said Barber, who, despite getting better with age, has withstood 10 seasons of pounding. “It’s not a big window, ever, for a player or a team in this league. For me, I’d say two years, and that’s probably it. I’ll be 33 then and … well, you know.”
Outlook: The Giants improved their biggest weakness by adding Madison, McQuarters and Demps to the secondary. Kiwanuka has looked like a young Michael Strahan in the preseason, and Arrington will only help a solid linebacking corps. If the defense improves to at least middle of the pack, the offense should again be one of the better ones in the NFL, making the Giants a team to reckon with. Manning will need to take a little bit of the load off of Barber by stretching the field. The team is hoping Moss will fit that bill as TE Jeremy Shockey and WRs Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer move the chains. The Giants could be a very dangerous team and will have a say in the NFC playoff picture.