New York Giants Preview
The team is truly Eli Manning’s now that Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan have retired in subsequent years. Not to mention the respect he gained as he picked up his game on the Giants improbable Super Bowl Run. Not that they are the Champs, everybody will be gunning for them. Playing in one of the toughest divisions in football doesn’t help matters.
Offensively I don’t see a lot of differnce between last year’s model and this one. Their Offensive Line is still intact. The triple-headed rushing attack of Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Derrick Ward will wear teams down. Eli Manning will pass for around 3500 yards and 22-25 TDs while throwing around 16-18 INTs. Plaxico Burress will continue to be Eli’s top target, but I expect Steve Smith to finally start to show his worth. Kevin Boss will try to replace Jeremy Shockey. While he won’t produce like Shockey, he won’t disrupt like Shockey either.
Defensively life will be more difficult with the retirement of Michael Strahan and the season-ending injury suffered by Osi Umenyiora. Those 22 Sacks are going to be hard to replace. I expect Justin Tuck to become one of the most dominating forces in the game, but he won’t be enough. They will need some production from elsewhere. Not only are there star lineman gone, but #2 tackler Gibril Wilson went to Oakland and #3 tackler Kawika Mitchell went to the Bills. Rookie Kenny Phillips should help their secondary, but they will need their defensive front to put pressure on the QB or Giants fans could have some long Sundays.
I don’t see the Giants making it back to the playoffs, much less repeating. Losing Strahan and Osi will prove too costly. I’m predicting a 7 to 9 win season for the G-Men. The Giants like being underdogs though so anything is possible.
Fantasy-wise Eli is a low-end starter/high-end backup fantasy QB. He simply throws too many INTs for my liking as a fantasy guy. Brandon Jacobs is the highest value of the RBs and Ahmad Bradshaw is the one I would use as a handcuff. Plaxico makes a decent #1 WR or an outstanding #2. Steve Smith and Amani Toomer are worth a flier in late rounds. The same goes for TE Kevin Boss. My expectations of their defense lowered after the Osi injury. They still are worth a start vs. the right matchup.