Wednesday, August 8, 2012

2012 NFL Preview: NY Giants - Repeat or Retreat?

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-Digger's Daily-

Super Bowl XLVI Champion New York Giants will attempt to do something never done before in New York football history - repeat as Super Bowl champions.

2011 was a wild ride for the Giants and their fans. New York began the year winning 6 of 8 before a sudden four game slide had many wondering if they would - or could - win again. Win they did. Talk about getting hot at the right time. The Giants lost only one more game the rest of the way by playing opportune football to win the NFC East with a modest 9-7 record.

When playoff time rolled around all eyes were focused on 15-1 Green Bay, 13-3 New Orleans & 13-3 San Francisco. The Giants clicked. Their defense was on fire. Eli Manning near flawless and a cast of wide receivers making one crutial catch after another. New York crushed Atlanta 24-2 in Wild Card action. They thumped a beleaguered Packers squad 37-20 in Divisionals. Went toe to toe with hard hitting 49ers, winning on an overtime FG (20-17). Not many gave them a shot against any playoff opponent - especially against 13-3 New England in SB XLVI. Did the Giants worry? Not a chance, at least not publicly, especially after knocking off a previously undefeated Patriots team for Super Bowl glory back in 2007. Guess what? The Giants did it again with late game heroics on their way to a 21-17 victory.

So what's in store for 2012? Repeat or retreat? I'm betting this years Giants squad wins at least 8 of 10 before their week 11 bye. This is a healthy squad heading into the new season unless pre-season knocks out key performers. Eli Manning is back and loaded with weapons on offense. Undrafted WR Victor Cruz quickly established himself as a premier receiver and fan favorite. LSU WR Ruben Randall is expected to line up opposite Hakeem Nicks affording Cruz the chance to remain slot receiver. Offensive line is back to full strength. Tight End has always been a key position for Giants football. Giants TE's are key to their attack from run blocking to making key possession plays over the middle. Martellus Bennett (via Dallas) is the new kid on the block... and block he'd better to remain a starter.

Defense is a solid as they come. Their bend but don't break style stymies opponents in the red zone. Giants tenacious pass rush gives opposing QB's the jitters. The 2012 Giants will be greatly improved over the '11 squad if they're hungry for another title run and remain committed to head coach Tom Coughlin's game plan.

Projection: Super Bowl Champs remain contenders for another title. Every team is gunning for the champs so no game will be easy. The usual suspects - Green Bay, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia and New Orleans all hoping to dethrone New York's finest. Biggest question mark is health of offensive line. Running game suffered inconsistencies due to front line injuries and lack of depth. Ball control is crucial for success this season. NFC East champs, 13-3 or 12-4.

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