Getting started the 2009 season pretty strong as they got out of the 5-0 gate, the New York Giants couldn’t sustain the form from earlier in the season. There was only three won games for the rest of the way for the Giants to place third in the NFC East. After they had won 12 games and the NFC East Title in 2008, their 2009’s season was a major letdown. The defense that allowed 26.7 points per game (30th NFL) was a severe disappointment while the offense had done well on their part with 25.1 points scored per game (8th NFL). It’s going to take a much stronger defense in 2010 for them to aim for an NFC East Title this year.
Offense: Led by Eli Manning, New York put a pretty explosive offensive unit on the field in 2009. Manning threw for 4,021 yards and 27 touchdowns, helping the Giants boast one of the best passing attacks in the NFC.
Pro Bowler Steve Smith joined with Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham to form a very productive receiving unit. The trio combined for 211 catches, 2,832 yards and 18 touchdowns. The Giants also got solid production from tight end Kevin Boss, and Travis Beckum figures to play a bigger role this year.
The Giants became more of a pass-first team last season, but head coach Tom Coughlin prefers to set up the pass with the run, just as he did when the Giants won Super Bowl XLII. As long as Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw can stay healthy, the Giants can get back to running the football behind one of the better lines in the league.
Defense: After the defense gave up 40 or more points in five different games last season, it was time for Bill Sheridan to move on. The organization is very excited about new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and his aggressive scheme. With Fewell calling the defensive signals, we should see New York’s pass rush come back to life.
It was New York’s ferocious pass rush that did Tom Brady and the Patriots in on Super Bowl Sunday a few short seasons ago. That season, the Giants totaled an impressive 53 sacks. They got after the quarterback again in 2008 with 42 sacks. But last season, New York only tallied 32 quarterback sacks. Fewell is going to do all he can to have New York living in the backfield again. Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck will both be looking for bounce back campaigns, and they’ll be aided by first round draft pick Jason Pierre-Paul.
If the pass rush comes back, the pass defense should be rock solid now that safety Antrel Rolle joins a quality defensive backfield.
Prediction: 2nd NFC East – The Dallas Cowboys appear to be ahead of the Giants as we the 2010 season nears, but New York has enough pieces to be right in the mix for an NFC East crown come December. I ultimately have the Giants coming up just short, but this is a team with the potential to do some damage as a Wild Card, just as they did when they won the Super Bowl three years ago. Be sure to check out my 2010 NFL predictions to see which teams I have winning the other seven divisions.
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