After their past two Super Bowl wins, no one will dismiss the New York Giants completely heading into Week 1 of the regular season or during a three-game skid in November for that matter.
People will point out the huge voids on both offense and defense before “having said that,” and mention “the sky’s limits” with an Eli Manning-led aerial attack and unrelenting pass rush. Many of these same tropes carry into the 2013 NFL season, including a thin secondary that’s had a wrench thrown in it by training camp/preseason injuries. Like clockwork, Stevie Brown lands on IR and New York must scramble for a replacement for the man who was supposed to confidently replace Kenny Phillips.
The mix of major flaws — which can be argued for the linebacker spot as well — along with potentially world-beating strengths will probably place the Giants in the 8-11 win range they have resided for nearly the entirety of Tom Coughlin‘s NY tenure.
The reason I place them at the upper-end of that range is because this offensive line will be much better than often given credit this offseason; potentially a top-5 unit overall. People remember over-the-hill vets like David Diehl getting pummeled over the past few years but this unit has quickly gotten young and very good thanks to sound drafting and development.
If Justin Pugh can grab hold of the starting right tackle job for 16 games then the average age of this line is 28.5 years, giving an incredibly potent group of skill players and their two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback more time and space in which to work.
Predicted Regular Season Record: 11-5 (1st in NFC East)
Predicted Finish: NFC divisional round vs. Green Bay Packers