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NFL New York Giants

5 New York Giants to Watch in Second Half of the Season

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Five New York Giants to Watch In Second Half

Giants
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

If you are the last-place New York Giants, it’s time to forget about the first half of the 2013 season and move on. Very little went New York’s way as they played quarter after quarter of mistake-riddled football.

The Giants won’t be able to simply ride the momentum from their past two wins. They must continue to improve and get better on both offense and defense. One thing the Giants have going for them is a favorable schedule. New York has an opportunity to claw their way back into the playoff race with three straight home games right after their bye this past week. Oakland, Green Bay and Dallas will all come into MetLife Stadium before New York plays their next road game.

These first three games back will be crucial. The Giants have already dug themselves into a hole so deep that a few more losses will likely be the nail in the coffin. New York can’t afford to spoil winnable home games, and they will also need to take care of business within their division.

Several areas of the team contributed to New York’s bad start. However, the defense has looked much better in recent weeks as playmakers like Antrel Rolle have suddenly risen from the dead. For the offense, it’s not rocket science. Eli Manning must play smart but remain aggressive. If he can return to form, the Giants are certainly capable of making a run.

Here are five Giants to watch in the second half of the 2013 season.

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5. Justin Tuck

Giants
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Tuck had a quiet first half. He wasn’t terrible, and he even showed some of his past explosiveness by blowing up run plays, but the problem still lies in the pass rush. Tuck (and his teammates) still can’t win one-on-one battles and get sufficient pressure on the quarterback. Through the first eight games, Tuck has just 1.5 sacks and many are speculating that this is the end for him in a Big Blue uniform. However, a second-half surge may give Tuck another year in New York.

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4. Andre Brown

Giants
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Even with David Wilson healthy, Andre Brown is New York’s best all-around running back. If you take everything like rushing, receiving and pass blocking into consideration, Brown comes out on top. He will make his debut against the Raiders and, hopefully for the Giants, bring some life into this 30th-ranked rushing attack. If Brown is healthy, he will should start and see the majority of the snaps with Peyton Hillis and Brandon Jacobs assuming more limited roles.

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3. Jon Beason

Giants
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no coincidence the Giants' defense has pulled a 180 after acquiring veteran linebacker Jon Beason from the Panthers. The New York defense has pitched a shutout over their last nine quarters of football. Beason’s arrival immediately elevated a struggling linebacker corps as he is on his way to returning to the form that led him to the Pro Bowl in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He’ll need to keep it going through the second half of the year if the Giants' defense is going to keep it up.

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2. Hakeem Nicks

Giants
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

This storyline just isn’t going to go away. Hakeem Nicks’ impending free agency has become a focal point of the 2013 season. While his numbers seem decent on paper, Nicks has not performed up to the No. 1 receiver ability he has displayed in the past. He looks slower, less explosive and is dropping more passes than usual. The Giants will have to address a number of weaknesses in the offseason and Nicks has just eight more games to prove what he’s worth.

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1. Eli Manning

Giants
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

He’s had rough patches throughout his career, but the first half of the 2013 season may mark the low point in Eli Manning’s career. Manning began the year turning the ball over at a record pace. The two-time Super Bowl MVP threw 15 interceptions in the first six games of season. He’s gone the last two games without throwing an interception, but he’s also only thrown one touchdown. It’s a pretty simple formula: Manning must have success for the Giants to be a contender.