When the New York Giants started the season at 0-6, many people were probably expecting four or five wins from them at the end of the season. However, the Giants were able to win seven of their final 10 games to finish the season at 7-9. It wasn’t pretty, but the Giants played with a lot of pride, showing they care for head coach Tom Coughlin and they care about themselves.
Even when the Giants were winning, the offense still struggled mightily. In a win in Philadelphia against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants won despite not scoring a touchdown the entire game being only one of two teams to do so this season. Ironically, the Baltimore Ravens were the other team making it the last two defending champions to complete the dubious feat.
Changes are not expected for the Giants — with the exception of potentially losing certain players in free agency. Defensive end Justin Tuck will be a free agent, and he spoke openly about potentially playing his last game with the team. Tuck got two more sacks against the Washington Redskins to bring his final season total to 11 sacks. That is his third-highest season total in sacks, trailing only his 2008 and 2010 seasons. It’ll be interesting to see if the Giants bring him back, and if so at what cost.
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is also entering free agency, and the Giants might use the franchise tag on him. Wide receiver Rueben Randle is developing into a reliable receiver, and Jerrel Jernigan has impressed in the last two games. This makes the possibility of Nicks receiving the long-term deal he seeks decline just a bit, but the Giants still see him as valuable.
The New Orleans Saints were 7-9 in their 2012 season after winning the NFC South division in 2011 with a 13-3 record. The Saints were missing their head coach in Sean Payton, who was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the “Bounty” scandal, but the Saints got their coach back and were able to play well again by going 11-5 and securing a playoff spot in 2013.
The circumstances for the Saints and the Giants are different, but the Giants should use the Saints’ rebound to playoff contention as a reference to work hard and get back there themselves. It all starts with quarterback Eli Manning, but the offense as a whole has to be more efficient.