New York Giants 2008 NFL Projection:
The Super Bowl champs come into the 2008 season on an 11 game winning streak in contests
played away from home (an NFL record). Is it any wonder they became champions?
If the Giants are to repeat they'll have to overcome the defensive losses
of Michael Strahan (retirement), Gibril Wilson (Oakland), Kawika Mitchell (Buffalo) and now
Osi Umenyiora (torn lateral meniscus in left knee, lost for the season).
At least the Giants have a star in Justin Tuck to step in for Strahan. Tuck registered
10 sacks last season and Giants' fans like to think he can top that as a starter.
But without Umenyiora, Tuck will face double teams all season long.
Meanwhile, to compensate for the loss of Wilson, the Giants signed Sammy Knight (Jacksonville) and drafted
Kenny Phillips from Miami with their first round pick.
Gerris Wilkinson is expected to fill the void in a linebacking unit
that isn't very deep.
Before the loss of Umenyiora, the Giants' defense probably would have been top 10 caliber against the
run and pass, while continuing on as a sack machine. But now there are many questions.
On the other side of the ball, Kevin Boss did a fine job taking over for Shockey during the postseason,
making Jeremy (New Orleans) expendable.
The Giants offensive line is solid, tough, and underrated.
New York finished with the 4th best rushing offense in 2007.
Expect success on the ground to continue with depth at running back.
With so many losses on defense, it will be up to the offensive line
to carry the Giants in 2008.
Naturally the Giants hope Burress will be healthier in 2008. If not,
he at least proved that regular practice isn't necessary for him to click with Manning.
I remember that coming into last season many pundits
were making headlines by questioning whether Eli's job was on the line.
In our preseason prediction for the
Giants last season
"we expect improved play from Manning, now possessing a few of years of NFL play under his belt."
We also projected the Giants to land a wild card playoff spot back in the preseason NFL standings
Coming into 2008 I think most would agree there's no reason why Manning's "improved play" shouldn't continue.
But with so many defensive losses, the G-men will face a stiffer task to reach the Super Bowl again,
let alone making the postseason.
New York will play just 6 games against teams that made the playoffs in 07...
That's one of the benefits of winning the Super Bowl as a wild card team (1st place finishing
division rival Dallas will play 8 games
versus playoff teams from the past season).
The Giants are solid on offense. But there are question marks
about depth at linebacker that have now spread to the defensive line with the loss of Umenyiora.
It might be very tough for New York to contend for the title
in 2008 - 2009. Certainly the Giants hope to post a better home record this year-- just
(3-5) last season. And thanks to not finishing in 1st place last season, their home schedule is quite favorable.
But the loss of Umenyiora forces us to reassess
our record prediction for the defending champs before the season kicks off.
Overall we now predict an (11-5) finish for the Giants in 2008-- a two game downgrade from our initial
season preview prediction.
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Free 2008 NFL Predictions Note:
these now archived 2008 NFL forecasts were made
during the 2008 preseason.
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football campaign which may have affected
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