NEW YORK – It is the eve before kickoff and all through the night NFL fans are stirring with anticipation and delight. If I was a better poet I would probably finish this…
Anyways, I’m up and restless thinking about the new season which kicks off Sunday. For those of you who know me, you know I get the schedule in March, review it, make a prediction, then put it away. Then, I pull the schedule out after preseason is over and repeat the process. So here is a game by game break down of what I came up with:
Week 1: vs. Carolina
The Panthers, as all Giants fans remember from last season, have an outstanding running game. The Giants have improved on the defensive line but the linebackers are still unproven and a big question mark. Ultimately, I do think the Giants pull it out in a close one. Eli Manning’s proficient and experienced offense beats out Matt Moore this Sunday.
Prediction: Giants 28-24
Week 2: @ Indianapolis
Manning Bowl 2.0 rolls in and its much of the same. The Giants are a very different team from when they last met but big brother Peyton still has his way with Big Blue. The Giants secondary looks strong with Rolle and Phillips (who is now ready for the season) but injuries to Ross and Webster worry me, when it comes to going up against Peyton’s proficient passing attack.
Prediction: Colts 35-21
Week 3: vs. Tennessee
Chris Johnson is another great running back coming to the Meadowlands this season. I think the Giants have improved enough this season that they will have a good answer for great runners. I don’t think Vince Young has enough receiving talent in his stable and Johnson can’t do it all on his own. In a good strong bounce back game, the G-Men win.
Prediction: Giants 21-10
Week 4: vs. Chicago
Lovie Smith is on the hot seat this year and I don’t think his team is going to help one bit. I don’t think the Bears have any answers this year, so as long as the Giants arrive serious and play strong they should have no problem here.
Prediction: Giants 17-7
Week 5: @ Houston
Big Blue hits the road for another AFC South battle. Again, I have questions about the health of the secondary but by this point in the season hopefully everyone is a-o-k. I think the Giants pull a small upset here as Bradshaw has his first really big day of the season gaining 12o yards or more.
Prediction: Giants 24-14
Week 6: vs. Detroit
I think Detroit is going to have a better season, Stafford is a year older and a year wiser. I don’t think they get past the Giants. As long as the Giants don’t walk in acting like they’ve already won, then they will win. Play the game and get the results you know you can.
Prediction: Giants 35-14
Week 7: @ Dallas
First NFC East game of the season, Giants embarrassed Dallas in their home opener last season, it won’t happen this season. Big Blue falters here, Dallas takes the win in a shoot out.
Prediction: Dallas 42-28
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: @ Seattle
Pete Carroll takes one step forward but releasing T.J. is two steps back. I have a lot of faith in the guy (and not just because he’s sitting on my fantasy bench!) I think cutting him was a mistake. Hasselbeck is left with an unproven, and maybe even untalented group to work with. Giants take this one easy.
Prediction: Giants 28-10
Week 10: vs. Dallas
The NFC East rivals meet again, and again the Cowboys prove to be too much for Big Blue (the Giants get them back in the playoffs though).
Prediction: Dallas 28-13
Week 11: @ Philadelphia
Big Blue rolls in to town looking for their first division win. New running back, new quarterback, same old beating. Giants get them good this time.
Prediction: Giants 14-10
Week 12: vs. Jacksonville
The Giants really play the leagues best running games this season, MJD runs into town and the Giants better be ready. Unfortunately, MJD is a one man team and can’t make up for a poor passing game and a bad D.
Prediction: Giants 28-14
Week 13: vs. Washington
The Giants know McNabb well, they know the Redskins too. I don’t see the Giants having much trouble here. Of course, it is an NFC East matchup, so anything can happen but for this articles sake, it won’t.
Prediction: Giants 24-14
Week 14: @ Minnesota
Whoever made this schedule really wanted to test the Giants run D. AP is ready and waiting to tear Big Blue apart and expose any holes there may be. Normally seeing Farve late in the year could be a good thing but in his own dome? I don’t think so.
Prediction: Minnesota 35-14
Week 15: vs. Philadelphia
It’s the end of the year, the Eagles have had some time to learn, grow, and gel. They don’t let this division showdown go…
Prediction: Philadelphia 28-21
Week 16: @ Green Bay
Aaron Rodgers puts up MVP like numbers and the game is away at Lambeau Field in winter. Giants continue their skid in this game.
Prediction: Green Bay 17-7
Week 17: @ Washington
Giants stumble into the playoffs after this final NFC East showdown where they regain some of their steam. Should be a good confidence booster.
Prediction: Giants 35-17
So the Giants go 11-5, grab a wild card spot behind Dallas. They only go 3-3 in the division which is a tough pill to swallow. The G-Men beat Dallas in the Divisional round of the playoffs but Green Bay beats them in the NFC Championship game. This season should be an obvious improvement for Big Blue. I think the D is significantly improved. The linebackers are probably the weakest part of the team as of now but by the bye week they will be playing well. The O-line has some concerns so look for Eli to be on his back a bit and neither Bradshaw or Jacobs to have a spectacular season.
Overall, the Giants get better. I think they are set up very well for the 2011 draft. Either Osi or Kiwi will leave next season but JPP is a suitable replacement. I think next years draft will have the G-Men taking a running back in the first round, draft O-line in the next 3 rounds, draft a return man, and maybe a punter in the last. Then, after a healthy camp, the Giants win the Super Bowl 512 days from now in Indianapolis.
Josh Berman- nygreporter.com