New York Giants

Division: NFC EastGM: Jerry ReeseHead Coach: Tom Coughlin
2012: 9-7 (2nd in East)vs. division 3-3
Points26.8 (6th)
Pass Yards239.1 (12th)
Rush Yards116.4 (14th)

Coughlin aim to get back into title contention in 2013

Key Additions

DT C.Jenkins, DT M.Patterson,
CB A.Ross, LB D.Connor,
WR L.Murphy, TE B.Myers

Key Subtractions

DE O.Umenyiora, DL C.Canty,
RB A.Bradshaw, S K.Phillips,
TE M.Bennett, LB C.Blackburn

In the NFL as in life, perception isn't always reality.

On the surface, the 2012 New York Giants matched their regular-season victory total from the previous year with a 9-7 finish that marked their eighth consecutive campaign with a non-losing record.

The truth, however, was that the results couldn't have been any more different.

The 2011 Giants caught fire at exactly the right time, winning three of their final four games to edge rival Dallas for the NFC East crown before riding the hot hand of quarterback Eli Manning and an opportunistic defense to a second Super Bowl triumph in five seasons.

Conversely, last year's version collectively crashed and burned during the stretch run, losing four times in a six-game span over the second half to narrowly miss the postseason despite holding a comfortable lead in the division at the midway point. Manning's play was more mediocre than masterful during that time frame, while age and injuries too often left the defense ripe for the opponents' picking.

"Last year's experience at the end of the year was not a very pretty one," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "We didn't play as well as we're capable of playing. So I think that's on everybody's mind. We're better than that."

How much a defense that surrendered the second-highest yardage total in the league last season improves may hold the key to New York's chances of returning to contention in the NFC. And although the unit entered training camp eager to atone for its 2012 struggles, there are still plenty of questions that need to be answered.

Defensive end Justin Tuck and cornerback Corey Webster, two major contributors to the Giants' success over the years, are being counted on to bounce back from subpar performances though both are on the wrong side of 30. The linebacking corps, a major weakness a season ago, remains unproven. Even the pass rush, a constant source of strength during the team's recent championship runs, has become an cause for concern with Tuck showing signs of breaking down, fellow bookend Osi Umenyiora now in Atlanta and the uber-athletic Jason Pierre-Paul -- the defense's best player -- uncertain for the start of the season after undergoing back surgery in June.

There are far less worries about Manning, who's still in the prime of his career and has proven he can both excel on the game's biggest stages and stay on the field, having started every game for the Giants since midway through the 2004 season. And with a pair of top-tier receivers again at his disposal in the shifty Victor Cruz and the highly motivated Hakeem Nicks -- playing for the big payday his counterpart just received over the summer -- New York's passing attack should remain potent.

More playmakers could be on the way as well, with lightning-fast running back David Wilson and No. 3 wideout Rueben Randle ready for expanded roles after getting their feet wet as rookies last year.

"I think we can definitely do some big things," said Cruz of the offense. "I think we have all the talent in place, I think we have all the tools. It's just a matter of us coming together as a team and as a family, and if we can do that, the sky's the limit for us."

Wilson and Randle are the latest examples of the impressive draft classes general manager Jerry Reese has assembled over the past decade to keep the Giants continually competitive. On the other hand, there are still other spots where the team is relying on players to fend off father time for another year.

It all makes this Giants team about as unpredictable as a February day in Northern New Jersey, where Super Bowl XLVIII will be held on Big Blue's home turf of MetLife Stadium in the first-ever edition of the world's biggest single-day sporting event to be held outdoors in a cold-weather city. (-The Sports Network)

Analysis: Pugh was a tackle in college, but his arm length and weight will push him inside for the Giants. Pugh isn't spectacular in any one area, but he is a good all-around prospect and will fit nicely on the Giants' line... Hankins will step into the Giants' rotation in the middle of their defensive front... Moore saw his stock fall after a poor showing in workouts leading up to the draft, which raises doubts about his effort. He will need to work hard to carve out playing time amongst the Giants' talented pass rushers... Nassib is a value pick, who will learn behind Manning. (

Round 1 19th overall Justin Pugh OT Syracuse
Round 3 49th overall Johnathan Hankins DT Ohio State
Round 1 81st overall Damontre Moore DE Texas A&M
Round 4 110th overall Ryan Nassib QB Syracuse
Round 5 152nd overall Cooper Taylor S Richmond
Round 7 225th overall Eric Herman G Ohio
Round 7 253rd overall Michael Cox RB Massachusetts

Giants need to pass rush to return to dominance

The defense's unquestioned backbone throughout much of the Coughlin era, the front four didn't perform up to its usual lofty standards in 2012 and enters this season with some uncertainty for the first time in quite a while.

Pierre-Paul (66 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 INT) put up 10 fewer sacks than he did during his dominant 2011 breakthrough, though the supremely gifted end remained a force against the run. As the unit's one player capable of taking over a game, the Giants sorely need him at or near full strength.

Tuck (45 tackles, 4 sacks) says he's finally over the injuries that have hampered him over two straight down years, but the jury's out as to whether the defensive captain can fully regain the form that once made him among the game's premier all-around linemen. And though Umenyiora may have been a headache to management with his constant grumblings about his contract situation, the 67 sacks and 28 forced fumbles he delivered over the last seven years won't be easy to replace.

Coordinator Perry Fewell will try to fill that void by moving outside linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka (37 tackles, 3 sacks) back to his natural end position, where the versatile vet posted eight sacks when last holding that role back in 2008, and more help could arrive if rookie Damontre Moore's outstanding collegiate track record can quickly translate to the next level. The Texas A&M All-American racked up 15 1/2 sacks and 21 tackles for loss in his final year with the Aggies, and his early preseason showing suggests the Giants may have gotten a third-round steal.


Redskins (9-7)

Division Winner, 4th in NFC

Giants (9-7)

Edged out by Redskins again

Eagles (6-10)

Adapting to new system

Cowboys (5-11)

Perception doesn't match reality

The addition of tackle Cullen Jenkins (26 tackles, 4 sacks), formerly of division-rival Philadelphia, was also designed to boost the pass rush, as the nine-year pro's forte is generating penetration from the interior.

Improving a run defense that ranked 28th in the league in yards per attempt was also a high priority, hence the re-signing of 350-pound plugger Shaun Rogers and the choice of burly Ohio State tackle Johnathan Hankins in the draft's second round. The plan is for Rogers, now recovered from a blood clot in his leg that kept him out all last season, to work in a rotation with Jenkins and fellow wide-body Linval Joseph (59 tackles, 4 sacks) as Hankins is eased into the mix.

The Giants are also hoping that 2011 second-round pick Marvin Austin's production becomes more in line with his immense potential following two injury-riddled and uninspiring seasons, with Mike Patterson, another ex-Eagle whose career has been derailed by a frightening brain condition, brought in for further depth at tackle.

Though the Giants lacked premium talent and were wrought with inconsistency at linebacker during last season's defensive disaster, Reese surprisingly did little offseason altering here. The Giants entered camp with Mark Herzlich (30 tackles) and Spencer Paysinger (39 tackles), a pair of third-year undrafted free agents whose contributions have primarily come on special teams, holding down starter's spots in the middle and weakside, respectively.

There's more experience and pedigree at the strongside position, where returnee Keith Rivers (44 tackles) and newcomer Aaron Curry -- both former top 10 picks from other organizations that haven't lived up to their draft status -- the favorites to claim the first two spots on the depth chart.

The coaches love the intensity and leadership that Herzlich, the former Boston College All-American turned cancer survivor, brings to the table, but he's still an unknown quantity with four career starts under his belt. That small sample size prompted the team to add Dan Connor (56 tackles with Cowboys), a decent but unspectacular regular in Carolina two years back, as insurance. Holdover Jacquian Williams is the Giants' fastest linebacker who'll mainly work alongside Paysinger in the nickel defense.

Like the Giants' season as a whole, the secondary was a mixture of good and bad in 2012. On the positive side, New York's 21 interceptions tied for the third-most in the league, with safety Stevie Brown (76 tackles, 11 PD) coming out of nowhere to amass eight picks upon taking over for the chronically hobbled Kenny Phillips. On the other hand, the Giants gave up more plays of 40 yards or greater through the air (13) than any team other than New Orleans, and tied the Saints for the highest yards allowed per pass attempt.

With their late-season fade standing out, it's easy to forget that the Giants were just a one-point loss in Washington away from capturing a second straight NFC East title last year. And with an offense that should continue to consistently put up points and a defense that has almost nowhere to go but up, New York is clearly capable of being a serious threat in the division once again. However, there are just too many question marks on the defensive side to make the Giants' goal of becoming the first team to participate in a Super Bowl on their home field one that's well within their reach. (-The Sports Network)




W. Beatty
C. DeGeare
B. Browning


K. Boothe
S. Capers
M. Jasper


D. Baas
J. Cordle
S. Goodin


C. Snee
J. Brewer
B. Mosley
E. Herman


D. Diehl
J. Pugh
C. DeGeare
M. McCants


H. Nicks
R. Randle
R. Barden
K. Adams


B. Myers
B. Pascoe
A. Robinson
L. Donnell


V. Cruz
L. Murphy
J. Jernigan
K. Hardy


E. Manning
D. Carr
R. Nassib
C. Painter


H. Hynoski
R. D'Imperio


D. Wilson
A. Brown
R. Torain
D. Scott

Special Teams: K J. Brown, P S. Weatherford, KR D. Wilson, PR R. Randle

Fantasy - By The Numbers

When he passes for 4,933 yards, as he did in 2011, Eli Manning is a quality fantasy starter. When he throws for 3,948 yards, as he did in 2012, he becomes a fringe fantasy starter.

Get ready for the fantasy season with the latest from
Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF
Fantasy Schedules: AFC | NFC
2013 Auction Values: Cheat Sheet
Fantasy Depth Charts: AFC | NFC

One reason to be optimistic about Manning is that he has two great receivers. Victor Cruz has 2,628 yards and 19 touchdowns in the last two seasons, while Hakeem Nicks is coming off the worst season of his career, yet has 2,936 yards and 21 touchdowns over the last three years, despite missing time and being limited due to a variety of injuries. TE Brandon Myers had a productive 2012 season in Oakland, so he should be a reliable target for Manning as well.

RB David Wilson spent most of his rookie year in the dog house, but came on late, rushing for 247 yards in the last four regular season games, giving him a leg up on Andre Brown in the competition for carries entering 2013, though neither one is a proven workhorse back.

The Giants have some productive defenders, led by DE Jason Pierre-Paul and, despite a couple of down seasons, DE Justin Tuck needs to be considered too. Safeties Stevie Brown and Antrel Rolle are also viable fantasy starters. (-Scott Cullen)

1 @ Sun, Sep 8, 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt 10 vs Sun, Nov 10, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
2 vs Sun, Sep. 15, 4:25pm et/1:25pm pt 11 vs Sun, Nov 17, 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt
3 @ Sun, Sep. 22, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 12 vs Sun, Nov 24, 4:25pm et/1:25pm pt
4 @ Sun, Sep. 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 13 @ Sun, Dec. 1, 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt
5 vs Sun, Nov. 3, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 14 @ Sun, Dec 8, 4:25pm et/1:25pm pt
6 @ Thu, Oct. 10, 8:25pm et/5:25pm pt 15 vs Sun, Dec 15, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
7 vs Mon, Oct. 21, 8:30pm et/5:30pm pt 16 @ Sun, Dec 22, 4:05pm et/1:05pm pt
8 @ Sun, Oct. 27, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt 17 vs Sun, Dec 29, 1:00pm et/10:00am pt
9   BYE WEEK      


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