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New York Giants 2008 Preview

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Updated June 30, 2008
2007 Record: 10-6

2007 Rankings
Rushing: 4th (134.3)
Passing: 21st (197.1)
Total Offense: 16th (331.4)

Run Defense: 8th (97.7)
Pass Defense: 11th (207.3)
Total Defense: 7th (305.0)

What was the Giants’ best/worst move during the offseason?
The worst move the Giants made during the offseason was not pulling the trigger on a draft-day trade that would have sent disgruntled tight end Jeremy Shockey to New Orleans. New York held out for more than the Saints were willing to give up, and Shockey’s trade value has plummeted since. At this point he is little more than a distraction.

What needs to go right for the Giants to succeed this season?
Plaxico Burress brings a big-strike capability to the Giants offense, but he isn’t happy with his contract and the Giants are going to have to do something about it. He is too important a piece of the offense to not have fully on board and his presence is important for the continued success of quarterback Eli Manning.

Assuming Burress will eventually be back in the fold fully, New York must avoid any sort of Super Bowl hangover. Head coach Tom Coughlin runs a tough training camp, and will be pushing his players to avoid the post-championship traps that often plague a team the following season. Once those championship rings are placed on the fingers of each man on the roster, thought, it’s easy for a slight sense of complacency to slip in. And with the level of talent in the NFC East, any letdown at all could result in a precipitous drop in the standings.

Who can the Giants least afford to lose?
With future Hall of Famer Michael Strahan having retired, New York cannot afford to lose another pass rusher the caliber of Osi Umenyiora. The Giants have some depth at the defensive end position, and Justin Tuck could emerge as a star in place of Strahan, but the loss of that much experience and production would be tough on any defense.

Where will the Giants finish the 2008 NFL season?
As defending Super Bowl champions, the Giants will have a target on their backs each and every time they take the field and will not be able to sneak up on anyone this time around. There have also been some off-field distractions already with Shockey’s shouting match with general manager Jerry Reese, Burress’ contract situation, and running back Ahmad Bradshaw’s time behind bars, so we may already be seeing some warning signs with this team.

The Giants are, however, still a very talented team. But the NFC East may very well turn out to be the toughest and most competitive division in the league this year. So a drop in the standings would hardly be a shocker. New York should remain a playoff contender again this year. And as they showed last year, anything can happen once you get to the post-season.

Prediction: 9-7 and third in the NFC East

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