New York Giants: Giant five

Giant five: Bounce-back candidates

January, 24, 2013
This week we are rolling out some Giants top five lists.

So far, we have taken a look at five Giants leaders, the five biggest base salaries on the roster and the top five Giants injuries to monitor in the offseason. Today, we are examining five bounce-back candidates for 2013.

If these Giants play up to the high level they've performed at in the past, the Giants very likely will be playoff-bound once again.

1. CB Corey Webster -- It wasn’t a pretty season for the Giants veteran corner. He had four interceptions and 58 tackles but he was targeted often, especially in the Baltimore game that helped lead to the Giants’ demise in 2012. Webster will make $7 million in the final year of his deal so the Giants may do something there considering their cap situation.

2. DE Justin Tuck -- After having 11.5 sacks in 2010, Tuck has a total of 9.0 sacks in the last two seasons. He says he will spend this offseason motivated to get back to having a "normal Justin Tuck year." He’s entering the final season of his contract.

3. WR Hakeem Nicks -- His lack of production this past season was due to injuries to his knee and foot. He failed to post 1,000 yards receiving for the first time since 2009. He is highly motivated to bounce back and will be entering the final year of his contract as well. If Nicks comes back healthy, the Giants' offense will regain much of its big-play explosion.

4. DE Jason Pierre-Paul -- It’s hard to say that somebody who will be playing in the Pro Bowl should be on this list. But JPP set a high standard to follow in 2011 with 16.5 sacks and 86 tackles. He dominated and practically won the game at Dallas in 2011 for the Giants. It’s awfully difficult to duplicate those numbers, especially when Pierre-Paul was seeing extra attention. He had 6.5 sacks and 66 tackles in 2012. GM Jerry Reese has said he wants JPP to talk to Michael Strahan to learn how to overcome extra attention and maintain a dominant level of play. If JPP plays closer to his 2011 level, that could be the difference in the Giants winning one more game to make the playoffs.

5. QB Eli Manning -- Like JPP, Manning is going to the Pro Bowl and didn’t have a horrible season by any means. Manning threw for 3,948 yards, 26 touchdowns and lowered his interceptions to 15. But he failed to throw for 4,000 yards for the first time since 2008. He also had a three-game stretch without a passing touchdown -- his worst stretch since his rookie season -- and threw for one touchdown or none in 10 games last year. Manning could've used help as Nicks’ health and a lack of a consistent third receiving threat hurt. But like JPP, if Manning plays closer to the way he did in 2011, the Giants should make another postseason run again.

Tell us who you think the Giants need a bounce-back season from in 2013 below.

Giant five: Injuries to monitor in offseason

January, 23, 2013
This week we are rolling out some Giants top five lists.

So far, we have taken a look at five Giants leaders and the five biggest base salaries on the roster. Today, we check in on the top five Giants injuries to monitor in the offseason.

1. WR Hakeem Nicks -- Nicks’ knee and foot are major keys to the Giants’ offense regaining its big play explosion. He valiantly battled through the injuries but his health was one of the biggest reasons why the Giants failed to make the playoffs.

2. RG Chris Snee -- The Giants best offensive lineman plans to have surgery on his hip after the Pro Bowl. Considering LT Will Beatty and LG Kevin Boothe are free agents and all the uncertainty surrounding the right tackle position, Snee’s health is critical for the offensive line.

3. RB Ahmad Bradshaw -- No surprise here but Bradshaw enters another offseason looking to maintain his surgically-repaired feet and ankles. But Bradshaw, who was uncertain about his own Giants future at the end of the season, also had other injuries to his neck and knee slow him down this past year.

4. DT Chris Canty -- Canty missed the first half of the season as he recovered from offseason knee surgery. But toward the end of the season, he injured his knee again. When healthy, Canty is a big cog in the Giants’ defensive line.

5. RB Andre Brown -- Brown showed the Giants what he can do with an increased role by scoring eight touchdowns before breaking his leg. The restricted free agent is expected to make a full recovery.

Honorable mention: C David Baas (dealt with hip, shoulder and neck issues), DE Justin Tuck (shoulder), S Kenny Phillips (free agent missed time with a knee injury), CB Terrell Thomas (attempting a third comeback from ACL injury), RT Sean Locklear (free agent suffered season-ending knee injury), DT Markus Kuhn (knee).

Tell us what you think are the most important Giants’ injuries to monitor this offseason.

Giant five: Highest base salaries

January, 22, 2013
This week we are rolling out some Giants top five lists.

Yesterday, we took a look at five Giants leaders who need to lead the way for Tom Coughlin. Today, we take a look at the five biggest contracts on the roster.

The Giants are projected to be $4.7 million over the cap in 2013 according to John Clayton’s numbers. Clayton says the Giants will carry over $1 million.

So here are the top five Giants’ base salary numbers for 2013:

QB Eli Manning, $13.0 million

CB Corey Webster, $7.00 million (final year of deal)

S Antrel Rolle, $7.00 million

RG Chris Snee, $6.45 million

DT Chris Canty, $6.25 million

Tell us below what you think of the Giants’ five biggest base salary contracts for 2013.

Five Giant losses: Buried in Baltimore

January, 18, 2013
As the playoffs move into conference championship weekend, we take a look at five games that cost the Giants an opportunity to defend their title.

The Giants finished 9-7, but needed one more win to get back into the playoffs. We’ve looked at the losses to the Eagles, Steelers, Redskins and Falcons so far. Now we examine the Giants' 33-14 loss at Baltimore in Week 16.

What went wrong: In what pretty much amounted to the Giants’ last stand, knowing they likely had to win their final two games to make the playoffs, Tom Coughlin’s team remained in the catatonic state it was in the previous week in Atlanta.

For the second consecutive week, the Giants' defense couldn’t get any pressure on the quarterback or get enough stops. And the offense was virtually non-existent when it mattered most.

Turning point: Perhaps it wouldn’t have mattered the way they played, but the Giants were only down 17-7 with 3:15 remaining in the first half, when the Ravens marched 76 yards in 2:11 for a touchdown.

Joe Flacco hit Torrey Smith for a 21-yard pass to start the drive. Flacco then completed a three-yard pass to Anquan Boldin on a 3rd-and-2 that was upheld after replay. A few plays later, Flacco connected with Ray Rice on a short pass across the middle, and Rice scampered in for a 27-yard touchdown that put the Giants down 24-7 going into halftime.

Giant regret: Flacco went after Corey Webster from the get-go, and it wasn’t pretty. Flacco and Smith hooked up on a six-yard touchdown pass early in the game.

The Giants actually had a defensive fumble recovery at their own 7-yard-line overturned by instant replay. Flacco and Smith connected on their touchdown three plays later.

Flacco later hit Smith on a 43-yard play that set up the Baltimore quarterback’s one-yard touchdown sneak to put the Giants down 14-0.

Flacco and Smith hooked up five times for 88 yards and a touchdown. Flacco finished with 309 yards and two touchdowns.

What if: If the Giants had shown up and won this game, they could’ve been playoff-bound with a victory in the regular-season finale over Philadelphia.

But we’ll never know, since they were crushed and left their playoff fate in the hands of others, which ended up costing them in the end.

Now the Giants have all offseason to wonder why they disappeared in Atlanta and Baltimore with the playoffs on the line.

“I talked (to the team) about two games that will probably drive me insane, which would be Atlanta and Baltimore,” Coughlin said the day after the season ended. “Not a question about how we lost the game (but) the question about why we didn’t play better.”

Was the Baltimore loss the most damaging to the Giants’ playoff hopes in 2012? Tell us what you think below.