NFC East: Stock Watch 2010 Week 11
ESPN.com New York Giants reporter Dan Graziano makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.
Week 1: at Detroit Lions
The Giants are coming off a mess of a preseason, undermanned and overwhelmed, with the offensive line still a mess and the new offense not clicking at all. No one will pick them to win this game. Except me. Prediction: Win
Week 2: Arizona Cardinals
This one's a comedown off the Week 1 surprise, as Arizona's banged-up defense still manages to flummox Eli Manning and collect a few interceptions. It's a bummer of a home opener as reality begins to set in. Prediction: Loss
Week 3: Houston Texans
Houston's defense is as liable as Arizona's to make life miserable for Manning and the offensive line. But Houston has bigger questions on offense than even the Giants, and this is a win for the New York defense against Ryan Fitzpatrick. Prediction: Win
Week 4: at Washington Redskins
Week 5: Atlanta Falcons
The pattern continues, and the Giants overcome two Osi Umenyiora sacks to outscore the Falcons with a furious Manning comeback in the final minutes. The Giants poke their heads over the .500 mark as they make the turn into the most brutal stretch of their schedule. Prediction: Win
Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants don't have Matt Barkley to kick around this time when they visit the City of Brotherly Love. Chip Kelly and the Eagles show them what a truly innovative offense looks like. Prediction: Loss
Week 7: at Dallas Cowboys
The season-long debate about what gives when an anemic Giants offense meets a pathetic Cowboys defense tilts in Dallas' favor in the first meeting. Tony Romo & Co. have more than enough weapons to outscore Manning and his bunch, and the Giants hit the bye with a 3-4 record. Prediction: Loss
Week 9: Indianapolis Colts
After a long break before the Monday night home game, the Giants get taken apart by Andrew Luck, Hakeem Nicks & Co. at MetLife Stadium for a third straight loss. The offense is starting to run more smoothly, but it still doesn't have enough playmakers to outscore one of the league's better offenses. Prediction: Loss
Week 10: at Seattle Seahawks
You're kidding, right? Prediction: Loss
Week 11: San Francisco 49ers
The Giants have obviously handled the Niners in recent years and in some high-profile situations. But by this point in the season, San Francisco's defense is back to full strength, and the 49ers can't afford to lose ground to the Seahawks by failing to beat the team Seattle just beat the week before. Prediction: Loss
Week 12: Dallas Cowboys
A sixth straight loss is by no means out of the question here, as Romo and his crew still have the potential to outscore anyone in a given week. But from this far out, I'll forecast that something goes wrong for Romo late in this game, and the Giants get a gift. Prediction: Win
Week 13: at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is where the schedule starts to soften up, when the Giants start playing teams that insist on not starting their best quarterback. It's unfortunate they're 4-7 at this point and just about out of the playoff hunt, but they will get it going against the bottom-feeders. Prediction: Win
Week 14: at Tennessee Titans
I think the Titans are going to be dreadful this year, and by December they won't be very difficult for anyone to beat, even at home. A third straight victory keeps the Giants' hopes alive. Prediction: Win
Week 15: Washington Redskins
Have to be honest: The NFC East is so unpredictable that, when doing these predictions, I just decided to give the Giants a 3-3 division record with victories in all three home games and losses in all three road games. It's as fair a way as any to do it, I believe. Prediction: Win
Week 16: at St. Louis Rams
After moving back to .500 with four straight wins, the season falls apart at the hands of the St. Louis pass rush. An offensive line that has once again been the Giants' biggest problem all year can't protect Manning in a must-win game. Prediction: Loss
Week 17: Philadelphia Eagles
Tom Coughlin's teams can always find a way to play for pride. The Giants' playoff hopes are extinguished, but they still manage to end the season on a high note and with a .500 record. Prediction: Win
Predicted Record: 8-8
2. Eli Manning, New York Giants quarterback: He's regarded as the smartest player on the roster by his coaches, but that was a bone-headed decision not to slide in the fourth quarter against the Eagles. The Giants had a legitimate shot to send that game to overtime, but Manning's gaffe and subsequent fumble undermined everything. I know he's had some bad breaks in terms of tipped passes, but he's still turning the ball over too much.
3. Eagles' red zone offense: Based on how brilliant he's been for much of the season, I could've put Michael Vick on this list. But that seemed like a bad idea. The Eagles should've run away with that game Sunday night in the first half, but they had to settle for too many field goals. That's rare to see Jason Avant drop a pass in the end zone, so maybe this was a one-time deal. But the Eagles need to make plays for Vick in the red zone. And I know Marty Mornhinweg has done a wonderful job with Vick, but someone remind him that he has a Pro Bowl-caliber tight end on the roster in Brent Celek. I don't think he was targeted once against the Giants.
1. Asante Samuel, Philadelphia Eagles cornerback: He's had four interceptions against the Manning brothers this month. Samuel knows how to bait a quarterback better than anyone in the league. And he even delivered a couple of licks in Sunday's 27-17 win over the Giants. He's on his way to another All-Pro season.
2. Bryan McCann, Dallas Cowboys cornerback: What will this rookie do next? He started with a 101-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Giants and then had a 97-yard punt return for a TD against the Detroit Lions. He was the NFC's Defensive Player of the Week and then the Special Teams Player of the Week. It's amazing that the Cowboys released this guy after training camp. He has been a huge part of Jason Garrett's 2-0 record as interim head coach.
3. Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins quarterback: He silenced all the doubters for at least a week with a great bounce-back performance in an overtime win against the Titans. He executed the two-minute offense at the end of regulation brilliantly and then once again put his team in position to win in overtime by starting a drive with some excellent footwork to find Chris Cooley for a big gain. It was a gutsy effort by everyone involved -- and McNabb set the tone.