NFC East: TO911
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
The fine folks at ESPN Research sent me a great note regarding how prolific Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens were during the 2004-05 seasons. Even though they played together in only 21 of a possible 36 games, their 20 touchdowns were the third-most in the league during that period:
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
As we discussed earlier today, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb spent part of training camp talking about how things could've turned out differently had he and receiver Terrell Owens been able to work things out. McNabb said he and Owens could've been like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. But in a rather patronizing way, he kept pointing out how T.O. refused to listen to reason.
Meanwhile, T.O. has flourished in the post-Parcells era in Dallas. He's found comfort in the arms of quarterback Tony Romo, and for the most part, he's avoided the Eagles topic.
On Thursday, though, he came out of hiding. As ESPN's Ed Werder reports, T.O. talked about how McNabb wasn't able to deal with the fact that Eagles fans were chanting the wide receiver's name during games. He also suggested that he's the reason the Eagles have fallen on relatively tough times in his absence.
"The common denominator was me being in both places, but I will let you make that assessment," said a self-deprecating Owens.
T.O. was also asked to compare the 2004 Eagles Super Bowl team with the 2008 Cowboys. Owens told the Philly media that the Cowboys have "way more talent" than that Eagles team. And if that's true, it's probably about time the Cowboys won a playoff game.
Werder reports that T.O. was wearing an "iLove" T-shirt with the words "me some me" on the back as he talked to reporters. He also had several copies of his latest book in his locker when cameras arrived. He referred to this as good "product placement."
Don't you wish these two guys could simply move on with their lives? This has become one of the longest-running soap operas in sports. With the exception of Kobe and Shaq, I think T.O. and McNabb have had the most dramatic breakup of any sports superstars. I'd like for you guys to add to the list.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
|Terrell Owens is doing just fine after the messy divorce with the Eagles.|
In the aftermath of the T.O. debacle in Philadelphia, it was easy for Eagles fans to hate the wide receiver. In 2004, they had fallen head over heels in love with the man, and in a flash, he was gone. Of course, he's written a book about the episode in which he cites Donovan McNabb telling him to "shut up" in the huddle as a major turning point.
But time heals a lot of wounds and repairs swollen egos. Since Wade Phillips arrived last year, Terrell Owens has been the consummate teammate -- and it's not like he was a negative influence in the locker room when Bill Parcells was in Dallas. He doesn't sit around wondering what could've been in Philly, but for some reason, McNabb does.
Without much prompting, he told me last month that he and T.O. could've been like Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. And since then, I've read similar statements in other publications, including Sports Illustrated.
You get the feeling that McNabb spends a lot more time thinking about the past than T.O., who appears to be having the time of his life with Tony Romo, the man he tearfully referred to as "my quarterback."
And since we're on the topic, Philly Inquirer columnist Ashley Fox was in town Wednesday doing a story on how different things could've been. Funny to hear so much from former Eagle Hugh Douglas in the column. He and McNabb come across as patronizing in some of their recent comments, and that's one of the things that drove T.O. away in the first place.
I get the feeling the controversial wide receiver has moved on with his life. I'm not so sure about his former team.