INJURIES WILL HURT G-MEN'S CHANCESBy Ohm Youngmisuk
Archive When the expectations are low and the outlook is bleak, the New York Giants tend to like their chances. After all, the Giants were on the brink of starting the 2007 season 0-3 before turning things around and making a Super Bowl run. General manager Jerry Reese predicted that summer that the Giants were good enough to win the Super Bowl. And he's doing the same this year. The Giants, though, arguably had the worst preseason of any team in the NFL, having lost serious talent via season-ending injuries and free agency. The injuries have left the Giants Kleenex-thin at cornerback and an injury to Corey Webster or Aaron Ross could be lethal after losing leading tackler Terrell Thomas and solid backups Bruce Johnson and Brian Witherspoon for the season already. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora and first-round cornerback Prince Amukamara are still recovering from preseason surgeries. And even when Umenyiora returns this month, he'll still be unhappy with his contract. In the meantime, the Giants will have to start a talented but inexperienced rookie, Greg Jones, at middle linebacker in place of the injured Jon Goff. On offense, Eli Manning has a new center (David Baas) and new left tackle (Will Beatty) and he still has to find replacements for tight end Kevin Boss and Steve Smith, all while cutting down on the interceptions. And let's not even get into the weekly adventure known as special teams. Besides trying not to beat themselves, the Giants will have to overcome a brutal second-half schedule that includes the Patriots, Eagles, Saints, Packers and Cowboys. The way the Giants' fortunes went this preseason, another painful second-half swoon could be in store for Tom Coughlin.
DON'T WRITE THEM OFF JUST YETBy Kieran Darcy
Archive The 2011 New York Giants are practically nobody's Super Bowl favorites. The team did not re-sign some key free agents, and it had more than its fair share of injuries during the preseason. But if you take a closer look, things aren't nearly as bad as they seem. On offense, check out the skill positions -- the Giants are in very good shape. Eli Manning is among the better quarterbacks in the NFL. They have two 1,000-yard running backs (Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs), a 1,000-yard receiver entering his prime (Hakeem Nicks), and another receiver who fell just 56 yards short of the 1,000 mark last season (Mario Manningham). On defense, the Giants have arguably the best group of pass-rushing defensive ends in the NFL with Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul. At linebacker, they have a healthy Mathias Kiwanuka -- he missed all but three games last season. And in the secondary, they have a two-time Pro Bowler at safety (Antrel Rolle), and former first-round pick Aaron Ross looked very good in the preseason replacing the injured Terrell Thomas. On special teams, kicker Lawrence Tynes missed just four field goals last season, and new punter Steve Weatherford should be an improvement over the departed Matt Dodge. And Tom Coughlin has seen it all, entering his 16th season as an NFL head coach and his eighth with Big Blue. Don't forget, the Giants weren't expected to be Super Bowl champions in 2007 -- and they ended up defeating the 18-0 Patriots and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the third time in franchise history. We haven't even seen this team play a regular-season game yet -- it's way too early to write it off.