Search around a bit on the Internet, and you'll find that analysts and fans alike cannot agree on what the future holds for the 2013 New York Giants. Some see Big Blue as being a top-ten team that could make a run starting in late December, while others are predicting that the Giants will finish behind both the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East standings. For the first time since drafting Eli Manning, there are serious concerns about both the New York run game and the team's pass defense. It could be a long year for the G-Men if either unit fails them between now and January.
2013 New York Giants season preview: His year?
The younger Manning has the reputation of being a good and even sometimes great regular season quarterback, one who mixes clutch drives and highlight reel plays with some baffling throws that leave fans scratching their heads. If there will ever come a time when Manning is going to have a monster year, 2013 will likely be it. Everything is in place for Easy Eli to have a Team MVP (league MVP is a bit of a stretch) season. It's now on him to deliver.
New York has but one dependable running back (more on him later), a dynamic wide receiver in Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks in a contract year, and Rueben Randle looking to move up the depth chart. Add in tight end Brandon Myers, who reeled in 79 passes last season, and you've got the makings of a very well-rounded passing attack. This offense is built to run through its quarterback. The 32-year old will have to consistently be at his best if the Giants are to make the playoffs.
2013 New York Giants season preview: Wild card
Popular opinion tells me that second-year running back David Wilson is on the verge of a breakout year, one that will see him become a star and a fantasy football icon. I'm not sold just yet. Wilson absolutely has the physical gifts to produce explosive plays, but picking up five yards per carry when you're averaging under five attempts in regular season play provides zero indication of what we can expect to see from the 22-year old who is now a No.1 RB. You also can't forget about Wilson's struggles with holding onto the football during his rookie year. It only takes one such screw up to land in the doghouse of head coach Tom Coughlin.
The “wild card” here isn't necessarily Wilson as much as it is the entire New York rushing attack. With Andre Brown out until at least Week 10, Wilson is currently backed up by Da'Rel Scott, who could lose his job as quickly as this coming Monday if he doesn't impress in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Trust me when I say that if anybody worth signing was out there, he'd already be a member of the New York roster. It will be bad times for the Giants offense if anything happens to Wilson at any point of the campaign.
2013 New York Giants season preview: Most important defensive player
For my money, it's cornerback Prince Amukamara. You know what you're going to get out of Corey Webster and Antrel Rolle, minus the occasional miscue, on a weekly basis. Amukamara hasn't yet lived up to expectations since being selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but he shined throughout the preseason, so much so that some have suggested that he was the team's best defensive back in August.
With a pass rush that may be better on paper than on Sundays, and linebackers who are, to put it nicely, “questionable,” the Giants will be counting on their secondary to make the big plays. Amukamara did just that in summer exhibitions. That version of the player and not the one who struggled over the past two seasons is who New York desperately needs. He says he's ready to be the guy. Amukamara now has to prove it.
Prediction: The Giants are a mixed bag in every way. Both the offense and defense has great talent and also numerous holes. Their schedule seems difficult at the start of September, but that could all change if certain teams fail to reach their potentials. New York under Coughlin is usually somewhere between average and pretty good during the regular season. Why should that trend end this year?