Shane Weisberg: Giants 2011 Season Preview

 The Giants dealt with many of their key issues in the offseason, and despite not making the type of blockbuster deals that the Eagles made, they still have a good chance to compete in their division.

The Giants signed back runningback Ahmad Bradshaw, and he will once again split carries with Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw had the best season of his career last year, and he should continue to improve this year after the Giants improved their offensive line. They released veterans Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert, but signed center David Baas and moved David Diehl to guard. If the line can stay healthy, they can return to their status as one of the best offensive lines in the game.

The key offensively, though, is reducing turnovers. Quarterback Eli Manning threw 25 interceptions and the rest of the team turned it over 17 more times. The Giants need Manning to take better care of the ball if they want to compete in the division. Manning will have a tougher time this year, though, as he lost two of his favorite targets. Receiver Steve Smith signed with the Eagles after the Giants decided not to risk his knee injury, and tight end Kevin Boss signed with the Raiders. The Giants have no one to replace Boss. Receiver Hakeem Nicks had a breakout season last year, and has become one of the top receivers in the game. The Giants need Nicks and fellow receiver Mario Manningham to stay healthy this year in order to compete.
The defense also has the potential to be good this year. Defensive end Osi Umenyiora will miss the first few weeks of the season after knee surgery, but Justin Tuck will be back for their first game against the Redskins. Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka will both be able to put pressure on the quarterback, and their secondary has improved even though first round pick cornerback Prince Amukamara will not play for most of the season.
The Giants also improved on special teams by signing former Jets punter Steve Weatherford to replace Matt Dodge, a player Giants fans will never forget after he failed to punt the ball out of bounds in the Giants’ 38-31 loss to the Eagles last year.
The Giants have a strong veteran team, and if they stay healthy and reduce turnovers, they will continue to be a force in the NFC East.

Here are my preseason predictions for each of the Giants’ games this season:
Week     Date             Opponent           Prediction
1            09/11:          @Redskins             W2            09/19:          Rams                     W3            09/25:          @Eagles                 L4            10/02:          @Cardinals            W5            10/09:          Seahawks               W6            10/16:          Bills                        W7          –BYE–8            10/30:          Dolphins                 W9            11/06:          @Patriots                L10          11/13:          @49ers                   W11          11/20:          Eagles                     L12          11/28:          @Saints                  L13          12/04:          Packers                   L14          12/11:          @Cowboys              L15          12/18:          Redskins                 W16          12/24:          @Jets                     L17          01/01:          Cowboys                W
Final Record:  9-7


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