NEW YORK GIANTS
HEAD COACH: Tom Coughlin
Key Additions: LB Keith Rivers; TE Martellus Bennett; OL Sean Locklear; DT Shaun Rogers
Key Losses: RB Brandon Jacobs; WR Mario Manningham; CB Aaron Ross; OL Kareem McKenzie
Offense: Quarterback Eli Manning surpassed his brother Peyton in the Super Bowl ring count by leading the Giants offense to a second Super Bowl title in five seasons after throwing for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns with 16 interceptions during the 2011 season.
Manning connected with a duo of wide receivers including Victor Cruz, who came out of nowhere last season to make 82 catches for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns. Hakeem Nicks also put up big numbers by grabbing 76 receptions for 1,192 yards and seven scores. Martellus Bennett (17 catches for 144 yards with Dallas last year) will be the tight end.
Domenik Hixon missed most of last season and is back to form a third piece to the talented receiving corps. Rueben Randle (LSU) was taken in the second round of the draft and should get a chance as well. Ramses Barden is another option at wide receiver.
The running game lost Brandon Jacobs, who left for San Francisco in the off-season, but still has Ahmad Bradshaw (659 yards rushing and nine TD) to go with rookie David Wilson (Virginia Tech) in the backfield for the 2012 season. D.J. Ware is also on hand to spell Bradshaw and Wilson. Bear Pascoe is the fullback and also can play tight end.
The offensive line, which played tremendous when it counted most down the stretch and in the playoffs, is anchored by center David Baas, along with guards Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe. The tackles are Will Beatty and David Diehl. Sean Locklear was signed during the off-season and along with James Brewer, Mitch Petrus, Selvish Capers and Jim Cordle, will provide depth.
New York ranked eighth in the NFL a year ago offensively, gaining 385 yards per game, with 296 yards passing per game, which was fifth in the league. The running game was dead last in the league, averaging just 89 yards per game.
Defense: This became the strength of the team once the playoffs began, but the regular season was a different story at times as the Giants defense allowed 400 points during the 16-game grind.
The Giants have a trio of All-Pro caliber defensive ends in Justin Tuck (five QB sacks), Jason Pierre-Paul (16 1/2 sacks) and Osi Umenyiora, who registered nine sacks. They combined for 30 1/2 of the team's 48 sacks, which was tied for second in the NFL last season.
The rest of the defense includes tackles Chris Canty and Linval Joseph along with Shaun Rogers and Marvin Austin. The linebackers include Michael Boley in the middle of the 4-3 alignment. The outside backers are free agent Keith Rivers and Mathias Kiwanuka.
Chase Blackburn, Clint Sintim, Jacquian Williams and Greg Jones will fill in where needed.
The secondary was injury riddled and much maligned last season as they allowed 255 yards per game while ranking 29th overall.
The safeties are Kenny Phillips (four interceptions) and Antrel Rolle with Corey Webster (six picks) and Terrell Thomas at the cornerback positions.
Rookie Jayron Hosley (Va. Tech), Prince Amukamara (injured for most of 2011), Chris Horton, Brian Witherspoon and Steve Brown are also available.
OUTLOOK: Getting to the playoffs proved to be stressful for the Giants and their fans, but once the post-season began, they were unstoppable, winning two playoff games on the road at Green Bay and San Francisco before topping the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
The heat is off Head Coach Tom Coughlin as the 2012 season looms, but he would still like to see the team continue in 2012 where they left off last year.
Manning and company can put up some points and the defense showed it can be dominating when it counts most.
So, which New York Giants team is going to show up in 2012?
The one that struggled for quite a bit in the regular season, especially on defense or the post-season version?
The defense will be the key for success after ranking 27th overall (allowing 376 yards per game) and ranking near the bottom against the pass.
But the Giants were a plus seven in the turnovers department and also registered a lot of sacks and played well enough in the red zone to win it all.
With a healthy core of defensive backs and the big boys up front applying pressure on opposing passers, the Giants could be even better than last year and that could be scary for the rest of the league.
Manning must also prove last year wasn't just the exception as he enjoyed his best year ever as a pro.
The NFC East is rough and the Giants know that winning against ALL the teams in their division will be vital. They split the division games a year ago, but that was last year and they now know they can win.
A 10-6 record should be enough to get them back into the playoffs and possibly even win the division. Whether or not they have another Super Bowl run remains to be seen as that will hinge on the defense and Manning performing consistently once again.
Week 1- vs. Dallas
Week 2- vs. Tampa Bay
Week 3- at Carolina
Week 4- at Philadelphia
Week 5- vs. Cleveland
Week 6- at San Francisco
Week 7- vs. Washington
Week 8- at Dallas
Week 9- vs. Pittsburgh
Week 10- at Cincinnati
Week 11- BYE
Week 12- vs. Green Bay
Week 13- at Washington
Week 14- vs. New Orleans
Week 15- at Atlanta
Week 16- at Baltimore
Week 17- vs. Philadelphia