The Giants come into camp high on confidence and low on respect. They feel they have what it takes to repeat as Super Bowl champions, but the odds are stacked against them. No team has repeated since the 2003 New England Patriots. In fact, no champion has even returned to the Super Bowl the next season.
Since '07, The Giants have won twice, but their victories were four years apart. The Steelers, Colts and Patriots have all made multiple trips in the big game since '05 but none of them in consecutive seasons.
The Giants are even on most prognosticators' radar for this season. SBRForum.com doesn't even rank them among the top five teams in the NFC. They rank the Packers No.1, followed by San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago and Philadelphia. Huh?
We can see Green Bay, who went 15-1 last year coming off a Super Bowl season and San Fran, who made the NFC Championship game, but the others? And may we add the Giants beat both GB and SF on the road in the playoffs last year...
The Saints are cooked. Without head coach Sean Payton involved, it will be hard for them to get through the season with double-digit wins. Chicago stinks until they show us they don't and the Eagles are the Eagles. They are an implosion waiting to happen. (READ)
In perusing the net, I see many feel the Giants will win no more than nine games and struggle to make the playoffs. Fair enough, since that is exactly what they did last season, but some of these other teams have no better shot at getting to the Super Bowl than the Giants do.
The Giants do have a tough schedule (the NFL's most difficult btw) and they will need to be at their best every week. But isn't that the NFL by definition? Any given Sunday? Pete Rozelle set it up this way and teams can truly go from last to first (and vice-versa) in a single season.
Gary Myers of the Daily News made a point today in his article when he wrote: What do the 1987 players strike, Bill Parcells and Plaxico Burress have in common? They all prevented the Giants from repeating as Super Bowl champions.
This is the best chance the Giants have historically had to repeat as champions. This year there are no distractions, no drama. Reese likes the quiet, but even he knows that probably won't last:
"Quiet is okay. But it doesn’t bother me to have a little chatter going into training camp. I actually kind of like it a little bit when there’s a little bit of chatter. I like that a little bit. It keeps everybody on edge a little bit. Actually I’ve got a little bit of nervous energy because it’s too quiet. But I’m sure something will pop up sooner or later."
It will, and the Giants will be ready.
My prediction is 10 wins for the Giants. Sometimes I pick them for 11, but with the schedule they have this year, I'll stick with ten.