The Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions, but the world hasn't yet spun off its axis. So for now, at least, Super Bowl LIII is still scheduled to be played next year.
The Eagles, who were the worst team in the NFC East just one year ago, are clearly among the favorites to get back to the Super Bowl again. But is there any chance the Giants can pull off their worst-to-first trick, too?
The odds are long. According to Bovada, in fact, the Giants are 50-1 shots to get there and win it. Only one NFC team - the Chicago Bears at 100-1 - has longer odds. And the Giants have a lot of work to do to fix their problems from their 3-13 mess last season (The Eagles, by contrast, were only 7-9 when they finished last in the NFC East in 2016).
Still, some pieces are in place. After all, one year ago the Giants were 11-5 and in the playoffs. They still have a franchise quarterback, a hopefully healthy Odell Beckham Jr., and a core of good players on defense. But if they really want to even dream about being on the field in Atlanta next February, here's some of the work they still have to do:
Fix the offensive line - This is the biggest offseason task (and the biggest reason why they haven't been a true contender for years). The line is a mess. It likely needs at least three, maybe four new pieces, including an influx of youth. GM Dave Gettleman almost certainly will dip into free agency and the draft for help, and he'll test his scouting chops in a search for some underrated, overlooked gems. Whatever it takes, they need a line that can not only protect QB Eli Manning, but can open up some holes for the rushing attack - particularly on those tough, short-yardage runs they'll need to win in the postseason.
Add some pass rushers - In recent years, the Giants were over-reliant on Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon to get to the quarterback. In their Super Bowl years, they had at least three, and usually four quality pass-rushers, and they came at the quarterback in waves. So, they need another defensive end to help keep JPP and Vernon fresher late in games and late in the season. And an edge-rusher at the linebacker spot would be nice, especially if new defensive coordinator James Bettcher starts playing some (or all) 3-4.
Eli Manning has to find his old form - He hasn't had much help, and he's played behind a terrible line. Maybe that's the reason, but he's clearly been off the last couple of years. He looks -- to borrow an old word -- "skittish" at times. He also has been off target on far too many of his throws. If Gettleman gets him a line and new coach Pat Shurmur gets a little more creative on offense, Manning will have all the tools at his disposal. There would be no excuses. This would, then, be a bad time for a late-career fade.
Clean up the locker room - This isn't nursery school. If players like Eli Apple and Ereck Flowers aren't going to buy in, then get them out - yes, even though they're former first-round picks. Chemistry in football is not overrated. It was that, more than talent and injuries, that destroyed the Giants' defense last year. They all need to buy in. If Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are back, they need to play by the rules - especially the simple ones (like, you know, showing up for work). And everyone should be there for the offseason program, including Beckham. No more party-boat trips or other self-serving things for anyone, either. Football and "team" need to be the priorities again.
Beckham must be Beckham again - Judging by his 'Dirty Dancing' moves, the star receiver's ankle looks fine, and yes, everyone in the Giants organization expects a full recovery. We'll see. There was a time they expected full recoveries for Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, too. But remember, Beckham not only needs to be recovered, he needs to be what he was because he's an uncommon, game-changing weapon the Giants desperately need. He also needs to totally buy in, and not at all be distracted or bothered with what will undoubtedly be a contract situation that lingers all year.
Stay healthy - Easier said than done, but the importance can't be understated. In the last five years, the Giants have had only one season where their health was pretty good. It was 2016 and they went 11-5.
Pat Shurmur must be the leader the Giants think he is - Tom Coughlin was a leader right from the beginning. Sure, at first he rubbed plenty of people the wrong way, but there was never a doubt that he was in charge, and knew what he was doing. The contrast to that was Ben McAdoo, who looked like an overmatched kid searching for his own identity from Day 1. Players sensed it. Eventually, they took advantage of it. That leaves Shurmur with a difficult job to fit somewhere in between those two while, of course, being himself. He has to take charge of a broken locker room without alienating its core talent, while getting them to quickly believe in a coach who has a head coaching record of 9-23. A lot of that will be determined by how quickly he wins. Setting the right tone at the start will help, too, because if the players don't buy in quickly, he'll have no chance to succeed. Doug Pederson obviously did it after Chip Kelly made a mess of the Eagles organization, so it can be done pretty fast.