Good morning on Giant Wednesday, half way through the week, still waiting on OTA updates (media access comes Friday) and today we talk Giant predictions:
1. Eli Manning will be in the discussion for league MVP. Eli is in full command of this offense, even with questions about the running game and possible shuffling on the offensive line, we still think Eli is primed to surpass last season’s breakout numbers (over 4,000 yards passing and 27 touchdowns, quarterback rating of 93.1). Manning has weapons at wideout (Smith, Nicks, and Manningham) and we anticipate an even better year in 2010.
2. Hakeem Nicks will amass over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns on his way to a possible pro bowl berth. In his first year, despite the Giant rookie learning curve and despite injuries which kept Nicks out of two games and limited him in others. Nicks still averaged around 17 yards per catch and flashed big play ability and yard after the catch ability not seen since the days of Plaxico. Expect Nicks to continue his upswing in year two.
3. The Giants running game will struggle, in particular, Brandon Jacobs will struggle. Even if the offensive line gets shuffled, as expected, and returns strong, I see the Giants offense in 2010 as more of a passing offense for the reasons talked about above. Also, I just don’t see Jacobs or Bradshaw staying healthy all year which begs the question, who is going to run the football? Gartell Johnson, Danny Ware, and Andre Brown are the best of the rest, but each is either coming off of an injury or unproven, Gilbride gives Eli the keys to the offense and that’s it.
4. Kenny Philips starts the year on the PUP list (physically unable to perform). I don’t like writing this any more than you like reading it, but I just think that to expect Philips to return to full health and to his former play-making form is expecting too much. To get a healthy Kenny Philips back in the middle of the season, I will take it. On this one, I hope I am worng as we have been hearing encouraging things on Philips rehab and comeback, call me skeptical until it happens.
5. Linval Joseph will be an anchor in the middle for the G-men and Chris Canty will show why the Giants signed him to a big money deal before the 2009 season. Linval is big, strong, and fast and can play the run, Canty will be freed up to make plays and be disruptive. This may be wishful thinking a bit, but I am encouraged by Canty’s work ethic this off season and the fact that he had never before been injured prior to last year. I see a nice return on the Giants investment in year 2.