Kurt Warner and Eli Manning

This could very well be a long season. We at Gothamist predict an 8-8 finish, but you never know. We thought last year�s team was going to compete for a playoff spot and they ended up 4-12. So take it for what it�s worth. A lot of questions still remain and first-year coach Tom Coughlin still has a lot of positions up in the air. Who�s the middle linebacker? Who�s returning punts? Did they really just sign a kicker on Tuesday? Oy. This doesn�t look good.

Quarterbacks: The veteran and two-time M.V.P. Kurt Warner will start as the rookie Eli Manning will learn the N.F.L. game with a clipboard in his hands. �Bachelor� Jesse Palmer had a strong preseason and will be the team�s third option, but Giants fans are praying that he doesn�t get any burn. Not exactly a bad group, but how much time will they have in the pocket?

Offensive Line: Last year the Giants gave up 44 sacks and ranked 28th in the league in rushing yards. Although the unit was totally revamped, the quarterbacks were again running for their lives during the preseason. Luke Pettigout remains at left tackle and Dave Diehl will move from right guard to tackle. Free agents Shaun O�Hara, a center, and guard Barry Stokes were brought in from Cleveland and Chris Snee, a rookie from Boston College and Coughlin�s son in law, will also play at guard. Jason Whittle was signed recently for a second tour with the Giants and Wayne Lucier will also see time. This unit has more quantity than quality and could be the source of a lot of the team's troubles on offense.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber is a versatile threat coming out of the backfield, but he�s had some trouble holding onto the ball. With the new coach Ron Dayne got a fresh start and looked good at times during the preseason, but is still being stuffed in short yardage situations. We at Gothamist are somehow convinced that the Heisman Trophy winner is finally going to have a break out season, but we wouldn�t actually put money on it. Jim Finn will return at fullback.

Receivers: Amani Toomer is the Giants all-time leading receiver and will look to get his numbers back up after a somewhat disappointing season in 2003. Ike Hilliard, a Gothamist favorite, is healthy and will be a dangerous option. Jeremy Shockey had a brutal sophomore season and has missed the preseason, but figures to start Sunday. If healthy, he can be one of the most dangerous options on the field. Tim Carer and David Tyree will be the fourth and fifth options. This is a position where the Giants are stocked, but again the quarterbacks need time to find these guys.

Defensive Line: Michael Strahan will be asked to be more versatile in Tim Lewis� system and act as a decoy at times, but expect him to still get his sacks. After that things get dicey. Tackles Norman Hand and Fred Robbins were signed to bulk up the center of the line, particularly against the run. At the other end will be veteran Keith Washington and Osi Umenyiora, a second year player with tons of speed who has shown some promise, will be in the mix. This is a group that could go either way so right now we�d have to say they�re pretty mediocre.

Linebackers: Michael Barrow is gone and Nick Griesen and Kevin Lewis will try to replace him at middle linebacker. This is a vital defensive position and it�s still up in the air. Griesen�s left ankle is still an issue right now and Lewis will likely get the start. The Giants also signed Carlos Emmons from Philly and Barrett Green, who will line up on the week side. Rookie Reggie Torbor could make some noise and Wes Mallard will see time. Other than Emmons, and that may even be a stretch, no one on this unit really jumps out as someone that can get us at Gothamist excited.

Secondary: Corners Will Allen and Will Peterson both return and, if healthy, form a good duo. Unfortunately Allen�s knee is already a problem and if he�s not ready Terry Cousin will get the nod a corner. Shaun Williams, another Gothamist fave, comes back at strong safety and Brent Alexander, free-agent signing, will play at free safety. This unit could be good and if they can make some of the big plays that turn games around they can gloss over some of the teams� defensive woes.

Special Teams: The Giants signed veteran Steve Christie on Tuesday and he�ll do the kicking instead of the untested Todd France. Jeff Feagles is a special teams iron man having played in a record (for a punter) of 256 consecutive games. Tim Carter figures to return kicks and nobody seems to know who the punt returner is going to be. This could be a long season.