After an offseason of turmoil, the Giants are probably looking forward to this afternoon's game against Washington. New York was widely criticized for not bringing back two of Eli Manning’s favorite targets, Steve Smith and Kevin Boss. They rebuilt their offensive line, letting Rich Seubert and Shaun O’Hara go while installing Kevin Bass at center and Will Beatty at left guard. And then the injury bug hit.
Rising star Terrell Thomas tore his ACL and is out for the year. Marvin Austin, a promising rookie, is also out for the season. First round pick, Prince Amukamara, is out for awhile with a broken foot and Osi Umenyiora won’t play for at least the first two games of the year. The losses of Clint Sintim and Johnathan Goff leave New York with a rookie starting at middle linebacker.
But, there are reasons to optimistic. Hakeem Nicks established himself as a top receiver last year and Mario Manningham looked strong as well. The tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are back at running back and Eli will be back under center, so the offense should be fine. The questions are on defense and the remaining stars like Kiwanuka and Tuck will need to step up and answer them.
The Giants should be able to beat Washington and have enough firepower to finish above .500. That may be enough to sneak into the playoffs, but don’t expect any more than that from a team that has been severely damaged on and off the field.