• FootballOutsiders is not exactly bullish on the Giants, picking them to go 7-9 to finish in last place. They have the Eagles finishing first at 10-6, then the Skins at 9-7, then the Cowboys at 8-8, and then the G-Men. Here’s their entire NFL preview.
  • What can you say? These guys love making these types medium-risk, very high-reward picks. With the Giants schedule as difficult as it is, even the most optimistic Giants fan would be hard pressed to see them do much better than 11-5, so that if FO is as wrong at it possibly can be, its 7-9 pick still won’t be a complete embarrassment. Should the Giants stumble, even to 9-7 (which isn’t that unlikely), FO will look look good. And should the Giants really stumble to 7-9, the FO guys look like geniuses for picking a first-place team to finish in the cellar.
  • Really what these picks say is that between four strong teams, the schedule and a few bounces are going to make the difference. I don’t think any fan of any of these teams would dispute that.
  • Let’s take a look at their strength of schedule projections, based on FO’s projections for each team. The Giants, according to this measurement, have the 4th hardest schedule in the NFL, with their opponents having a projected DVOA of 4.5%. The rest of the division is as follows:
  • Cowboys: 0.5% (16th)
  • Redskins: -2.2% (21st)
  • Eagles: -2.4% (23rd)
  • So of these four pretty even teams, they have the team that finished in last place finishing first this year, and the team that finished in first finishing last. Such a scenario is not that outside the realm of possibility, considering the schedules, and should it happen, they get to put it on their advertisements next year. Of all divisions, their predicted NFC East worst-to-first switcharoo is by far the most likely.
  • But of these teams, I feel that only the Giants have the potential for greatness. The rest of these teams are all solid, but if things break right for the Giants, they’re right up there with the Colts, Steelers, and Patriots. I don’t feel that way about these other teams.
  • Excellent review of the Giants-Pats game from the Giants 101 guys. Jacobs was obviously the big story. Read the comments: everybody is excited about this guy. I take issue with one of David Syvertsen’s points about Jacobs though. He writes: “He struggles on the stretch runs where he has to run outside the tackle and make a cut on his fourth or fifth step.” Granted, his best runs last night were of the straight-downhill variety, but I think Jacobs has good potential on stretch plays as well. Reading and timing stretch plays is a matter of experience, and I think Jacobs will assert himself as a savvy and instinctive runner as he accumulates more experience.
  • David also makes the point that Eli wasn’t looking downfield that much last night, which he thinks is a good thing. Nice observation, and I agree. It seems like the Giants are making a concerted effort to improve on Eli’s 53% completion percentage. Overall in the preseason, Eli completed 63% of his passes for 296 yards, good (or not so good) for 6.4 yards per attempt. Although these stats are dragged down by Eli’s bad game three against the Jets, they show that he’s starting to look short, which is a welcome change to the Giants approach.
  • David also points out that Fred Robbins had a nice game, though Barry Cofield was inconsistent. And then he marvels at Kiwanuka’s athleticism. Mathias made two incredibly athletic plays last night, leaping and tipping a pass to himself for an interception and then dropping into pass coverage as a linebacker and making a great open-field tackle on the running back. The guy has a ton of potential.
  • Check out the YouTube highlights of the game, 4 minutes of Jacobs and Kiwanuka domination.
  • Ernie Palladino on the media frenzy that promises to engulf Eli as the Manning Bowl approaches. Also, although Sinorice Moss is itching to get on the field, it will be hard for him playing catch-up now that training camp is over and reps are at a premium.
  • Also in Palladino’s article, O’Hara, Petitgout, and Seubert are expected to practice in full on Monday. Not a moment too soon.
  • Moss is returning to practice on Tuesday, writes Ralph Vacchiano.
  • Palladino points out that the jury is still out on LaVar’s health. Despite Mr. Nickles’ repeated assertions that he’s perfectly fine, we’ll feel much more comfortable if we see it. The swelling in his knee is something that will have to be monitored all season though.
  • Paul Schwartz on LaVar. Pretty much the same article as Palladino’s (there are a couple of similar stories in other papers today), but it’s worth clicking on for the photo. Let’s hope that Bill Simmons puts a performance of LaVar against the Redskins on his vengeance scale this year. Also in the article, the quote of the day, via Plaxico, about heading home to Virginia for some R&R: “I need to go to the country and relax and stare at a little deer, maybe pull my shotgun out.”
  • Mike Garafolo’s take on the Giants-Pats game.
  • No news is good news for Michael Jennings, who will be cruising around Manhattan today in his beloved Chevy Caprice hoping to not get a phone call that will tell him he’s been cut. It seems like everyone out there wants this guy to make the team, although once the season starts, either way, the fifteen minutes of fame that he’s had this camp will be over. Here’s a YouTube clip of his punt return for a touchdown against the Ravens. (By the way, the new NFL Collective Bargaining Improvement has extended the maximum years of practice squad eligibility from two to three, meaning Jennings can stay a Giant if he doesn’t make the 53-man roster.)
  • Speaking of cuts, leave it to Mike G to get the first scoop. Charlie Peprah (5th round pick!), Quentin Harris, and Darcy Johnson are each “one of the deceased,” to quote Willie Mays Hays. Kevin Dockery, a rookie free agent out of Mississippi State, has been informed that he made the squad.
  • In a non-Giants item, Charles Rogers, the #2 overall draft pick in 2003, has been cut by the Lions, joining the pantheon of all-time biggest busts. I saw him play in person when he was at Michigan State – I would have never imagined.
  • Also a non-Giants item: Have you taken a look at this Carolina Panthers steroids story? It’s a pretty big deal, and it’s all confirmed to be true.
  • On the heels of the story of Keith Hamilton beating his son, here’s another sad off-the-field episode from a former likable Giant. Dave Meggett has been arrested for rape for the third time in the last decade. As much as I loved him as a Giant, that little Meggett doesn’t seem like the best guy. Good comments by Dan Benton.