Sports Illustrated is out with its annual NFL Preview Issue (print edition only, for now) and when it comes to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants there are lots of interesting pieces of information.
First off, let's deal with the SI predictions portion of the issue.
Peter King predicts that the Giants will go 9-7 and miss the playoffs. Booo! Predictions are made to be proven incorrect, anyway. King, incidentally, picks the Dallas Cowboys to go 10-6 and win the NFC East. The esteemed SI columnist is apparently drinking the Peyton Manning Kool-Aid, because he has the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos reaching the Super Bowl, with the Packers winning another title.
Now, on to some of those interesting things I learned about the Giants from Sports Illustrated -- which, by the way of full disclosure, is a partner of SB Nation.
I am stealing SI's thunder a bit here, but in the 'Numbers' section of their Giants' scouting report you find some startling information. Here are those numbers:
- 109 -- Passing attempts of longer than 20 yards by Eli Manning in 2011, 20 more than the next quarterback in the deep-ball rankings.
- 88.5 -- Percentage of drop-backs on which Eli Manning was pressured but avoided being sacked, the best escape rate in the league (minimum: 100 pressures).
- 220 -- League-high number of plays on which Giants linemen allowed such pressure, 15 more than any other team.
All of that gives you even more info on how good Manning was last season, and how bad the offensive line was. It makes the 4,933 yards passing and all of those comebacks seem even more amazing.
Here is another excellent segment of the post:
If you want to understand the Giants' ability to succeed despite extended stretches of injury and erratic play-since 2005 they have won more games (68) than any other NFC team, and in 2011 they overcame a 7-7 start to win six straight, including the Super Bowl-you should start with the organization's stability.
"It goes all the way back to guys like Michael Strahan, Amani Toomer, Jeremy Shockey: the guys who were here when I first got here who showedbus as young players how things work," says [Mathias] Kiwanuka. "A younger guy who walks in is going to benefit from the history we have of long-term players who are always going to compete every day, no matter what."
Pick up your copy to read more about the Giants, and the rest of the NFL