Could the New York Giants go from first to worst in the NFC East?
NFL Network's Heath Evans offered Wednesday's most surprising prediction when he picked Big Blue over any of last season's division winners to nosedive in 2012.
"Really only because of the way they play football," Evans said. "You think about the physical prowess that they kind of develop their structure, their discipline around. It is a physical brand of football. It's hard to put up those seasons back to back to back."
It's an interesting forecast from Evans, but we respectfully disagree, and here's why:
1. Eli Manning: We present to you the division's best quarterback. Manning blossomed in January, when other passers crumbled. His sometimes awe-shucks demeanor belies a cold-blooded knack for the big moment. Nothing about Eli's play suggests a letdown is on the way in Gotham.
2. A dangerous defensive line: New York's front four might be the league's best. They've solved their Osi Umenyiora problem, and while the end would start on other teams, he isn't even in New York's first wave. The line has shown an ability to peak late in the season, when this division will be decided.
3. Tom Coughlin: New Yorkâs coach was on the hot seat last season. Today he's seen among the best in the business. That speaks to the fickle nature of the media, but it says more about who Coughlin has been all along: one of the last old-school coaches; a man who's walked through the fire; a winner.
Look around the NFC East. It's a nasty division, we agree, but the Giants were crowned king for a reason.