Face the facts: Odds against Giants repeating next season

INDIANAPOLIS -- During the regular season, coaches and players talk about the 24-hour rule -- the window allowed for celebrating a victory or dwelling on a loss before it's time to start moving forward.

It still applies to the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, at least in some regards. They'll have their parade, plenty of endorsements and quite some time to prepare for their next opponent, but already, oddsmakers have made them longer shots than the Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints to win Super Bowl XLVII.

So do history and common sense.

Despite the Giants' fairly consistent run over the past few years, a quarterback in Eli Manning who is in his prime and a nice crew of wideouts, Philadelphia or Dallas probably will be the trendy pick to win the NFC East.

New York isn't viewed like the Packers, who, like the Giants, had to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs before winning the Super Bowl last February. Green Bay is a team in its prime that has the quarterback and other elements to fend off improving NFC North competition and all comers from around the league. The Giants, well, they were a team that got hot at the right time. At least that's what you'll hear. New York won't be treated the same as Green Bay, even though their respective quests to a title, personnel and head coaches are similar in terms of results, age and production.

Should they be viewed the same?

You can't question Eli's prowess any more. He's got the goods. After all, he has more Super Bowl rings than Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, his brother Peyton and Philip Rivers -- and just as many as Ben Roethlisberger.

Wide receiver Mario Manningham is a pending free agent, but the Super Bowl hero was the third receiving option behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. The Giants are obviously better with Manningham, but they'd certainly be able to live without him.

The defense, although it might lose end Osi Umenyiora, could be better because end Jason Pierre-Paul might just be scratching the surface. Not to mention, it should get something from cornerback Prince Amukamara and tackle Marvin Austin -- the Giants' first two picks in the 2011 NFL Draft, who contributed little to nothing this season due to injuries.

Tom Coughlin is now getting his due as a great coach, while Kevin Gilbride/Perry Fewell is as good as any coordinator tandem in the NFL.

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Logic and emotion get kicked right between the eyes, though, when trying to project the Giants getting back to the Super Bowl. They could be contenders to repeat, but in the NFC especially, that's going to be tougher than ever.

Philadelphia should be much better, and Dallas ... who knows? If the Cowboys get out to a fast start and don't have to win a big game at the end, they could have a shot. The upstart team people fear the most next season -- and this comes from several players and coaches -- is Detroit. The Packers and Bears won't be going anywhere, and neither will the Falcons. San Francisco is going to face a tougher schedule and its division looks much, much stronger with the Seahawks and Cardinals shaping up at the end of this season. Both are teams that could threaten the 49ers' divisional title defense.

Meanwhile, the Texans, Ravens, Patriots and Steelers look like the muscle in the AFC, with the Titans, Chargers and Jets poised to swing in either direction. We know a few teams -- maybe the Chiefs or Broncos -- will surprise.

The Giants better just enjoy things now. They are the deserving champions. No doubt about it. And by the time training camp comes around in the summer, they'll be able to rekindle the "us against the world" mentality that rallied them to this Super Bowl title, because that will be the case again.

New York won't be expected to get back to the Super Bowl, maybe not even to win the NFC East. And Coughlin, Manning and everyone else who's held the Lombardi Trophy will understand that. Just not yet.

There's still time left on the celebration clock.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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