Revisiting the Preseason Picks

We'll be the first to admit it – we're not perfect. Before the 2006 season started, we had our predictions, just like everyone else. Some were right, others completely wrong, which is why we thought it would be fun to revisit those predictions halfway through the season and offer some revised thoughts.

Let the water cooler talk begin.

How will the Giants finish in 2006?

Paul Schwartz: Preseason prediction: 11-5

You like that crystal ball I was peering into? Looks like I'll be right on the money. I think 11-5 is exactly where the Giants will finish and, if they get healthy down the stretch, they have as good a chance as anyone to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Ken Palmer: Preseason prediction: 10-6

OK, OK I might have shot our boys a little low, but with all the recent injuries a 4-4 finish and a 10-win season really isn't out of the question. They're a lock for the playoffs at this point; how deep they'll go remains to be seen.

What's the best/worst case scenario for the Giants?

PS: Preseason prediction: Best: Start 2-1 before the bye. Worst: Manning gets injured and no one emerges at DT

Well, the Giants went 1-2 prior to their bye and it really didn't hurt them one bit. Manning's durability is impressive and also essential to any success. Have no fear, Barry Cofield has emerged as a capable nose tackle and Fred Robbins has been a revelation at defensive tackle. The run defense has been close to superb.

KP: Preseason prediction: Best: Super Bowl championship. Worst: 8-8 record

If they can get everyone back on the field in time there's no reason this isn't a Super Bowl-caliber team. At least it looks like I was a lot closer on that prediction than the doomsday 8-8 scenario.

Who will win the NFC East?

PS: Preseason prediction: Giants

Kenny, you don't have to bow down to me but you have to admit, I deserve some praise here. I handicapped the Cowboys situation masterfully – they've got QB woes – and I was correct in assuming the Redskins were all hype and no substance. As for the Eagles, they got off to a soaring start but I just didn't see greatness in them any more. A clean sweep for Schwartz here.

KP: Preseason prediction: Cowboys

I know, I know, I got suckered into the Cowboys mystique once again. Scott Barton always warns me against picking with the hated rivals, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Drew Bledsoe was so washed up.

What's the most important factor in the Giants' success?

PS: Preseason prediction: Keeping Manning healthy

Yes sir, Manning has shown himself to be a vastly improved quarterback who indeed has vaulted into the upper echelon at his position. There's no way to prove the season would go down the tubes if Manning missed significant time, but you want to argue that's not the case?

KP: Preseason prediction: Offensive line

We're kind of in the same boat here, buddy. It's my offensive line, which has done a fantastic job all around this season, that is the main reason that your boy Manning is still healthy. The Giants O-line was a huge key this year and they've more than answered the bell.

Can Tiki Barber eclipse last year's record-breaking season?

PS: Preseason prediction: No

If Tiki mirrors his first-half production in the second half of the season, he'll finish with 1,660 rushing yards, 64 receptions for 564 yards and two touchdowns. That's pretty darn impressive but not as good as he did last season. Seeing what Brandon Jacobs is evolving into, he certainly can handle more of the load, but it's never wise to take the ball out of Barber's hands. Plus, he's headed to retirement; there's nothing to save him for.

KP: Preseason prediction: Yes

He's not all that far off his record-breaking pace of last season and he's also on pace to reach those glorified numbers in fewer carries. Barber has been fresher and more effective in games due to the high level of play of Brandon Jacobs. That can only help – and continue down the stretch. While it's going to take quite a strong final eight games, my money's still on Tiki to go out on a personal high.

Offensive MVP

Paul Schwartz

Original: Eli Manning

Updated: Eli Manning

Comment: Remember back in the summer when there was all this ruminating about Manning one day completing 60 percent of his passes? Well, midway through the season he's humming along at a career-best 61 percent, way up from a year ago. His touchdowns (15) are great, his interceptions (9) are a bit too high but there's no question he's flourishing. Tiki Barber is always a smart choice here but young Eli is irreplaceable and thus most valuable.

Ken Palmer

Original: Tiki Barber

Updated: Tiki Barber

Comment: Paul can talk all he wants about Manning, who's been very impressive. But there's no doubt at all that Barber will remain the straw that stirs the Giants offensive drink until he hangs up the spikes. His play continues to improve and he's used the recent criticism about the timing of his retirement ‘announcement' as motivation. For as good as Brandon Jacobs has been, Barber is the most irreplaceable and most valuable.

Defensive MVP

Schwartz

Original: Antonio Pierce

Updated: Antonio Pierce

Comment: Yup, I like my selection here as well. With injuries befalling the two Pro Bowl defensive ends, the line is in near shambles and once again, Pierce in the middle of the action is the most important cog in the defensive machinery. It's no coincidence that the Giants have consistently been stingy against the run, as that is Pierce's calling card. Plus, he sets everything in motion with his calls. Kenny, even if LaVar Arrington did not get hurt, he wasn't going to come close to earning this award.

Palmer

Original: LaVar Arrington

Updated: Antonio Pierce

Comment: Must have just been a typo, really meant the other former Redskin linebacker. That's the only way to explain Schwartz nailing one over me. Arrington was just starting to come into his own when he was injured. But the superbly consistent play of Pierce is unsurpassed on this Giants defense. Honestly, don't know where they'd be without him.

Rookie of the Year

Schwartz

Original: Gerris Wilkinson

Updated: Barry Cofield

Comment: Looks like Kenny, like a broken clock, is right once in a long while. I still like Wilkinson's potential and he probably made the play of the game with his forced fumble against the Texans, but Barry Cofield is the right choice here. Unless, of course, Mathias Kiwanuka has a lights out second-half of the season subbing for Osi Umenyiora.

Palmer

Original: Barry Cofield

Updated: Barry Cofield

Comment: I'll gladly take this one going away. Cofield has not only been the best rookie by far, but he's also one of New York's best defenders. How quickly and how well he contributed is a credit not only to Cofield, but Ernie Accorsi, the man who drafted him, as well.

Breakthrough player (offense)

Schwartz

Original: Chris Snee

Updated: Chris Snee

Comment: Bingo. Working completely under the radar, Snee is showing once again that he'll be a Pro Bowler once the voters realize he's one of the best guards in the league. He's punishing as a run blocker and getting better and better in pass blocking.

Palmer

Original: Tim Carter

Updated: Brandon Jacobs

Comment: I fully realize that I missed the boat on Carter, although I must point out that his time to shine is only just starting, due to the season-ending injury to Amani Toomer. But there's no doubt that Jacobs, who's been tremendous, has been the offense's biggest breakthrough guy. He's come a long way from his rookie year.

Breakthrough player (defense)

Schwartz

Original: Corey Webster

Updated: Fred Robbins

Comment: You win some, you lose some. Webster unquestionably has improved upon his rookie season but he hasn't exactly wowed anyone with his performance. He's certainly steady, but doesn't trust his physical ability enough and as a result lags too far off receivers. I think Kenny and I both got fooled here. Robbins has been a savior in the middle of the defensive line and is the far better pick.

Palmer

Original: Corey Webster

Updated: Fred Robbins

Comment: Yeah, what Paul said. Robbins has been phenomenal and should be headed to the Pro Bowl.

Biggest surprise

Schwartz

Original: Luke Petitgout

Updated: Luke Petitgout

Comment: Hate to pat myself on the back here but truer words have rarely been written. Scoff it you must, but Petitgout is having his best season. Have you noticed how Tiki gets most of his yardage running left around big Luke? The guy has been as solid as a rock and if his peers are paying attention he'll receive some Pro Bowl votes.

Palmer

Original: Gerris Wilkinson

Updated: R.W. McQuarters

Comment: Who would have thought that McQuarters would have come in and been easily New York's best cornerback during the season's first half? Obviously not I. He's added playmaking ability, solid coverage and a bit of a swagger as well. The Giants' corner play has improved greatly and he's a big reason why.

Biggest disappointment

Schwartz

Original: William Joseph

Updated: Chad Morton

Comment: Joseph hasn't wowed anyone and hasn't broken into the starting lineup, but the biggest disappointment in my mind is the shoddy play of Chad Morton and the entire return game. The operation has been sloppy and ineffective, a negative rather than the positive it was last year with Morton and Willie Ponder.

Palmer

Original: Sam Madison

Updated: William Joseph

Comment: I wouldn't be me if I didn't continue to harp on the unproductive Joseph. Of course, there are a handful of disappointments so far, but none come from a former first-round pick that's been unable to even come close to cracking the starting lineup the last few years. The Giants need to see much more than just an occasional play from him.

Unsung hero

Schwartz

Original: David Diehl

Updated: David Diehl

Comment: Diehl is at it again, rolling along play after play, day after day. It's truly remarkable that in his fourth year with the Giants, he's never missed a single game and almost never misses a snap. He truly is an unsung hero, and a pretty darn good player as well.

Palmer

Original: Ryan Kuehl

Updated: Ryan Kuehl

Comment: If Paul insists on going the safe route here, so will I. My defense? Easy. Has anyone seen anything even remotely resembling a snap that's been anything but perfect this season? Didn't think so. Good job, Ryan.

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