Who Will it Be?

TGI breaks down which Giants are headed to Hawaii.

Usually teams coming off Super Bowl victories enjoy the embarrassment of Pro Bowl riches the following season. The fact that New York took an 11-1 mark into its game against Philly last weekend made it seem even more likely that a bevy of Big Blue ball-players would be honored by being selected to play in Hawaii on Feb. 8. But that doesn’t exactly appear to be the case. Sure there are going to be Giants selected to play in the Pro Bowl after this season, but it’s not likely to even come close to how many Cowboys were picked last year (13); Cowboys that didn’t even make the NFC Championship Game due to being dispatched by the Giants. TGI will now take a closer look at which Giants we believe will be selected as Pro Bowlers when the NFC team is announced on Dec. 16.

Eli Manning

We fully expect Eli Manning to grab the third and final quarterback spot. His numbers aren’t exactly awe-inspiring, unless you listen to Tom Coughlin and Kevin Gilbride, who are more interested in him minimizing mistakes than throwing for touchdowns. Manning has completed 62 percent of his passes while throwing for 19 TDs and only 8 INTs. That certainly serves as the best season of his career, but it still trails some of the other QBs in the league that have posted much gaudier numbers. You can bet that Drew Brees and Kurt Warner, both with 24 TD passes and more than 1,000 passing yards ahead of Manning, are locks for the Pro Bowl. But we think Manning’s overall record, his ascension into becoming New York’s offensive leader, not to mention last year’s Super Bowl MVP award, will all combine to get him to Hawaii after the season. Manning will beat out Tony Romo, Jeff Garcia, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan for the nod.

Madison Hedgecock

No he hardly plays the sexiest position on offense, but there’s no doubt that there isn’t a more important and productive fullback in the NFL than Hedgecock. Sure he’s only caught five passes for one touchdown, but Hedgecock is the main reason that New York has had the game’s most feared rushing attack this season. In a day and age where all the emphasis seems to be on statistics, the players, coaches and fans are going to do the right thing and select Hedgecock to the Pro Bowl. After all, he’s been ‘rowing to the Pro Bowl’ since the Arizona game. Last year’s NFC Pro Bowl fullback, Tony Richardson, is now a member of the AFC’s Jets.

Chris Snee

Like Hedgecock, the only real way to judge the performance of Chris Snee is by the fact that the Giants have been able to run the ball at will all season long. Snee has been a huge part of that. He’s the most recognized and respected member of what many believe to be the game’s best offensive line. Snee has been an alternate before, but this is his year to shine and to earn a trip to Hawaii. Also given strong consideration is center Shaun O’Hara, but we expect him to end up being named an alternate again this season. O’Hara has gained more and more respect throughout the league but both of last year’s centers – Dallas’ Andre Gurode and Minnesota’s Matt Birk – have been healthy and consistent all season.

Justin Tuck

Who is more of a lock for the NFC Pro Bowl roster this year than Justin Tuck? Besides Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware, of course. Those two players have proven to be the conference’s best two-way ends this season. John Abraham of the surprising Falcons had a one-sack edge on Tuck heading into last weekend, but Tuck had 20 more tackles and is clearly known throughout the league as a stronger run defender than the pass-rushing Abraham. Everyone was curious how long it would take until Tuck officially took over the Giants left defensive end spot from Michael Strahan. Consider it done. Now we all hope he can continue to provide the same level of play Strahan did for as long as Strahan did.

Fred Robbins

Based on sacks, which is pretty much all Pro Bowl invites are about for defensive linemen, Fred Robbins should be in good shape. Sure he shot out of the gate with 5.5 sacks early on and hasn’t nabbed a quarterback in weeks. But his solid play against the run will only help his case, as will his popularity around the league. Entering the Philly game, only two NFC interior linemen had more sacks than Robbins’ 5.5 – Minnesota’s Kevin Williams with 8.5 and Dallas’ Jay Ratliff, who had posted six. And you’ve probably heard that Kevin Williams was among six players the NFL recently suspended for violating the league’s anti-doping policy. Needless to say, he shouldn’t factor heavily into the postseason awards circuit at this point. Expect Robbins to get the Pro Bowl spot he’s been flirting with for years.

John Carney

He’s been perfect this season on field goals. His only official miss came when he had a kick blocked. By drilling 27-of-28 field goals, Carney checks in with an absurd conference-leading 96 percent success rate. Only Tampa Bay Buc and former Giant Matt Bryant had converted more field goals (28), but he’s missed four times. Forget Carney’s often short kickoffs, the Pro Bowl kicker is selected based on field-goal success and field-goal success alone. With that being said, Carney should definitely be the man.

Also Worth Consideration

In addition to O’Hara, it wouldn’t be totally surprising if the following Giants heard their names called on Dec. 16.

Brandon JacobsYes, he leads all the regular NFC running backs with a 5.1-yard per carry average and is second with 12 TDs, but he entered the Eagles game only eighth in rushing yards.

Antonio Pierce Sure he went to the Pro Bowl two years back, and yes he’s absolutely the glue that holds the Giants defense together and no the Plaxico Burress-related legal issues shouldn’t hurt his Pro Bowl chances. But the bottom line is that Pierce has only 66 tackles this season. There are 13 NFC inside linebackers with more, including Carolina’s Jon Beason, who has 103.

Corey Webster He’s certainly had a breakthrough season for the Giants, but Webster’s numbers don’t stack up against the NFC’s elite corners. A pair of Packers has combined for nine INTs – Charles Woodson with five, Tramon Williams with four. Heading into the Eagles game, Webster had three.

Jeff Feagles We’re not sure why he isn’t a stronger candidate every season, because watching Feagles punt on a weekly basis is a true pleasure. While he’s only 15th in total yardage, he’s second only to St. Louis’ Donnie Jones with a 39.6-yard net average, which is the true indicator of a punter’s performance.

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