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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 Jacobs – Yes, 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.