- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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No Antonio Pierce? No problem.
Giants fans have spoken, and they believe the team will be just fine without its former defensive quarterback. According to a recent SportsNation poll, fans say Big Blue will go 12-4 this coming season.
Despite the fact the Giants will spend all summer searching for a starting middle linebacker to replace Pierce, fans are confident they will return to the form they had before a disastrous 2009 season that saw them finish 8-8.
It seems the fact that the team drafted five defensive players this year -- highlighted by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and defensive tackle Linval Joseph, plus added new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell -- has given fans reason for optimism.
When the team's schedule was released last month, I predicted the Giants would finish 10-6 this coming season. I initially wanted to give them 11 wins, but I still have a lot of questions about a defense that will most likely rely on an inexperienced middle linebacker. I'm also concerned about the offense. Will the running game return to form?
Enough of my thoughts. Here's a quick look at what fans are thinking:
The Giants will have no problem winning their season opener against the Carolina Panthers, a team that destroyed them 41-9 last year, judging by the fact that 96.2 percent of fans have the Giants winning that game.
The Tennessee Titans apparently won't be too difficult to overcome at home, although I wouldn't underestimate the Titans.
Fans expect the Giants to be 5-1 before losing to the Dallas Cowboys in a Monday night game in Dallas.
Almost 80 percent of fans think the Giants will beat the Cowboys at home in the rematch.
Interestingly, only 57.7 percent of fans feel the Giants will beat the Philadelphia Eages at Philadelphia, even though the Eagles won't have Donovan McNabb. I agree -- this game will be a battle for the Giants.
As for McNabb, Giants fans think their team won't have trouble with the Washington Redskins and McNabb in both meetings. Let's not forget that McNabb has beaten the Giants four out of five times in the past two years.
If the Giants go 12-4, that means the defense and its vaunted pass rush will return and Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw will be fully recovered and better than last season. If that happens, the Giants will be playoff-bound again.
Giants fans have spoken, and they expect big things next season.