Ordinarily, the one thing that guarantees prestige in the NFL is the Lombardi Trophy. The defending champions enter the season with clean hands and a Teflon jacket.
Yet ESPN expert predictions have come out, and nobody is giving respect to the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Of the 16 experts, not a single one has picked the Giants to win the NFC this year. The votes played out like this:
The story gets more strange when one looks at the NFC East voting specifically. The distribution of the sixteen votes for the NFC East are as follows:
According to the voters, the Eagles and Giants are the two favorites. It is interesting to again see the Philadelphia Eagles being hyped after the "dream team" fiasco of 2011. It appears that the highlight-reel potential of quarterback Michael Vick still stirs hearts as much as the quality play of two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning.
The last interesting tidbit from the experts is that while the Cowboys and Eagles both received votes to win the Super Bowl, the Giants did not get a single vote. The Cowboys have only won one playoff game in the last 15 years. The Eagles have had a bit more success, but not much since they lost wide receiver Terrell Owens in the 2005 season.
With the Giants returning virtually all of their starters and with their star players still young, the future looks very bright for the New York Giants. The first thing they should do is pay no attention whatsoever to the experts.