Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Are the Giants for real? The NFL Blog Network breaks down each of the seven teams that started the season 3-0.
What they've accomplished: The Giants already have beaten two of their division rivals -- the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins -- and they manhandled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. More important, they've won all three games without some important players. Giants coach Tom Coughlin is one of the best in the league at dealing with adversity and the Giants have had plenty. Losing safety Kenny Phillips for the year with a knee injury is a tough setback and the Giants have been playing without cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Kevin Dockery. The win over the Cowboys was certainly the most impressive. There was a ton of emotion inside Cowboys Stadium that night, but the Giants kept their poise. I think most of us believe the Giants are "for real."
What's ahead: The Giants have had a long injury list each week and now we can add running back Ahmad Bradshaw. I think there are a couple injuries along the offensive line -- tackle Kareem McKenzie and guard Rich Seubert -- that could linger. The Giants have some good depth at most positions, so they'll have to be really smart about managing all the injuries. In terms of schedule, the Giants should be fine against the Kansas City Chiefs (0-3) and Oakland Raiders (1-2) the next two weeks. Things will get interesting when they travel to New Orleans to play the Saints (3-0) on Oct. 18. But there's a three-week stretch in December that should help tell the story. The Giants will play division opponents in consecutive weeks. I think they'll be sitting alone in first place after that stretch. And honestly, they'll probably have a little cushion heading into those games.
Realistic outcome: Even some of the best teams are going to have a hiccup along the way. Last year's Giants team faltered against the Cleveland Browns, but they bounced back and made a good run leading up to Plaxico Burress' evening in the Latin Quarter. I think it's very realistic to think this team could go 13-3 -- and 14-2 would not shock me. Circle the Nov. 1 game at Philly. If the Giants win that one, they should be in the driver's seat for the division title. I just don't see that many stumbling blocks -- especially for a team that loves playing on the road.