A lot of people were hesitant to back New York with their NFL picks last season, but look what they were able to do.

Though they finished just 9-7 during the regular season, Eli Manning and company got hot at the right time and blitzed their way through the playoffs.

The Giants won the 2011/12 Super Bowl in thrilling fashion, beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the title game yet again.

Manning took a giant step up with his play and as a result New York looked much more dangerous in the passing game. With Victor Cruz becoming a legitimate number one wideout, the Giants had one of the best receiving tandems with Cruz and Hakeem Nicks making one big play after another.

Of course, their stingy defense, especially the defensive front, was special. Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyioria were incredibly dominant and seemed to get even better when it mattered most come playoff time.

With practically their entire team returning, save for one or two pieces on both sides of the ball, why can’t the Giants repeat here in 2012/13?

The only thing that may stop them is a ridiculously tough regular season schedule. They play in an always tough NFC East and then also have to deal with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Green Bay, New Orleans, Atlanta and Baltimore. Fotunately for the Giants they’ll play the Packers, Steelers and Saints at home, but that’s still a challenging schedule no matter what.

Even so, Manning’s growth was fun to watch last season and now that he’s got two title rings, that confidence should only get higher and higher. He’s got a ton of weapons at his disposal now to help take some pressure off as well.

Simply put, the Giants should be contending again this season. We’ve learned to never count them out.