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49ers - Giants NFC Championship: The Buildup


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Poll: 49ers - Giants NFC Championship: The Buildup (213 member(s) have cast votes)

Who ya got?

  1. New York Giants (78 votes [41.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 41.05%

  2. San Francisco 49ers (112 votes [58.95%])

    Percentage of vote: 58.95%

Who ya got?

  1. New York Giants +2.5 (85 votes [44.74%])

    Percentage of vote: 44.74%

  2. San Francisco 49ers -2.5 (105 votes [55.26%])

    Percentage of vote: 55.26%

Who ya got?

  1. Over 42.5 (88 votes [46.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 46.32%

  2. Under 42.5 (102 votes [53.68%])

    Percentage of vote: 53.68%

Vote

#1 bowiac


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:13 PM

Figured this deserved it's own thread broken out from the divisional games and the AFC game. I'll start out by asking: To what degree is the Giants recent hot streak their new baseline? I'm not sure when that streak starts (current four game win streak? winners of five of six? winners of five of seven with a close loss to the Packers?), but to what degree should we ignore the first half/two thirds/three fourths of the season with this team?

#2 EddieYost


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:23 PM

How is it more people have SF covering as opposed to just winning?

#3 abty

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:26 PM

"but to what degree should we ignore the first half/two thirds/three fourths of the season with this"

The Giants struggled in the games where Tuck/Osi were either on the sidelines or not able to perform at even 60%. They were honestly quite useless during that stretch, due to injuries, and it is why the secondary was getting manhandled. In addition, the Giants never had a game until this streak where they had 3 healthy receivers and Ballard/Bradshaw. Nicks wasn't 100% in the 49'ers game IIRC and Bradshaw was out of the game. Giants can't really score without Bradshaw and it is why they have to hope to God he never gets hurt.

There is no coincidnece the Giants started to make big plays the last 3 or so weeks of the year both on defense and offense; they were finally a team again. The last time they were resembling a team was when they went into New England. They are a great team if healthy, assuming Eli doesn't throw his picks. If they are not healthy, they are hot steaming shit. They got healthy at the right time and have spent a near month or more hearing about how they are garbage, how their coaches will be fired and how great the Cowboys are/etc. Now they just want to murder teams and, so far, they are doing just that. Remember, if the Refs do their jobs, the Packers only score 6 points. That's after the Falcons scored 0 points on offense (2 due to defense). Think about that.

Edited by abty, 16 January 2012 - 06:28 PM.


#4 axx


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:31 PM

I'm definitely getting a 2007 vibe from the GMen.

#5 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:38 PM

I'm definitely getting a 2007 vibe from the GMen.

I think this is part of why people are getting excited about the Giants. If the Falcons (or whoever) had the year the Giants did, limping into the playoffs and then looking great the first two playoffs games, I don't think they would be getting the same respect. But because the Giants limped into the playoffs four years ago and then won a Super Bowl, there's a pre-existing narrative.

#6 JCizzle

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 06:42 PM

The early reports seem to indicate that this game will be played on a pretty soggy field, if not actually in heavy rain and wind. Something to be mindful of as the game gets a bit closer in terms of the O/U. I think both teams have the defenses to make it a battle in bad conditions.

#7 bowiac


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:12 PM

The Giants struggled in the games where Tuck/Osi were either on the sidelines or not able to perform at even 60%. They were honestly quite useless during that stretch, due to injuries, and it is why the secondary was getting manhandled. In addition, the Giants never had a game until this streak where they had 3 healthy receivers and Ballard/Bradshaw. Nicks wasn't 100% in the 49'ers game IIRC and Bradshaw was out of the game. Giants can't really score without Bradshaw and it is why they have to hope to God he never gets hurt.

So I'm curious about this. With the exception of a quarterback, I would expect most players to represent an incremental improvement, not a "this team is totally incompetent without them" type of thing. I tend to be pretty skeptical of a situation like that - I usually suspect that there's an unrelated hot stretch going on that's coincided with the return of a player or two.

This is made especially difficult to test with the Giants because of the issue that Tuck/Osi were banged up, but playing in many games. Tuck played every week from week 8 on, which included the stretch where they lost 5 of 6. Osi played from weeks 4-12, during which they went 4-4. It's possible I guess to claim that the weeks where the Giants defense stunk but Tuck/Osi played were the weeks where they were banged up, but then we're really getting into Eric Van "if we ignore all the bad data points, then Andrew Miller is the next great Red Sox ace" territory, no?

#8 epraz


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:14 PM

I'm concerned that discussing this game will affect the outcome of the Patriots game in a negative way for the team we root for. Close. This. Thread.

#9 JimBoSox9


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:17 PM

I'd take the home team in each direction of this matchup.

I think SF has a massive chip on their shoulder about being a home dog last week, and when fired up that defense is 2000-Ravens scary.

(null)

#10 SMU_Sox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:17 PM

24-17 or 27-14... Somewhere around there. NYG win. It will be a slugfest. I took the under.

#11 Phragle


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:21 PM

I'm definitely getting a 2007 vibe from the GMen.


I'm not, it's a totally different team.

I voted the first option on each. I'd much rather face the Niners, but we're not allowed to talk about that for some reason that I don't understand.

#12 bowiac


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:24 PM

More generally - Tuck and Osi played 1201 snaps this year. That's about 107% of total snaps the Giants had on defense this year. The Giants rotate their defensive line very heavily (probably my favorite thing about their defense), so Tuck/Osi normally, when healthy play, maybe 70% of snaps. (That's been more or less where both have topped out this year - they actually played less than that in the playoffs). That means that between the two of them, they missed something like 33% of total snaps that would have otherwise been playing if fully healthy?

Also - the week where Osi went out is the week where JPP's snaps increased from the mid 70s to the high 90s, so some of his missed playing time was taken up by another excellent player. Although I guess you could claim was this was a wash given increased fatigue on JPP's part.

I dunno. Doesn't it seem a bit strange to say that it's a totally different team with a totally new baseline on the basis of two guys playing 1201 snaps this year, instead of the 1600 or so they could have played if they were fully healthy?

#13 Zomp


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:46 PM

But even when they played they weren't even close to healthy, so now that they are it makes a huge difference.

Stats won't show how healthy they were.

#14 Shelterdog


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:48 PM

Slightly random question--anyone know a website that allows you to look up players' career stats including playoffs?

#15 SMU_Sox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:49 PM

Superficially and on the surface the 2007 Giants are similar to this years team aside from some of the same starters.

Dynamic, or at the very least solid, running back duo? Check.

Explosive WR's? Boom.

A front four that can generate quite a pass rush? Yep.

Eli? He's coming.

Coughlin? He's still scowling on the sidelines.

#16 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 07:58 PM

Dynamic, or at the very least solid, running back duo? Check.

The Giants' running game was awful this year. They were 32nd in total yards, 32nd in yards per attempt, 32nd in run EPA, 27th in run WPA, 30th in run SR%, and 20th in weighted rush DVOA.

#17 Shelterdog


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:00 PM

Superficially and on the surface the 2007 Giants are similar to this years team aside from some of the same starters.

Dynamic, or at the very least solid, running back duo? Check.

Explosive WR's? Boom.

A front four that can generate quite a pass rush? Yep.

Eli? He's coming.

Coughlin? He's still scowling on the sidelines.


The passing offense is much better, the running attack and o-line are much worse. Both teams have great defensive lines but otherwise you're talking about very different teams.

#18 SMU_Sox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 08:31 PM

The passing offense is much better, the running attack and o-line are much worse. Both teams have great defensive lines but otherwise you're talking about very different teams.


Putting aside some differences of opinion that is why I wrote superficially and on the surface. It's enough for the media to draw comparisons. I don't think the running is much worse right now. Jacobs missed two games this year and Bradshaw missed 4 and played sparingly in a few others. They are both healthy now. They just rushed for 172 yards against Atlanta, although for only 96 against the Packers.
NYG also had a different type of passing attack. Burris in his prime is a much different receiver than Nicks and Cruz. Like I said, it's a superficial comparison.

The thing I most remember about the 2007 Giants was their defensive front four. This year I'd say it is their offense because, until recently, their front four had not been healthy.

The Giants' running game was awful this year. They were 32nd in total yards, 32nd in yards per attempt, 32nd in run EPA, 27th in run WPA, 30th in run SR%, and 20th in weighted rush DVOA.


You're right - but I think going forward their run game will be better than regular season stats would indicate.

It seems there are two slightly diverse camps here.

One camp thinks the Giants are somewhere between not at all better than their regular season statistics would indicate and not that much better. The "they're healthy now" argument doesn't carry as much weight with this group than it does with...

The other camp thinks the Giants are definitely better than what their regular season statistics indicate. I'm firmly in this camp. The "they're healthy now" argument is very important here. I've been bullish on the Giants since they were 8-6. They can lay an egg, sure, but this is a very good team that is healthy and playing extremely well right now.

#19 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 09:12 PM

Putting aside some differences of opinion that is why I wrote superficially and on the surface. It's enough for the media to draw comparisons. I don't think the running is much worse right now. Jacobs missed two games this year and Bradshaw missed 4 and played sparingly in a few others. They are both healthy now. They just rushed for 172 yards against Atlanta, although for only 96 against the Packers.

Not just 96 yards, but 3.5 YPC: exactly their regular season average. Both Bradshaw and Jacobs averaged less than 4 YPC this year.

You're right - but I think going forward their run game will be better than regular season stats would indicate.

Why?

It seems there are two slightly diverse camps here.

One camp thinks the Giants are somewhere between not at all better than their regular season statistics would indicate and not that much better. The "they're healthy now" argument doesn't carry as much weight with this group than it does with...

The other camp thinks the Giants are definitely better than what their regular season statistics indicate. I'm firmly in this camp. The "they're healthy now" argument is very important here. I've been bullish on the Giants since they were 8-6. They can lay an egg, sure, but this is a very good team that is healthy and playing extremely well right now.

First of all, the Giants were never 8-6.

I'm not going to deny that the Giants have played very well the past few weeks. But lots of teams play well for short stretches. The Bills started this year 5-2, with both losses coming by 3 points to teams that would eventually make the playoffs. The Cardinals ended this season 7-2. The Chiefs had a four-game winning streak, including a shutout of division rival Oakland.

Of course, these aren't perfect comparisons, but my point is that there's variability in the performance of NFL teams in any given season. The Giants' current hot streak coincides with the team getting healthy. But that doesn't mean that the hot streak is explained by the team getting healthy. Patrick Chung got hurt at the end of the Giants game and missed several weeks in a row. The Pats won all these games after having lost two in a row. Do I think they started winning because Chung got hurt, or because replacement James Ihedigbo is awesome? No. Chung's injury is a ridiculous explanation for the Pats' hot streak. Certainly the causation arrow makes more sense in the Giants' case, as Osi and Tuck are good players, but that doesn't mean it's a sufficient explanation. You're assuming the Giants' recent streak is entirely explained by the return of these guys; I think it's unlikely they make that much difference and that it's more likely this is essentially an average team on a hot streak.

#20 abty

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:05 PM

So I'm curious about this. With the exception of a quarterback, I would expect most players to represent an incremental improvement, not a "this team is totally incompetent without them" type of thing. I tend to be pretty skeptical of a situation like that - I usually suspect that there's an unrelated hot stretch going on that's coincided with the return of a player or two.

This is made especially difficult to test with the Giants because of the issue that Tuck/Osi were banged up, but playing in many games. Tuck played every week from week 8 on, which included the stretch where they lost 5 of 6. Osi played from weeks 4-12, during which they went 4-4. It's possible I guess to claim that the weeks where the Giants defense stunk but Tuck/Osi played were the weeks where they were banged up, but then we're really getting into Eric Van "if we ignore all the bad data points, then Andrew Miller is the next great Red Sox ace" territory, no?


listening to Tuck, who talks to Mike Francessa each week, it was clear even a month ago he was depressed and having to accept he needed more time to heal. We also had Osi who could not get himself to be 100% and, even as recently as a few weeks ago, he wasn't a 100% sure thing to start a game let alone be a factor. To be perfectly honest, I was shocked just to see him have the impact he did over the last few weeks.

As for the running back failings, a lot of it has to do with Bradshaw missing a fair amount of time and not being 100%. Jacobs has fallen off a cliff and Ware is useless. We've had games with like 40-60 rushing yards. It felt like, for a half year, it would never improve. While I don't expect them to have 150 yards vs the 49'ers, I think it would be dangerous if they overlook what Bradshaw can do if he's 100%.

#21 abty

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:11 PM

. You're assuming the Giants' recent streak is entirely explained by the return of these guys; I think it's unlikely they make that much difference and that it's more likely this is essentially an average team on a hot streak.


Every game during that funk was the same; Not enough pressure, no sack fumbles, no key sacks and a ton of cornerbacks getting burned. Every damn day. We removed the 24+ guaranteed points per game, mostly on pass yards, and replaced it with putting more pressure on the qb and getting more turnovers. We also started getting all 3 wr's involved in games and finally started getting big big pass plays at the same time our defense started playing differently under a new scheme. It's been talked about plenty in NY. They are not only a healthier team, the defense, in the words of those on the defense (Rolle/Tuck) finally feels like a unit and not a bunch of individuals playing out of place/getting beat. If you remove the variable of "No turnovers, getting burned for big pass plays" and replace it with "more turnovers in your favor and better coverage" you give up less points and win more games. It's not a coincidence. It doesn't mean they would win 14 in a row but it is why they are no longer having the let down games they had against the Skins/Eagles and is why they were able to beat the Pats before they broke down again.

Oh, one more thing about this team that nobody understands; they always play to the level of their competition. During their slump, they found a way to match up with the Packers but the Skins/Eagles - no dice. Earlier in the year they struggled vs the Dolphins and Seahawks. That is something we can't explain and have noticed it for *years*.

#22 StuckOnYouk

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:26 PM

You're assuming the Giants' recent streak is entirely explained by the return of these guys; I think it's unlikely they make that much difference and that it's more likely this is essentially an average team on a hot streak.


So the Giants just happen to play better when their pro-bowl linemen are finally playing at their healthiest all year and you think its just a coincidence? Really?
You think average teams just happen to have hot streaks in the playoffs? During the regular season, sure when your schedule is filled at times with patsies. But not in the playoffs. The Giants just gave up 0 and 10ish points to the Atlanta and Green Bay offenses. I say 10ish because GB scored 2 TD's soon after an official's mistake. That 20 they put up was not real.

I look forward to your posts after NY wins at SF and you say its just another average team on a hot streak.

Edited by StuckOnYouk, 16 January 2012 - 10:28 PM.


#23 Oil Can Dan

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:40 PM

The Niners don't stand a chance in this one. Nice season and great win vs NO, SF, but you've got no chance.

Edited by Oil Can Dan, 16 January 2012 - 10:40 PM.


#24 mikeot

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:40 PM

I'd take the home team in each direction of this matchup.

I think SF has a massive chip on their shoulder about being a home dog last week, and when fired up that defense is 2000-Ravens scary.

(null)


Co-sign

#25 SMU_Sox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:46 PM

My apologies on the record. They were 7-6 and not 8-6 when I got bullish on them. And the next game they laid an egg before going on a tour de force. Perhaps I should have just left it at: they had a mediocre record in December when I thought they were going to get a lot better.

Let me also qualify this: I am not assuming that two guys on their front four getting healthy explains everything and I never said that. There is a difference between that mattering a lot and explaining everything.
Of course people look for trends, pattern, and intricacies that aren't there to explain things that are essentially random. I know that. That's what I thought of the Brady thread on this board. I also understand correlation and not causation. I would agree that there is some luck/randomness involved in the Giants' recent success, sure.

But here's what I am seeing here: they get healthy and their defense steamrolls ATL, DAL, NYJ, and GB. Respectively they held the 12th, 11th, 21st, and #1 best offense to an average of 12.5 points a game (DVOA offensive measures). Now granted, ATL, is much better in a dome but that's still 12.5 points per game against some very good offenses. I don't think it is a coincidence that when their defense got healthy they started crushing people. Are they perhaps playing a better level than what their 12.5 ppg indicates? I think so but they are still much better than what they were in the middle of the season when they were injured.

Why are Jacobs and Bradshaw going to be better? They are healthy. Bradshaw's foot wasn't 100% even when he came back. He's a great option for the dump pass and is a solid receiver. He adds a lot to their offense. They've had some variance in the success of their running game. They dominated the Jets on the ground but were shut down by the Cowboys. They followed that up by gashing the Falcons to have a lot less success against the Packers.

The Bills were ravaged by injuries after a good start. They are a good example of how health is tied to success. http://www.bostonglo...96gP/story.html That's a link to how they've been hammered by injuries.

They are above average by DVOA's standards: a 13.7% weighted DVOA which is good for 10th best in the league. They do have a high VAR (variance).

I guess we'll agree to disagree on whether or not it is more luck or more health of the defensive unit. Having two members of the front four get healthy seems to be a good explanation to me. I just have trouble seeing hot streak as a better explanation than: healthy again. What exactly would it take for you to see it the other way? And how exactly have they been getting that lucky?

Edited by johnlimberakis, 16 January 2012 - 10:47 PM.


#26 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:49 PM

Every game during that funk was the same; Not enough pressure, no sack fumbles, no key sacks and a ton of cornerbacks getting burned. Every damn day.

OK, but a lot of the players responsible for that performance are still on the Giants. Does their performance during that stretch no longer apply?

We removed the 24+ guaranteed points per game, mostly on pass yards, and replaced it with putting more pressure on the qb and getting more turnovers. We also started getting all 3 wr's involved in games and finally started getting big big pass plays at the same time our defense started playing differently under a new scheme. It's been talked about plenty in NY. They are not only a healthier team, the defense, in the words of those on the defense (Rolle/Tuck) finally feels like a unit and not a bunch of individuals playing out of place/getting beat.

That seems like the sort of thing people say when things are going well that may or may not have anything to do with anything.

If you remove the variable of "No turnovers, getting burned for big pass plays" and replace it with "more turnovers in your favor and better coverage" you give up less points and win more games.

That's not a variable, that's a result. If it was as simple as switching a variable, everyone would do it.

It's not a coincidence. It doesn't mean they would win 14 in a row but it is why they are no longer having the let down games they had against the Skins/Eagles and is why they were able to beat the Pats before they broke down again.

I don't think you can say "they are no longer having let down games." They lost to the Redskins less than a month ago. You can say, "they have not had a let down game over the last four games."

Oh, one more thing about this team that nobody understands; they always play to the level of their competition. During their slump, they found a way to match up with the Packers but the Skins/Eagles - no dice. Earlier in the year they struggled vs the Dolphins and Seahawks. That is something we can't explain and have noticed it for *years*.

Is this a real thing? I mean, the Giants were 9-7 this year with a -6 point differential. They were 10-6 last year with a +47 differential. In 2009 they were 8-8 with a -25 point differential. They lost some games to some awful teams, but they also just weren't very good (ironically, 2008 was the best Giants team under Coughlin, and they got bumped in the first round of the playoffs).

There's an old sports saying: "you're never as good as you look when you're playing well, and you're never as bad as you look when you're playing badly." The Giants aren't the team that lost four straight games earlier this year, but I don't think they're really the team that's won the last four straight, either.

#27 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:53 PM

So the Giants just happen to play better when their pro-bowl linemen are finally playing at their healthiest all year and you think its just a coincidence? Really?

I don't think it's entirely coincidence, but I don't think the return of these guys is the full explanation either.

You think average teams just happen to have hot streaks in the playoffs?

I do. It's not very likely, but they can. Do you remember the 2008 Cardinals?

During the regular season, sure when your schedule is filled at times with patsies. But not in the playoffs. The Giants just gave up 0 and 10ish points to the Atlanta and Green Bay offenses. I say 10ish because GB scored 2 TD's soon after an official's mistake. That 20 they put up was not real.

It was a couple impressive performances. Two great games does not a great team make.

I look forward to your posts after NY wins at SF and you say its just another average team on a hot streak.

Sure, the Giants could win at SF. San Francisco's not infallible. No team in the NFL is. I do think the 49ers are a better team.

#28 DeJesus Built My Hotrod


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:07 PM

It still feels as though many pundits and folks here don't appreciate how dominant the 49ers are on defense.

It is true that the Saints scored 32 points on them but they were the best offense in football this season - the Giants are very good too but they don't have as many weapons as New Orleans does...er, did. Certainly, a case can be made that the Giants have a better defense than New Orleans (at least toward the end of the season and the playoffs) but is it a lot better? Enough to stop a solidly balanced, albeit unspectacular, 49ers offense?

I'd take the under (especially given the weather) and I think the line looks spot on - a low scoring game that will be decided by a FG. In other words, Tynes versus Akers...who ya got?

#29 Toe Nash

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:07 PM

So the Giants just happen to play better when their pro-bowl linemen are finally playing at their healthiest all year and you think its just a coincidence? Really?

Did the defensive line cause Packers receivers to drop 8 balls, many of them when they were wide open? Or cause McCarthy to make an inexplicable onside kick call and not be ready for the hail mary? Or give the luck that they recovered all three fumbles (The Osi strip sack went right between Clifton's legs and it squeaked out)?

This should be a subheading of this whole dang forum: The Truth is Somewhere in the Middle. The defense did some good things (4 sacks, pressure, 4 turnovers) but the Packers made a lot of mistakes.

The Giants are definitely a better team than the one that lost to the Redskins, but they got some help by meeting the Packers when they were definitely off their game. Most days the game looks like their earlier meeting, I think.

Edited by Toe Nash, 16 January 2012 - 11:16 PM.


#30 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:14 PM

But here's what I am seeing here: they get healthy and their defense steamrolls ATL, DAL, NYJ, and GB. Respectively they held the 12th, 11th, 21st, and #1 best offense to an average of 12.5 points a game (DVOA offensive measures). Now granted, ATL, is much better in a dome but that's still 12.5 points per game against some very good offenses. I don't think it is a coincidence that when their defense got healthy they started crushing people. Are they perhaps playing a better level than what their 12.5 ppg indicates? I think so but they are still much better than what they were in the middle of the season when they were injured.

Why are Jacobs and Bradshaw going to be better? They are healthy. Bradshaw's foot wasn't 100% even when he came back. He's a great option for the dump pass and is a solid receiver. He adds a lot to their offense. They've had some variance in the success of their running game. They dominated the Jets on the ground but were shut down by the Cowboys. They followed that up by gashing the Falcons to have a lot less success against the Packers.

They are above average by DVOA's standards: a 13.7% weighted DVOA which is good for 10th best in the league. They do have a high VAR (variance).

That 10th makes them the worst team left in the playoffs. That's not a knock; there are only four teams left. But I concur with that assessment; I think they're the weakest of the four teams remaining.

And the VAR doesn't tell us anything we don't already know; they're inconsistent. The Giants look great when they look great and they look awful when they look awful. Maybe they won't look awful again all year. But maybe they will.

I guess we'll agree to disagree on whether or not it is more luck or more health of the defensive unit. Having two members of the front four get healthy seems to be a good explanation to me. I just have trouble seeing hot streak as a better explanation than: healthy again. What exactly would it take for you to see it the other way? And how exactly have they been getting that lucky?

Here are a few elements of randomness or variance that I don't think are repeatable:
- Completing a hail mary pass before halftime (as they did against Green Bay)
- Recovering 7/8 fumbles in that have occured in this four game streak
- Committing only two turnovers in four games (after committing 23 in the 14 before that)

#31 SMU_Sox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:17 PM

Interesting. I can see the last two as luck. That makes sense - good call.

But the hailing of the Theotokos? Is it luck or it that poor coverage/execution by GB in not defending it?

#32 Toe Nash

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:19 PM

Interesting. I can see the last two as luck. That makes sense - good call.

But the hailing of the Theotokos? Is it luck or it that poor coverage/execution by GB in not defending it?


Well, I don't think they'll ever be able to catch a defense off-guard with it again. That was their one game to pull out that play in that situation.

#33 SMU_Sox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:21 PM

Maybe we aren't so far apart because I agree with this: There's an old sports saying: "you're never as good as you look when you're playing well, and you're never as bad as you look when you're playing badly." The Giants aren't the team that lost four straight games earlier this year, but I don't think they're really the team that's won the last four straight, either. I think our disagreement is just a matter of degree.

#34 RedOctober3829


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:25 PM

The Giants' problem is consistency. They are almost always at their best when facing the top teams in the league. Their downfall is playing down to the talent level of shitty opponents. That's why they are such an enigma. They will come out with their best effort against SF and there's no question about that. Hell, they almost beat them the first time gaining almost 400 yards in the process.

#35 SMU_Sox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:29 PM

Let me ask this then. Was it luck, good strategy, or both when the Saints opened the 2nd half with and recovered an onside kick against the Colts in the Superbowl?

60% of surprise onside kicks are recovered by the kicking team http://www.advancedn...side-kicks.html. So there is luck in recovering it but strategy is the main proponent of success in that environment.
Strategy, lack of execution, and luck might explain how NYG scored on a hail to the Theotokos.

#36 Super Nomario


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:30 PM

Interesting. I can see the last two as luck. That makes sense - good call.

But the hailing of the Theotokos? Is it luck or it that poor coverage/execution by GB in not defending it?

That's why I prefer using "something not repeatable" than "luck." I mean, that's what the Giants were trying to do, and it's what the Packers were trying not to have happen, so "luck" seems dismissive. But I don't see them hitting one of those again anytime soon.

#37 Rough Carrigan


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:40 PM

There's a lot of talk about the Giants' momentum. What about the 49ers? They're a team that had been shit for several seasons and suddenly revived this year. In their first playoff game in years they came back --twice-- in the last 5 minutes. If they were playing in new york they'd be able to fly cross country for the game without benefit of a plane. And, yeah, the Saints gashed 'em in the fourth quarter, but isn't that how it goes against great offenses? Remember the Pats against the Rams. They eventually tired and suddenly the great offense flexed its muscles. But the Giants don't seem to have the overall speed on offense that the Saints do. There's no Sproles. There's no Graham on the Giants. I'm not out to knock the Giants. I'm just saying their offense isn't as good as the Saints. And maybe the 49ers can hold down a lesser offense all game long.

#38 SMU_Sox


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Posted 16 January 2012 - 11:43 PM

Let's talk about the matchup and something I noticed on Saturday. NO's strategy was to blitz a lot and get pressure thereby forcing Smith to dump it to his hot read. To get this pressure NO somewhat often sent 6-7 men. While NYG's offensive line is quite atrocious, statistically anyway, generating a running game they are 6th best by FO's metrics protecting the pass. SF conversely is 21st in the run game and 25th against the pass if I am interpreting this correctly. To me that does not bode well for SF's chances against NY.

If we're making predictions here is how I think this will shake out:
SF won't be able to throw for much at all against NYG and Smith will be under pressure all day.
NYG will be able to generate enough in their passing game to be able to score a few touchdowns but Eli will also feel pressure.
Neither running game will be successful.

In a battle of attrition, field position, and defenses, NYG will win but it will be close.

#39 Super Nomario


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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:07 AM

Let's talk about the matchup and something I noticed on Saturday. NO's strategy was to blitz a lot and get pressure thereby forcing Smith to dump it to his hot read. To get this pressure NO somewhat often sent 6-7 men. While NYG's offensive line is quite atrocious, statistically anyway, generating a running game they are 6th best by FO's metrics protecting the pass. SF conversely is 21st in the run game and 25th against the pass if I am interpreting this correctly. To me that does not bode well for SF's chances against NY.

SF is 8th vs the pass by weighted DVOA (http://www.footballo...m/stats/teamdef), though it doesn't look like they are including playoff numbers. FO has SF's running (surprisingly) as 24th, and their passing (also surprisingly) as 12th (http://www.footballo...m/stats/teamoff). Advanced NFL Stats roughly concurs (SF pass D 6th in EPA, 8th in WPA, SF rushing game 26th in EPA, passing 15th in EPA).

Edited by Super Nomario, 17 January 2012 - 12:08 AM.


#40 abty

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:12 AM

"the Giants are very good too but they don't have as many weapons as New Orleans does...er, did". They don't need as many weapons as they have 3 potential game changing WR's. Manningham gets little credit because Cruz/Nicks are studs and he gets left in the dust but they are going to have to cover 3 young playmakers who have been playing playoff games for a full month now. Then you have to deal with Ballard and Bradshaw and Jacobs on short yardage gains. This offense's failings, if you ask the fans, are the O.C who they feel is way too conservative and usually leads to awful results in the red zone and late in the game with small leads.

During the last 49'ers game, wiithout a 100% healthy Nicks (he played IIR, but was not right) or Bradshaw they scored 20 and gave up 10 points on turnovers. They also had a player blow a TD, IIRC. They shot themselves in the foot which, to me, was their specialty for years let alone the middle of the season. I always say this team, if healthy, will be near unbeatable if they stop making stupid decisions. That was their kryptonite along with putrid secondary coverage. In that sense, this iS a repeat of the 2007 season.

As for luck, regarding turnovers, it is a fair point but we must remember something. Eli hasn't been making nearly as many bad decisions as he made earlier in this year and his young receivers aren't muffing up routes and are catching the ball more (esp. Cruz and Ballard). They also have been able to reduce turnovers by having protection for Eli while he exploits shaky secondary. There was a stretch where the O.L was a big concern but it's solidified over time. It's not 2007 levels, but it's not the headache it used to be. I think those factors play a part in fewer turnovers.

When Eli doesn't panic, he is a machine. If he does, he has a tendency to throw into double coverage more than he should. He'd make plays that had you wondering if he'd ever be an elite qb. That's why I say if they don't beat themselves, they will be near unbeatable because usually when they lose it's because of a pick 6 (Last G.B game in Metlife Stadium) and the 2 Int's vs the 49'ers for 10 points are good examples.

I don't think it's luck so much as Eli controlling the situation better and being more responsible. It would be luck if the team has a knack for fumbles or dropps and then suddenly figures it out. Besides, can we really talk LUCK when the refs cost the Giants a first down last week and 14 points last night? Granted, recovering 7 of 8 fumbles makes sense, let's say they lost 3 of them in the last 2 games. What difference would it make? Not much. Besides, the 49'ers faced a great offense that had five turnovers. I could tell you that they were lucky (I won't). It's all a matter of perspective I guess.

Edited by abty, 17 January 2012 - 12:16 AM.


#41 abty

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:18 AM

For the record, I won't sit here and say "G-Men bettah, we will WIN!". Rather, I would say that if one wants to look at this matchup properly, one must realize that this team made real changes before the last month with the sole purpose of getting more out of their talent. The team that played the 49'ers doesn't exist anymore. If the Giants play the same game but avoid the awful interceptions, they win. If not, they are doomed. I respect the 49'ers defense but I also realize that the Giants can throw 4-5 peopel at any time who they can depend on the move the chains and Eli , unlike Alex Smith, knows how to avoid making awful mistakes that usually would doom this team and keep him from being an true elite qb.

One must also remember that the Giants' D is making a name for itself and is built to terrorize a Q.B. The Saints' D is built to take it up the ass. If I was a 49'ers fan, I would be concerned that it took 5 turnovers to squeak past a team that usually is lackluster offensively on the road. But, with that said, Maybe Eli throws 3 picks and Bradhsaw fumblerooskis the ball and it's all moot.

Edited by abty, 17 January 2012 - 12:20 AM.


#42 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:22 AM

For the record, I won't sit here and say "G-Men bettah, we will WIN!". Rather, I would say that if one wants to look at this matchup properly, one must realize that this team made real changes before the last month with the sole purpose of getting more out of their talent. The team that played the 49'ers doesn't exist anymore. If the Giants play the same game but avoid the awful interceptions, they win. If not, they are doomed. I respect the 49'ers defense but I also realize that the Giants can throw 4-5 peopel at any time who they can depend on the move the chains and Eli , unlike Alex Smith, knows how to avoid making awful mistakes that usually would doom this team and keep him from being an true elite qb.



What? He threw 5 picks in 445 attempts and looked pretty good at protecting the ball this past Saturday.

#43 SMU_Sox


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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:47 AM

SF is 8th vs the pass by weighted DVOA (http://www.footballo...m/stats/teamdef), though it doesn't look like they are including playoff numbers. FO has SF's running (surprisingly) as 24th, and their passing (also surprisingly) as 12th (http://www.footballo...m/stats/teamoff). Advanced NFL Stats roughly concurs (SF pass D 6th in EPA, 8th in WPA, SF rushing game 26th in EPA, passing 15th in EPA).


I was looking at offensive-line metrics specifically, not offensive efficiencies. I am pretty sure my numbers are not premium content. I use FO's offensive and defensive efficiencies heavily in my model (which is tanking right now /sigh).

#44 JCizzle

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:49 AM

For the record, I won't sit here and say "G-Men bettah, we will WIN!". Rather, I would say that if one wants to look at this matchup properly, one must realize that this team made real changes before the last month with the sole purpose of getting more out of their talent. The team that played the 49'ers doesn't exist anymore. If the Giants play the same game but avoid the awful interceptions, they win. If not, they are doomed. I respect the 49'ers defense but I also realize that the Giants can throw 4-5 peopel at any time who they can depend on the move the chains and Eli , unlike Alex Smith, knows how to avoid making awful mistakes that usually would doom this team and keep him from being an true elite qb.

One must also remember that the Giants' D is making a name for itself and is built to terrorize a Q.B. The Saints' D is built to take it up the ass. If I was a 49'ers fan, I would be concerned that it took 5 turnovers to squeak past a team that usually is lackluster offensively on the road. But, with that said, Maybe Eli throws 3 picks and Bradhsaw fumblerooskis the ball and it's all moot.


As Mystic said above, the mistake argument is probably the one and only nod I'd give Alex when comparing the two QB's over the course of this year. Eli is a more prolific, proven passer without a doubt, but over the course of the year he has also been the QB more prone to making mistakes. Alex has gone to almost herculean efforts throughout most of the year to avoid making mistakes that will cost the team, which is why you'll very rarely see him even attempt a pass like you saw at the end of the Saints game. That mentality can be both a blessing and a curse depending on your perspective, but it's what has got them here.

As for the defense argument, the 49ers have a few pretty good players on their defensive line too that did an OK job at getting to Brees throughout the game at times. Justin and Aldon Smith along with Ray MacDonald (who also played very well this year) may not have the name recognition of the Giants line, but they're certainly not a bunch of scrubs either. All in all it should be a very good game between two well coached, physical teams, and I have no doubt that the winner will be deserving of going to the Super Bowl - it won't be a matter of the Giants or 49ers playing against themselves and losing. To your last point, as a Niners fan I'm not worried at all about how we managed to beat the hottest team in the league - I didn't think there was a shot in hell that Alex would lead them back once, let alone twice, but he did and maybe, just maybe, he can keep it going on this pretty remarkable run.

Edited by JCizzle, 17 January 2012 - 01:01 AM.


#45 kanga12

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:51 AM

In a battle of attrition, field position, and defenses, NYG will win but it will be close.

Reasons? (I'm not being snarky here). If we're talking field position, when it comes to special teams, it seems (to me as 49ers fan anyway) that with Lee/Ackers and a healthy Ginn, the 49ers special teams has the advantage.

#46 Super Nomario


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Posted 17 January 2012 - 12:58 AM

I was looking at offensive-line metrics specifically, not offensive efficiencies. I am pretty sure my numbers are not premium content. I use FO's offensive and defensive efficiencies heavily in my model (which is tanking right now /sigh).

OK, didn't realize you were talking about O-line specifically. That makes more sense; SF's line is not particularly good in pass protection.

One other item of note with respect to these two teams: San Francisco has much better special teams. Lee and Akers are as good a P/K duo as you'll find and Ginn, for all his faults as a receiver, is a good return guy (though possibly he won't be 100% healthy). DVOA has the Giants basically average (16th, 12th weighted) and the 49ers as great (2nd, 4th weighted). That could be a factor in a close game.

#47 SMU_Sox


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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:00 AM

You know how different sporting websites make a playoff secret sauce metric for baseball? The vertical field game and closely related to that special teams are so important. SF's special teams have been top 3 for weeks now. They also have a relatively low variance in their overall level of performance. If SF wins I wouldn't be surprised at all. NE has a top 5 special teams according to DVOA and also have a low VAR. The Ravens and Giants have relatively high VARs (31st and 21st) and mediocre to bad special teams (30th and 16th). If this new special sauce theory holds up we will write a book and be millionaires riding into the sunset of life.
Kidding aside I don't like the matchup for SF. But does anyone here think this SF has significantly better odds than 55/45 of winning this game? Or, if they played 100 times how many games would SF take?

#48 A Bartlett Giamatti

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 08:57 AM

I can't remember the last Giants game I missed...going back two and a half decades now, and my inclination would be to say something hyperbolic like "this is the most excited I've been for a Giants team." However, I'm not exuberant heading into this game, because I have seen far more compelling factors that can play against the Giants this year (and during the Coughlin era) than "playing to the level of their competition."

While the focus has been on the Giants pass rush, too little attention has been paid to how they can play against teams that rush the passer well. If you look at who they have beaten in this run, they rank 6 (DAL), 12 (NYJ), 24 (ATL) and 32 (GB) in adjusted sack rate. Only the presence of specialized pass rushers really factor in there--and the Giants seem like they can figure out how to deal with one pass rush specialist (Ware, Abraham, Matthews). However, they had a great deal of trouble that one wouldn't expect with Washington (9), Philly (4), Miami (7). San Francisco has a low ranking, but that may be more a product of their ground and pound style of play than the talent or schemes; I would submit that if committed to the pass rush, the Smiths can cause a great deal of damage.

Eli, in my anecdotal evidence, struggles greatly against well coached teams that can get pressure up front without allowing him to read blitz and make adjustments at the line. To wit, the Giants put up a total of 24 points against the Skins and only 10 when they played a Philly team committed to bringing pressure from the D-line (Babin, really) in Week 11. I don't have a great deal of confidence in the Giants O-line, who I consider to be the key to the game (and even more specifically, Kareem MacKenzie). If they can hold up against the Niners defensive line, Eli and his receivers can make the plays they need to win the game. If they can't, the Eli backfoot pick and strip sack menu items will be out in full force.

(One ounterbalancing factor against the Niners rush is the presence of a healthy Bradshaw, who is a great safety valve and makes several explosive plays a game. He also can attack the edges and make the D-ends stay home in a way that Jacobs simply can't. )

On defense, I just can't get too worked up by the Niners. The Giants will sit back and make Smith try to beat them. They won't have a jailbreak pass rush against this team the way they have against the last few opponents, but they'll get enough pressure. And it was really Gregg Williams absurd blitzes that cost the Saints and allowed constant one on ones for Davis.

To me, this feels like a 17-10 (yeah, the under feels like a good bet to me) game; if the Giants offensive line holds up, they'll make a few plays to win. If the Niners can put Eli in uncomfortable spots, he'll make a couple mistakes and that will be the difference in the game.

#49 coremiller

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:04 AM

"the Giants are very good too but they don't have as many weapons as New Orleans does...er, did". They don't need as many weapons as they have 3 potential game changing WR's. Manningham gets little credit because Cruz/Nicks are studs and he gets left in the dust but they are going to have to cover 3 young playmakers who have been playing playoff games for a full month now. Then you have to deal with Ballard and Bradshaw and Jacobs on short yardage gains. This offense's failings, if you ask the fans, are the O.C who they feel is way too conservative and usually leads to awful results in the red zone and late in the game with small leads.


I disagree with this. Cruz, Nicks, and Manningham are good, but they're not any better than Colston, Henderson, Meachem, and Graham. The Giants also have nothing comparable to Sproles catching passes out of the backfield -- he had 15 receptions for 119 yards. And the Saints O-line is a lot better than the Giants' line. FO has NO first in adjusted sack rate and the Giants 6th, with NO first in run blocking and the Giants 28th. NO has the best O-line in the league and the Niners' front gave them fits all day long. I don't see how the Giants can get around that. They looked good against Green Bay but Green Bay's D-line sucks, ranking 30th against the run and 32nd in sack rate. Green Bay might have the worst defensive front in the league. The 49ers have one of the best.

Nobody has been able to run on the 49ers all year and I seriously doubt the Giants will be the first. The Saints had the 2nd best rushing offense in the league and ended the game with 37 yards rushing. The Giants' ground game isn't nearly as good. They will not be able to run the ball on Sunday and they cannot count on short yardage success. Combine that with consistent pressure on Manning from the front 4 and the Giants could have a long day.

Edited by coremiller, 17 January 2012 - 09:06 AM.


#50 abty

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 09:16 AM

What? He threw 5 picks in 445 attempts and looked pretty good at protecting the ball this past Saturday.


You know, I honestly think my brain crossed wires on that one. I was actually thinking of how Eli has experience in big games and knows not to make these types of mistakes (he makes them plenty in the regular season). I meant that, unlike Alex Smith, he's done this before - having to work his way to a Super Bowl. I'm just saying that we have seen Alex Smith only play one playoff game. I didn't realize how confusing that last statement was. Sorry about that.

Edited by abty, 17 January 2012 - 09:16 AM.