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Very early keys to the game


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#1 ivanvamp


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:18 AM

Some early thoughts on what I think will be keys to the Super Bowl.

1. Turnovers. The Patriots have been pretty turnover-prone in the playoffs in recent years.

2011
vs Den (W): 2 to (1 int), -1 +/-
vs Bal (W): 3 to (2 int), -2 +/-

2010
vs NYJ (L): 1 to (1 int), -1 +/-

2009
vs Bal (L): 4 to (3 int), -2 +/-

2007
vs Jax (W): 0 to, +2 +/-
vs SD (W): 3 to (3 int), -1 +/-
vs NYG (L): 1 to (1 int), 0 +/-

2006
vs NYJ (W): 1 to, +1 +/-
vs SD (W): 3 to (3 int), +1 +/-
at Ind (L): 1 to (1 int), 0 +/-

2005
vs Jax (W): 0 to, +2 +/-
at Den (L): 5 to (2 int), -4 +/-

So in New England's last 5 playoff losses, they were on the wrong side of the turnover ratio in every game except the 2006 AFCCG, where they were even. In the BB/TB era they haven't lost a playoff game when they are on the plus side of the turnover ratio. They have been able to overcome negative turnover ratios in some games (2007 vs SD, 2011 vs Den), but that's very hard to do. Tom Brady has 4 int in his last 3 games, so he hasn't done a great job taking care of the ball. Moreover, in their last game against the Giants, the Pats had 4 turnovers (-2 +/-), with Brady throwing 2 picks and fumbling once.

I think if the Pats are on the wrong side of the turnover ratio, they will be in big trouble.


2. The Pats' D-line. I don't see how they match up with the three excellent Giant receivers (Nicks, Manningham, Cruz). The Pats just don't have enough good DB. So they will need to get pressure on Eli. Eli played tough yesterday, but the 49ers got excellent pressure and the Giants only scored 17 points in regulation. Fortunately, the Pats have been getting good pressure lately. Their last 5 games:

at Den: 4 sacks, 4 hits
vs Mia: 5 sacks, 8 hits
vs Buf: 2 sacks, 4 hits
vs Den: 5 sacks, 8 hits
vs Bal: 3 sacks, 7 hits

AVG: 3.8 sacks, 6.2 hits per game

So they've been putting the heat on opposing QB much better lately as compared with earlier in the season. They need to keep that up. If Eli has time to throw, the Pats cannot cover their WR.

Now, with respect to running, the Pats D-line need to keep Jacobs and Bradshaw in check. They were incredible against Denver and really did a great job against Rice. Wilfork, Deadrick, Love, Spikes, Mayo, etc., need to make the Giants one-dimensional.


3. The Pats' O-line needs to have a really good game. The Giants' secondary and LB corps are suspect against the pass; they do well because their D-line does such a good job pressuring the QB. Their coverage guys aren't as good as Baltimore's. If Brady has time to throw, he should be able to shred them. Of course, I thought the same thing about yesterday's game, but still...their chances go up considerably if they give Brady time to throw and if they get some push in the running game. I want everyone to be healthy (Gronk and Mankins especially) and I want the line to play its best game against the toughest D-line they will have faced all season.


No analysis is ever revolutionary, including this one. Win in the trenches, win the turnover battle, and the Pats should win the game. Lose those battles, and the Giants likely hoist the Lombardi again.

#2 jose melendez


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:35 AM

I'd like my royalties please.

#3 Dehere

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:42 AM

I'll add one: Tackling Victor Cruz. Cruz averages over 7.0 YAC, which I believe is the most in the league for any WR with more than 50 catches (kind of an arbitrary benchmark, I know, just making the point that he's an elite YAC guy). Everybody here is well acquainted with the NE secondary. I think there's a good chance that Victor Cruz is going to go nuts in the Super Bowl.

#4 ivanvamp


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:43 AM

I'd like my royalties please.


Heh. Your keys are poetry...Shakespeare to my ee cummings.

#5 ivanvamp


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:46 AM

I'll add one: Tackling Victor Cruz. Cruz averages over 7.0 YAC, which I believe is the most in the league for any WR with more than 50 catches (kind of an arbitrary benchmark, I know, just making the point that he's an elite YAC guy). Everybody here is well acquainted with the NE secondary. I think there's a good chance that Victor Cruz is going to go nuts in the Super Bowl.


I agree. And if they do everything they can to lock down Cruz, then Nicks and/or Manningham can have field days. This is the most worrisome aspect of the game for me.....the Pats' ability to keep the Giants' offense under control. I think the key is the D-line hammering Eli.

But one thing I think we can say for sure: the Pats aren't getting blown out. They have the ability to blow out the Giants, but nobody really blows out the Patriots. I think this ends up being an absolute war.

#6 Super Nomario


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 12:22 PM

I'll add one: Tackling Victor Cruz. Cruz averages over 7.0 YAC, which I believe is the most in the league for any WR with more than 50 catches (kind of an arbitrary benchmark, I know, just making the point that he's an elite YAC guy). Everybody here is well acquainted with the NE secondary. I think there's a good chance that Victor Cruz is going to go nuts in the Super Bowl.

This was an understated key for SF yesterday. They completely shut down the Giants in the second half, and one of the major factors was that they didn't seem to miss an open-field tackle all day. There were a bunch of times when a guy caught the ball in the flat or Bradshaw broke through the LOS and it looked like they might get a decent game only to see a 49er LB close on him and bring him down for a minimal gain. The Pats are not going to do as well in this category.

#7 Zomp


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 12:48 PM

I just posted this in the Giants thread, but to me its going to be won in the trenches. Whoever gives their quarterback more time to throw will win. It may be a simplistic view but if Brady has time he'll rape the Giants, and the same can be said for Eli vs the Pats (who didn't have Nicks in the first game against the Pats this season).

#8 RedOctober3829


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 12:50 PM

One early key I see is that the Patriots need to keep the tempo as high on offense as they possibly can all game long. That dome will be hot as shit and playing fast is going to tire out the Giants' D-line.

#9 KiltedFool


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 12:57 PM

Nomario, I recall reading before the SF game something to the effect that the Niners had the best or near-best tacklers in the league, based on either lowest number of broken tackles or lowest YAC. Was really impressive how often they made very good open field tackles. Their technique was also very damn good, a lot of wrap up form tackling rather than attempts to blow the runner up. How many times did you see a dump to the flat and you assume the receiver was going to get another 6 or 7 and a first down and he was stopped pretty emphatically after only a yard or two?

Zomp, not to head off to my fainting couch but poor choice of words.

#10 dcmissle


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 03:10 PM

This is the elephant in the room, repeated in last night's NFC game thread here as the Niners tossed the game. Didn't take long to go national.

During crunch time of Sunday’s AFC title game, Baltimore’s best receiver was being covered in the slot by a second-string receiver/emergency defensive back. And Anquan Boldin was repeatedly having his way with Julian Edelman.

So what’s going to happen when the Patriots’ defensive backs have to handle Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham?
Bad things, man.

The Giants have much better receivers than they had four years ago, and the Patriots don’t have the same caliber of defensive backs that they enjoyed the last time these two teams met in a Super Bowl.

Apart from bending frequently and playing tight in the red zone, any thoughts on handling these 3?

#11 mwonow

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 03:20 PM

This is the elephant in the room, repeated in last night's NFC game thread here as the Niners tossed the game. Didn't take long to go national.

During crunch time of Sunday’s AFC title game, Baltimore’s best receiver was being covered in the slot by a second-string receiver/emergency defensive back. And Anquan Boldin was repeatedly having his way with Julian Edelman.

So what’s going to happen when the Patriots’ defensive backs have to handle Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham?
Bad things, man.

The Giants have much better receivers than they had four years ago, and the Patriots don’t have the same caliber of defensive backs that they enjoyed the last time these two teams met in a Super Bowl.

Apart from bending frequently and playing tight in the red zone, any thoughts on handling these 3?


Here's one tactic I hope they don't try - rush three and drop 8. Against Flacco & co,. this was pretty well an automatic complete - to the point that it seemed like NE was conceding the completion in order to have guys around to tackle the pass catcher.

Rushing 4 leaves one fewer guy around to clean up, and likely adds YAC, but at least there's a chance of hurrying the passer into an incompletion...

#12 H78

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 03:23 PM

Yes, you need to rely on pressuring Manning and having Mayo blanket the halfback. The Giants' O-Line hasn't been that great, and Eli's taken a lot of hits because of it. If we can pressure Eli and minimize the yards after the catch from his trademark dump passes, I think our corners can do enough, overall, to keep us in the game. There's no question that we also need a good offensive day, but we NEED defensive pressure to win this game. I think if we can score 27+ points and Vince/Anderson play well, we'll win.

#13 Shelterdog


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 03:32 PM

This is the elephant in the room, repeated in last night's NFC game thread here as the Niners tossed the game. Didn't take long to go national.


Everyone and his mother is talking about this elephant in the room, so it's not an elephant in the room.

The answer is pretty straightfoward. You play a lot of nickel, you switch coverage a lot, you switch your blitzing/rushing approaches quite a bit, you hope to confuse Eli a few times, you don't give up the long ball, and you pray that you can win the game on offense.

#14 SMU_Sox


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 03:33 PM

One early key I see is that the Patriots need to keep the tempo as high on offense as they possibly can all game long. That dome will be hot as shit and playing fast is going to tire out the Giants' D-line.


Not if they get to Brady. If anything won't a fast turf help the Giants' D-line? I truly have no idea if their O-line can handle this front four. If they do, we have a good chance to win. If not? We're probably done.

#15 DrewDawg


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 03:49 PM

<p>

This is the elephant in the room, repeated in last night's NFC game thread here as the Niners tossed the game.††Didn't take long to go national.

During crunch time of Sundayís AFC title game, Baltimoreís best receiver was being covered in the slot by a second-string receiver/emergency defensive back.††And Anquan Boldin was repeatedly having his way with Julian Edelman.

So whatís going to happen when the Patriotsí defensive backs have to handle Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham?
Bad things, man.

The Giants have much better receivers than they had four years ago, and the Patriots donít have the same caliber of defensive backs that they enjoyed the last time these two teams met in a Super Bowl.

Apart from bending frequently and playing tight in the red zone, any thoughts on handling these 3?


Boldin had 4 of his 6 catches on that drive. Who was covering him the remaining 58 minutes when he had 2 catches?

#16 soxfan121


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 04:08 PM

The defensive key the same thing they've ridden to two other victories - Vince Wilfork. If Wilfork can dominate his matchup(s) and the other DL, Love/Deaderick/Warren/Ellis can plug rushing lanes, the Pats can disrupt Eli & the passing game. Mark Anderson & Nink will also be key, but really, it's about Vince. If the pocket is pushed into Eli's face and he has to move, mistakes will be made and capitalized on. Vince.

The offensive key is the OL for the Pats controlling the Giants pass rush. Belichick might lock Mankins, Connolly & Light in the film room with the 07 game tape on a loop this week. Waters has been stellar but Solder is gonna have to come up huge this week. Or, alternatively, Vollmer has to be healthy enough to allow Solder to line up as a blocking TE/FB in the hurry-up package. Gronk-Hernandez-Welker-Branch-Solder provides a ton of protection options and if you're ever gonna use Solder as receiver in short yardage situations, it's in this game. Protecting Brady is essential.

#17 bsj


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:25 PM

I posted this in another thread but may make sense here...very early focal points...

1- Victor Cruz. If he could do it against SF, he absolutely can have a 10 catch 150 yard game against the Pats...and if he does, New England is going to have a major uphill climb to win the game.
2- The Pats offensive line. The Giants D Line is great. Not good. great. If Brady is dropped 5 times again, and hurried all day, Pats probably don't win because of #1 above. The Giants WILL score points. Brady MUST be given ample time to generate the offense needed to keep up.


#18 Super Nomario


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:34 PM

Pats have not had to run much nickel D in the first two playoff games, but they're likely going to be in sub most of the game against the Giants. What does that mean? Jones was the primary nickelback the past few weeks of the season, but he was a healthy scratch against Denver and it seemed like Edelman was playing over him against Baltimore. Is Edelman going to play 40+ snaps against NYG? Are they going to switch up who's covering Cruz? Are we going to see Arrington in the slot and Molden and Moore outside? Is McCourty going to play the whole game at FS?

EDIT: and can the Pats stop the Giants' rush out of their sub formations? Giants have been terrible running the ball this year but they run quite a bit, and Pats have struggled stopping the run out of the nickel.

Edited by Super Nomario, 23 January 2012 - 05:43 PM.


#19 ( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:40 PM

The defensive key the same thing they've ridden to two other victories - Vince Wilfork. If Wilfork can dominate his matchup(s) and the other DL, Love/Deaderick/Warren/Ellis can plug rushing lanes, the Pats can disrupt Eli & the passing game. Mark Anderson & Nink will also be key, but really, it's about Vince. If the pocket is pushed into Eli's face and he has to move, mistakes will be made and capitalized on. Vince.

The offensive key is the OL for the Pats controlling the Giants pass rush. Belichick might lock Mankins, Connolly & Light in the film room with the 07 game tape on a loop this week. Waters has been stellar but Solder is gonna have to come up huge this week. Or, alternatively, Vollmer has to be healthy enough to allow Solder to line up as a blocking TE/FB in the hurry-up package. Gronk-Hernandez-Welker-Branch-Solder provides a ton of protection options and if you're ever gonna use Solder as receiver in short yardage situations, it's in this game. Protecting Brady is essential.


The highlighted part will be the difference. Eli made his shares of mistakes against San Fran. But their DBs ran into each other a few times and dropped what looked like sure thing INTs. If the 49ers hold onto some of those balls there might have been a different outcome (suddenly I am becoming irate at Asante Samuel).

Eli is due for a poor playoff game. He has proven that he belongs in the elite conversation no doubt about that. But so far in this post season alone we've seen Brady have a shitty game, Brees throw two picks in a game and Rodgers lose a game where he threw a pick and missed quite a few makeable plays. If those three guys can lay a terrible to medium sized egg in the playoffs then god damn so can Eli Manning.

I think the Pats have a law of averages thing going on their side.

#20 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:42 PM

It should be noted that the Giants OL is also a metric fuckton worse than it was in '07-'09 or so. I have a lot of confidence that the Pats front 7 - which has played out of its mind the past few weeks - will have success against a front featuring Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie and mediocrity. This isn't Diehl-Seubert-O'Hara-Snee-McKenzie. It's Diehl - who was playing LG earlier in the year because he was sucking out loud at LT, and who is not the same player he was in '07 (and allowed TEN pressures yesterday) - Kevin Boothe (former reserve), David Baas (we all saw what happened yesterday - he's banged up as well), Chris Snee (their best OL), and Kareem McKenzie. The Patriots don't have SF's front seven, but, again, it's currently a strong unit that, for stretches, kicked the shit out of strong Denver/Baltimore OL.

The Pats OL vs. Giants DL will get all the press, and the Pats DL vs. Giants OL will be taken for granted as a Giants advantage, but I'm not sure I agree with that. How is Diehl blocking Mark Anderson? And how is ANYONE blocking Vince Wilfork? He made Marshall Yanda look like Vlad Ducasse for stretches of that game. I actually LIKE this matchup for the Patriots, and it is a reason why my fear of the Giants passing game is a bit tempered.

EDIT - And the Pats' handling of the Ravens pass rush has me feeling much better about facing the Giants front four. I think the Pats have an advantage in the trenches on both sides.

EDIT2 - Jesus, they allowed 28 pressures in the second half yesterday. That's incredible. This will be written off as 'well, Niners D!', but that's beyond awful.

Edited by Mystic Merlin, 23 January 2012 - 05:49 PM.


#21 Dehere

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 05:51 PM

I don't disagree about the Giants o-line but just from what I see their backs are outstanding in blitz pickup and they make up for a lot of deficiencies on the line. I thought that Bradshaw in particular was terrific in blitz pickup yesterday. For as much as Eli was hit he could have been hit 5-10 more times if not for Bradshaw. So while I don't think the NYG o-line is that great I'd say their pass protection overall is pretty good.

Related to that, I think that sending one blitzer against Eli is a good way to get torched. If you're going to blitz Eli you have to BLITZ, and that means six pass rushers. To missile's point above I think that's the way you keep the NYG receivers (more or less) in check. Rush three or rush six, but don't rush four or five or Eli and those receivers will torture the NE secondary.

#22 There is no Rev


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:07 PM

I'd like to hear people's thoughts about personnel packages vis-a-vis the Giants D. The Ravens had a great passing defense which certainly affects Lawfirm's usage; even though he was effective in the running game, he was frequently off the field to keep Baltimore in the nickel. Do the differences between the Giants and Ravens defenses allow for him to stay on the field more often, even when they want to pass, perhaps even in the no huddle?

Granted, they didn't always run when he was in, but they usually did (he had 15 rushes and was in for 24 of 67 snaps) (Woodhead was in for 25 of 67; Edelman for 27 of 67). Does the Giants' weaker passing defense allow for more trickeration?

Here's the formation numbers, fwiw. (Reiss)

2 WR/2 TE/1 RB -- 37 of 67
3 WR/2 TE -- 18 of 67
3 WR/1 TE/1 RB -- 9 of 67
3 TE/1 FB/1 RB -- 2 of 67
1 WR/3 TE/1 RB -- 1 of 67

The 9 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB snaps are from when Mr. Gronkowski was out.

#23 Kull


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:40 PM

The Pats Special Teams on the kicking side were excellent in the Ravens game, and that aspect of their perfomance was overshadowed by the two fumbles and wrong-way Edelman on the receiving side. Baltimore had 8 possessions following kicks, and all of them started between the 20 and 22. That's important, because to pick up on some of the comments above, the way to beat the Giants is to take a page from the "Beating Brady" playbook and put constant pressure on Eli. And all indications are that the Patriots D-line should be able to do that against a much inferior Giants O-line. When Eli was pressured in the SF game, he was not accurate, even more so than Brady. And if Eli starts every drive from his 20 that's going to mean it should take a lot of plays to get down into scoring range and there will be plenty of opportunities for him to be inaccurate along the way. Whether those result in turnovers or 3rd down incompletions or even FGs almost doesn't matter. So long as the turnover battle is even and Brady can make more plays, the Pats should win.

#24 MarcSullivaFan

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:54 PM

One early key I see is that the Patriots need to keep the tempo as high on offense as they possibly can all game long. That dome will be hot as shit and playing fast is going to tire out the Giants' D-line.


I was at the NCAA final at Lucas Oil two years ago and it wasn't hot at all. It will be a comfortable 72. It's not the RCA (Hoosier) dome.

#25 mwonow

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 07:35 PM

I don't disagree about the Giants o-line but just from what I see their backs are outstanding in blitz pickup and they make up for a lot of deficiencies on the line. I thought that Bradshaw in particular was terrific in blitz pickup yesterday. For as much as Eli was hit he could have been hit 5-10 more times if not for Bradshaw. So while I don't think the NYG o-line is that great I'd say their pass protection overall is pretty good.

Related to that, I think that sending one blitzer against Eli is a good way to get torched. If you're going to blitz Eli you have to BLITZ, and that means six pass rushers. To missile's point above I think that's the way you keep the NYG receivers (more or less) in check. Rush three or rush six, but don't rush four or five or Eli and those receivers will torture the NE secondary.


"Rush three"? Did you watch the Ravens game? Rush 3 meant "we've got guys in the picture after the receiver catches the ball." Rush 4 was the key to getting enough pressure on Flacco to stop him from picking the secondary apart - and if Flacco could do it with Boldin & Smith, Eli can do it with Cruz/Nicks/Manningham. I don't think Ballard is as good as Pitta (seems like every time I'm watching him, he's dropping a catchable ball), but the NYG wide receivers and the QB are better than the Ravens' guys, and the Pats are going to have to make them sweat if they want to keep them from ending drives in the end zone.

#26 jacklamabe65


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 07:54 PM

After perusing through this thread, it seems that the Pats don't have a chance.

#27 SMU_Sox


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:22 PM

How about red zone efficiency? Both teams are probably going to move the ball. The team who is limited to the most FG's loses?

#28 Super Nomario


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:09 PM

Pats have not had to run much nickel D in the first two playoff games, but they're likely going to be in sub most of the game against the Giants. What does that mean? Jones was the primary nickelback the past few weeks of the season, but he was a healthy scratch against Denver and it seemed like Edelman was playing over him against Baltimore. Is Edelman going to play 40+ snaps against NYG? Are they going to switch up who's covering Cruz? Are we going to see Arrington in the slot and Molden and Moore outside? Is McCourty going to play the whole game at FS?

Reiss posted yesterday's defensive snaps: http://espn.go.com/b...wilfork-hits-70

Only 1 snap for Jones. Just 13 for Molden, too; he seems to have been passed by Moore (who had 46 snaps). Overall for the postseason we're looking at:
DEN BAL Total %
Chung 71 73 100%
McCourty 68 73 98%
Arrington 61 48 76%
Ihedigbo 41 61 71%
Moore 36 46 57%
Edelman 4 27 22%
Molden 3 13 11%
Jones 0 1 1%


Edelman does appear to have passed Jones as the trusted nickelback, though maybe his performance Sunday will change that. I have a hard time believing they'll put Edelman on Cruz all game, but I'm not sold on the other options (Jones, Ihedigbo) either, and Molden seems to be strictly an outside guy.

My prediction: we see a 4-2-5 base D with Chung and McCourty at safety, Moore and Arrington outside, Ihedigbo kind of roving in a LB / S hybrid role, Mayo and Spikes as the linebackers, and an Anderson / Wilfork / Love / Ninkovich line. In running situations or if the Giants go 2 WR, Moore comes off, McCourty goes outside, and Deaderick or Warren spell Anderson, with Ninkovich moving to OLB. In obvious passing situations Spikes and Ihedigbo come off for Fletcher and Edelman(?).

#29 Mugthis

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:24 PM

I know the Giants didn't have Nicks for the Week 9 but, but the the vaunted Giants passing attacking only scored 24 points against the Pats shitty D. Eli's QB-rating was 77.9. Giants offensive is better than then, but so is the Pats' defense. I don't buy that the Pats have no chance against this offense.

#30 RedOctober3829


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:51 PM

I know the Giants didn't have Nicks for the Week 9 but, but the the vaunted Giants passing attacking only scored 24 points against the Pats shitty D. Eli's QB-rating was 77.9. Giants offensive is better than then, but so is the Pats' defense. I don't buy that the Pats have no chance against this offense.


I'm not even sure using anything from the regular season matchup is really worth a lot. The Giants were missing Nicks and Bradshaw while it was Osi's first game back. The Patriots lost Spikes, Chung, and Gary Guyton(who was playing for Spikes)during the game. That last drive for the Giants the Pats had Tracy White playing MLB and covering Jake Ballard which will not be happening this time around.

#31 Mugthis

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 11:59 PM

During week 15, the Giants put up 10 points against the (then) 4-9 Redskins. Eli threw zero TDs on 40 passes, but did throw 3 interceptions. As far as I can tell, all the Giants key offensive players were playing. I see zero reason to ignore this game in the analysis but instead just focus on the Giants 5-game winning steak.

#32 SMU_Sox


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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:06 PM

We've covered it here but I can't stress enough how key one matchup is to this entire game: Patriots' O-line versus the Giants' front 7.

The Patriots' defense, even if we assume it is playing the best it has all season, has much of their points per game success predicated on two significant factors that have nothing to do with their own performance. 1) They face their opponent fewer times than average (opponents have fewer drives against the Patriots). 2) They start out with the best field position in the league and hence they play with more yards between them and the goal-line than anyone else this season (if they weren't number 1 they were number 2 to SF). Now I'm not saying these two factors explain everything about why this defense gives up more yards than points, but it is certainly highly relevant. A third factor to look at is teams make mistakes against the Patriots when trying to dig out of a hole but I don't think that will be all that meaningful to look at in this upcoming game.

The first factor relates to how successful the Pats' offense is. Their offensive typically puts together long drives and does not punt often. These long drives keep their opponents off the field. Why then don't the Patriots dominate in TOP? Because their defense has a similar problem - it too allows opponents to put together long drives. But if their opponent starts out at the 10 yard line even a 40 yard drive that eats up 3:00 or more of clock time isn't going to net in points which leads us to...

Factor two: field position. This whole bend but don't break argument is made possible by the Pats having a lot more room to bend. The Patriots' have phenomenal special teams and Mesko is a big part of that. 42% of his punts pin opposing offenses at the 20 yard-line or worse (Andy Lee's %? 36%). Part of that is skill, his and the punt coverage unit, but part of that is because it is easier to pin an opponent to the 20 or worse if your offense doesn't stall and force you to punt out of your own endzone.

So what the offense does has such an impact on the Patriots special teams and defense.

And then when you examine matchups you would see that even if one assumes the Giants' secondary is physical and jams the NE WR's and TE's they won't be able to shut down those WRs and TEs long enough without a very good pass rush. I'm not even going to look in depth into the run game which is obviously connected to the O-line. The point here is that, in the vast majority of games we have a sample for: as the O-line goes Brady goes. And as Brady goes so goes the offense.

I believe that for the NE Patriots to win this SB they need to win the battle against the Giants' D-line, front seven, pass rush, etc.. If they can do that enough should fall into place for a win.

#33 abty

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:11 PM

During week 15, the Giants put up 10 points against the (then) 4-9 Redskins. Eli threw zero TDs on 40 passes, but did throw 3 interceptions. As far as I can tell, all the Giants key offensive players were playing. I see zero reason to ignore this game in the analysis but instead just focus on the Giants 5-game winning steak.


Up to that point, for the last few years, it was standard operating procedure to put up a shit performance at home. It made no sense to the fans. None at all. They were booed heavily esp. since the Redskins beat them earlier. The Redskins and all division rivals, even if they are 0-14, always find ways to make life miserable for the Giants. Until this winning streak, you could make the case that the Giants were the biggest flop at home. They always let their fans down. It was a real head scratcher. Then, out of nowhere, Rolle goes nuts on his team and they pull their heads out of their asses.

They had a real bad habit of playing down to their competition and, even if they don't admit it, looking ahead. Oddly enough, the game didn't matter but it was infuriating to me because it was no different than that awful win vs the Dolphins at home and the awful Seahawks game. Sometimes, even when they are at their best, they'll just never show up for a home game. It's why the home wins surprised me so much. Just the idea that they finally played like an NFL team at home was exciting - let alone the fact that they would win those games.

Edited by abty, 24 January 2012 - 12:12 PM.


#34 Super Nomario


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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:42 PM

Up to that point, for the last few years, it was standard operating procedure to put up a shit performance at home. It made no sense to the fans. None at all. They were booed heavily esp. since the Redskins beat them earlier. The Redskins and all division rivals, even if they are 0-14, always find ways to make life miserable for the Giants. Until this winning streak, you could make the case that the Giants were the biggest flop at home. They always let their fans down. It was a real head scratcher. Then, out of nowhere, Rolle goes nuts on his team and they pull their heads out of their asses.

They had a real bad habit of playing down to their competition and, even if they don't admit it, looking ahead. Oddly enough, the game didn't matter but it was infuriating to me because it was no different than that awful win vs the Dolphins at home and the awful Seahawks game. Sometimes, even when they are at their best, they'll just never show up for a home game. It's why the home wins surprised me so much. Just the idea that they finally played like an NFL team at home was exciting - let alone the fact that they would win those games.

I don't think it makes sense to just write off the Redskins game. We're basically saying the same thing - "Sometimes the Giants play badly" - but you seem to be making the assumption that there is no chance they will do so at the Super Bowl. The Giants' inconsistency is part of their package.

For all Eli's talents, he can be interception-prone; he actually has more career INTs than Brady (129 to 115) in more than 1000 fewer attempts. A couple times a year, he drops a turd. So does every QB (including Brady), but Eli's are a little more frequent and a little turdier. He dropped stinkbombs in first-round playoff losses in '05 and '08, so it's not like he's immune from having bad playoff games. Do I expect Eli to have a 3-turnover game against the Pats on Super Bowl Sunday? No, but I don't think the odds are 0% either.

#35 Toe Nash

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:49 PM

Eli's health could be an issue. He'll play, and they'll keep anything under wraps, but he got POUNDED against the 49ers. He's gotta be a little banged up and it wouldn't surprise me if he wasn't 100%.

#36 tims4wins


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Posted 24 January 2012 - 12:53 PM

I didn't get to see the matchup earlier this year - how did the Pats try to defend the Giants? Was it more pressure-based, or only rushing 3 or 4 guys and dropping the rest? Granted, Nicks missed the game, so things will change this time around, but it seemed like the approach last time was fairly effective, in that the Giants had 0 points at halftime and only 17 with 2 minutes left in the game.

Do folks here expect the Pats to mostly drop into coverage, or bring some heat?

#37 Super Nomario


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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:05 PM

I didn't get to see the matchup earlier this year - how did the Pats try to defend the Giants? Was it more pressure-based, or only rushing 3 or 4 guys and dropping the rest? Granted, Nicks missed the game, so things will change this time around, but it seemed like the approach last time was fairly effective, in that the Giants had 0 points at halftime and only 17 with 2 minutes left in the game.

Do folks here expect the Pats to mostly drop into coverage, or bring some heat?

Eli's numbers are really good against the blitz and less impressive against 3-4-man rushes, so I think the Pats will try to err on the side of more players in coverage. However, if they can't get pressure with 3-4, Eli will eat them alive, so they might be forced into blitzing. I expect they will try to mix things up enough that he can't get too comfortable.

#38 tims4wins


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Posted 24 January 2012 - 01:14 PM

Looks like NFL Network will air the Pats-Giants game from earlier this season at 8:30pm on Thursday. I'll have to DVR that to take a look.

#39 mwonow

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:22 PM

Eli's numbers are really good against the blitz and less impressive against 3-4-man rushes, so I think the Pats will try to err on the side of more players in coverage. However, if they can't get pressure with 3-4, Eli will eat them alive, so they might be forced into blitzing. I expect they will try to mix things up enough that he can't get too comfortable.


The Pats got pressure with 4 last weekend, and no pressure with 3. Their DBs can't cover for any length of time. My guess is that while BB will almost certainly throw different looks at Eli, the Pats (like the Giants, fwiw) will consider pressure with four guys to be the best way to limit the opposing offense.

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:35 PM

The Pats got pressure with 4 last weekend, and no pressure with 3. Their DBs can't cover for any length of time. My guess is that while BB will almost certainly throw different looks at Eli, the Pats (like the Giants, fwiw) will consider pressure with four guys to be the best way to limit the opposing offense.

FO noted this surprising fact from the NFCCG preview: (http://www.footballo...ionship-preview)

Second, and entirely contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Giants rush four 63 percent of the time, which is only 19th-most in the league. Furthermore, their defensive success rate when rushing four is ninth-worst. Rather, what New York does more than most teams is big blitz: They're ranked ninth in frequency of six-or-more rushers. This means that, despite all the talk this week of New York's ability to get a rush from their front-four, San Francisco finds itself in the same they-blitz-and-we're-not-good-at-blitz-pickup scenario they were in against the Saints.

I don't know whether this held true to form against SF, and of course how they approached Alex Smith and the 49ers offensive line will likely be different than how they approach Brady and the Pats' O-line. I'd be surprised if they blitz Brady a ton, but I'm sure they don't want to get too predictable on defense either.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Pats come out running quite a bit. The Giants like to play games on their D-line and Woodhead or BJGE gashing them on draws will be a good way to limit that. The Giants' rush defense was only average this season and the Pats have been surprisingly successful and looked good running against Baltimore last week.

#41 triniSox

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 02:39 PM

I didn't get to see the matchup earlier this year - how did the Pats try to defend the Giants? Was it more pressure-based, or only rushing 3 or 4 guys and dropping the rest? Granted, Nicks missed the game, so things will change this time around, but it seemed like the approach last time was fairly effective, in that the Giants had 0 points at halftime and only 17 with 2 minutes left in the game.

Do folks here expect the Pats to mostly drop into coverage, or bring some heat?

I'm expecting a lot of 3-4 with a fair amount of dropping into coverage and letting the D-line do their work. Maybe BB will dust off some of his old Peyton gameplans to try to confuse Eli. With 2 weeks to gameplan and relative continuity in the secondary personnel, I'm expecting Belichick to draw up some more complex disguises and schemes.

I think less focus will be on stopping the run this week. The Giants WRs are what will kill you. Bill Belichick may have his faults but most of the times, he takes out the opponent's biggest strength. Case in point: Ray Rice 78 yards total from scrimmage last week.

#42 abty

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:54 PM

I don't think it makes sense to just write off the Redskins game. We're basically saying the same thing - "Sometimes the Giants play badly" - but you seem to be making the assumption that there is no chance they will do so at the Super Bowl. The Giants' inconsistency is part of their package.

For all Eli's talents, he can be interception-prone; he actually has more career INTs than Brady (129 to 115) in more than 1000 fewer attempts. A couple times a year, he drops a turd. So does every QB (including Brady), but Eli's are a little more frequent and a little turdier. He dropped stinkbombs in first-round playoff losses in '05 and '08, so it's not like he's immune from having bad playoff games. Do I expect Eli to have a 3-turnover game against the Pats on Super Bowl Sunday? No, but I don't think the odds are 0% either.


The main gripe with Giants fans is that the only stinkers they put up (outside of the Saints game) seem to be vs bad teams. They always show up vs good teams. It made no damn sense. For instnace, before the run, they beat the Patriots, almost tie the 49'ers and almost beat the Packers. It's been their M.O for a while, not just this year. I was ranting about it well before the streak. It would concern me more if there was no real pattern to their toilet bowl performances but it got to a point I would say "They stink today" and, sure enough, they would. It's an odd pattern. Can the Giants throw a stinker? Sure. But their stinkers came from (usually) 1/3 of their WR's hurt, No Bradshaw (brutal) and no pass rush (awful secondary). Oh, listen, if our front 4 were hurt, you'd score 49 points against us. No doubt about it.

#43 abty

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 06:56 PM

My 'keys to the game' is to have the defensive coordinator realize how awful our CB's are and have them Double Team Welker and Gronk (unless he's not 100% mobile) and hold their nose when a pass goes deep and pray for their best. God, they are awful. I hate them. They need to score early, stop early and make Brady create 16+ plays to get a TD. No more "I got Davis, oh, wait, whoops" by Rolle. None of that crap. If the Giants can limit the pass game they will win. If not, I'll be watching Blade Runner by halftime.

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 07:08 PM

The main gripe with Giants fans is that the only stinkers they put up (outside of the Saints game) seem to be vs bad teams. They always show up vs good teams. It made no damn sense. For instnace, before the run, they beat the Patriots, almost tie the 49'ers and almost beat the Packers. It's been their M.O for a while, not just this year. I was ranting about it well before the streak. It would concern me more if there was no real pattern to their toilet bowl performances but it got to a point I would say "They stink today" and, sure enough, they would. It's an odd pattern. Can the Giants throw a stinker? Sure. But their stinkers came from (usually) 1/3 of their WR's hurt, No Bradshaw (brutal) and no pass rush (awful secondary). Oh, listen, if our front 4 were hurt, you'd score 49 points against us. No doubt about it.

I don't think it's likely the Giants throw up a stinker, but I think it's more likely they do than the Pats do. The Pats lost one game by 8 points this year; the other two losses were by 4 and by 3. The Giants lost four games by larger margins.

I think you may be engaging in a bit of selective memory here: last year the Giants lost big to the Colts (playoff team), Titans (bad team), Cowboys (bad team), Eagles (playoff team), and Packers (playoff team). The '09 team lost big to the Saints (playoff team), Eagles (playoff team), Broncos (8-8), Panthers (8-8), and Vikings (playoff team). The '08 team did lose to a bad Browns team; their other large loss was to the 9-7 Cowboys. In '07 they lost by multiple scores to the playoff-bound Packers, Cowboys, and Redskins, and an 8-8 Viking teams. I think you remember the losses to shitty teams more because it's such a surprise.

#45 Al Zarilla


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Posted 25 January 2012 - 07:13 PM

No more "I got Davis, oh, wait, whoops" by Rolle.If the Giants can limit the pass game they will win.

I hope they're still looking for Vernon until at least the end of the first half. :nsmith:

If the Giants can limit the pass game they will win.

If I'd mortgaged my house and turned it all into AAPL in 2002, I'd be taking my own jet to this game.

#46 Stitch01


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Posted 25 January 2012 - 07:14 PM

Im not really sure what's being defined as a good team, but Im probably going to need more than a six game sample size before Im convinced a team can just hit the win button and guarantee a strong performance and that we can just throw out losses to crappy teams.

#47 abty

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:14 PM

"I think you may be engaging in a bit of selective memory here: last year the Giants lost big to the Colts (playoff team), Titans (bad team), Cowboys (bad team), Eagles (playoff team), and Packers (playoff team)."

We lose to good teams. My point is this team, from the conversations & observations I've shared with Giant fans over the years, especially in home games, the team always seemed to at least put up fights vs good teams but crap vs crap teams. It's not scientific and it's a bit tongue in cheek but it is a complaint we have had for a while. The entire 'pattern of behavior' changed after Tuck got healthy, cleared the air with his coach/team and when Rolle went nuts about their practicing. Whether it's a coincidence or not doesn't matter. What matters is their defense forced a ton of qb's to run for their life and throw up shit games.

Edited by abty, 25 January 2012 - 08:21 PM.


#48 abty

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:17 PM

Im not really sure what's being defined as a good team, but Im probably going to need more than a six game sample size before Im convinced a team can just hit the win button and guarantee a strong performance and that we can just throw out losses to crappy teams.


Who have the Patriots beaten other than the Ravens? What's the Giants' record if they are healthy and face the Dolphins/Bills instead of the Eagles/Redskins? Who knows. What if we didn't play the Saints/Packers/49'ers and you did? When we start playing 'what if' based on win %/etc we overlook too many variables. Here's how I see it; the Giants are the only team I know of to beat the Falcons, Packers, Cowboys, Patriots and 49'ers (4 of which were on the road). They were fairly healthy for those games that they won and not as healthy when they lost. Did that not happen to the 2006 Colts?

They played like shit without their front 4 and without Bradsahw. It's not that difficult to recognize. Take away your key defensive players and put Gronk or Hernandez or Welker on the sidelines for a few games and play the saints/49'ers on the road/etc and you might have a different record. I would not judge this current Pats team to such a team, earlier in the year, had they struggled. I judge a team as they are now and look for reasons a team improves. You got healthy, your defense improved and your OL did a great job. Therefore you won 44 in a row and deserve credit. Would you have won all those games in a row playing N.O, SF or G.B on the road? No. Nobody would. That's not a judgement of a team.

Whatever the #'s say, the Patriots haven't faced this team. I can name 5 teams that were sure they'd beat the Giants and 5 fan bases that were just as sure. That's all I can say, honestly. Only time will tell. I'm not here to say who/what is right or wrong. I'm just saying to be prepared for a different team.

Edited by abty, 25 January 2012 - 08:19 PM.


#49 Stitch01


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Posted 26 January 2012 - 12:55 AM

44 wins in a row would be pretty awesome, hope you are clairvoyant.

I think you are confusing me with someone that thinks the Giants have no shot.




#50 jacklamabe65


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Posted 27 January 2012 - 05:01 PM

BB confuses all - no hurry-up offense; they establish the running game with pass-action; keep the ball away from the Giants offense while wearing down their defense by being on the field so much. They then go to the jugular later on in the game as Brady opens up his passing game.