Sunday, January 22, 2012

NFC title game, 2 great defenses

Heres a thought, lets assume because its wet both the 49ers and the Giants want to run the ball. And lets further assume both defenses are slowing if not stopping the run. And lets assume that Alex Smith, who has a reputation as a game manager, showed his growth against the Saints by throwing strikes and orchestrating 2 drives, leading his team to 2 TD's. Lets assume those 2 drives are the improved Alex Smith, and the Giants will face that improved Alex Smith.

So both defenses have stopped the run, and the 2 quarterbacks now have to throw the ball to win the game. Who do you think can carry his team to victory?

Thats why I have changed my view of this game, I was thinking GIants by 3, I'm now thinking GIants by 5.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

49ers star TE is scary good.

Vernon Davis is 6'3", 250 pounds and runs a 4.38 40 yard dash. Vernon Davis is a second faster than Victor Cruz. The Giants defensive backs have some decent speed: Corey Webster: 4.5, Aaron Ross: 4.41, Antrel Rolle: 4.48, Prince Amukamara ran a 4.43 at the combine, but squeaked out a 4.38 on his proday. Matching up with Davis's speed is going to be an issue, bumping Davis in the first 5 yards will be crucial. The Giants have been great at defending Tight Ends the last 4 weeks, Chase Blackburn has been a key factor in the middle, but don't expect Blackburn (4.69) to run with Davis.

Against the Saints Davis benefited from some inside out technique by 2 DB's, Davis's speed means he can run by 2 DB's playing inside out. Downfield, bracketing Davis with 2 players is vital in making sure DAvis gets tackled after he makes his catch.

On shorter timing routes Davis may see a variety of double teams. The Giants covered these routes well in the Green Bay game and Perry Fewells schemes have done well in defending the middle the last 4 games.

Look to see Blackburn bump Davis and cover a crossing route in an underneath zone, with help from from a safety, as Davis runs thru the zone, Blackburn might hand off Davis to the next player in the zone. The Giants have been doing this well since Blackburns return, they've also down it with man and zone in the back end. Then to mix things up rookie safety Tyler Sash will play on run downs, he's a good box type safety who has a nose for the ball, 13 picks and 13 pass defenses in college.

The Giants defense is going to have to play lights out to slow down Vernon Davis, I can see Fewell mixing things up to keep Davis under control and it means QB Alex Smith will have to avoid the rush while deciphering the varying defensive schemes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In the last 4 games, Giants have better offense and defense

The Giants score an average of 30.25 points per game over the last 4 games, while the 49ers have averaged 27.25. NYG have scored 121 pts vs the 49ers 109 over 4 games. While on defense the Giants allow 12 points and the 49ers average 19.75 pts per game. NYG defense has allowed 48 over 4 games, 49ers allowed 79 pts over 4 games.

But for some reason Vegas wants to pick the 49ers?

Looking at the above numbers, the offensive averages are close, but the defensive numbers are glaringly different, nearly 8 points. Before the Atlanta game I had no clue the Giants defense would blank Atlanta, and I thought the Giants would beat Green Bay by 6, not 17. So on Monday afternoon, I'm picking the Giants by 8 points.

Edited to correct a math error.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fewell pumps defense

Rumors are Perry Fewell told his defense that the Green Bay offense would come out on an emotional high and look to strike quick.

Keyshon Johnson picks the Gmen 29-21, I think he Gmen win by 6 points.

9 of Green Bays wins were one possession games.

Dont expect Aaron Rodgers to throw a pick.

Bradshaw and Jacobs must run for 130+ to win.

Secondary must makes plays on deep throws. Pass rush must dictate.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Giants: There is the potential to crush the Pack

Keys to the game, Giants run the ball, Win the battle of turnovers, and defense. Do these 3 things and the Giants win by 6 or more.

Giants are vastly improved since week 13, Packers aren't. In 9 of 16 games the Pack won a one possession game, the 10th they lost, and the remaining 6 games the Pack won by more than one possession.

The way KC beat GB is more important than that KC won. GB went 4 for 16 converting 3rd downs, KC defended the middle and the long ball while rushing the QB. At this point in time the Giants do all of these things better than KC did.

The Giants pass rush is better than the GB O line, even with 2 starters returning for GB. The Giants O line is better than the GB pass rush.

GB is +19 on turnovers, they play a risky secondary technique that yields either a pick for GB or a big play for the opposition. GB DB's cheat up on the WR, not the Tampa 2 style, so the GB Secondary is vulnerable to double moves and 2 WR's crossing/brush off the DB's....

GB has to prepare for the #1 pass rush, a secondary that is playing not as a bottom of the barrel defense, but a top 5 unit. GB also has to defend one of the best WR trios in the league and if the TE's perform, defend against 3 TE's. The Giants will run plays against Clay Matthews, and then do something off of that. Look at the 4th quarter, a physical run game will have the Pack tired, on their heels and it may well be the Giants pad the lead.

Giants rush on punts and kicks has been getting closer the last 4 weeks, if GB keeps another blocker in, they're vulnerable to a big return.

I'm picking the Giants to win, if the Giants run the ball, dont turn the ball over and play Defense like they have, this can be an ugly game for the Packers scoring only 17 points. If the Giants specials give us a TD, and the secondary picks Rodgers... don't be surprised by 31-14 Gmen.

I also think the Giants can survive Eli throwing a pick 6, still winning, the score will be close.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gmen on the road to Green Bay

Conor Orr of the Star Ledger wrote up an interesting article after interveiwing Aaron Rodgers, heres the money quote:
"They've been playing really well as a whole,"

Rodgers is talking about the Giants secondary, not the pass rush. A secondary that is the most improved unit on the team over the last 3 weeks. Yeah the pass rush is better, but looking at the last 2 games of the season the Giants had 11 sacks, 3 of them were coverage sacks. And against Atlanta, the Giants only had 2 sacks.... so one couild argue... that vs Atlanta it wasn't so much the pass rush, but the secondary that was the difference maker.

Part of that improvement is the Giants ability to defend the middle. Since much the Green Bay offense is predicated on timing routes, slants and curls, much of the current Giants defense matches up well in that regard. And then add in the bend but don't break ability of the Giants secondary, its understandable that Rodgers tells us "it's going to be a tough challenge".

Aaron Rodgers can get rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds in the face of pressure, he can scramble and he can run the ball. On first down Rodgers is likely to see the Giants base defenseive line, 2 DE's and 2 DE's. This group of guys will get pressure up the middle to not allow Rodgers to step up, while the DE's are supposed to contain the pocket. The Green Bay running game is not effective enough to make the 1st down run fake meaningful so it maybe up to Rodgers to get the ball out quickly. If this means Rodgers has to challenge the Giants much improved secondary, who defends the middle much better, look to see if Green Bay runs routes to the sideline. Since the Giants tend to use an inside out technique, they may be vunerable to the sideline outs. But.... if the Giants secondary is playing press man coverage, disrupting the receivers as they try and get off the line, will we see Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball away on first down, yeah he's smart and won't take the chance.

While facing 2nd or 3rd and long Rodgers may face 4 DE's, Rodgers may try and scramble, but remember Tuck, Osi and JPP are quick, and they will chase the QB across the field. On 3rd and long Rodgers will have to be more creative, scrambling for time to allow his receivers to get 12-16-18 yards downfield.

The Giants defense has picked it up and Aaron Rodgers and his receivers are going to have to equal the Giants improvement, or lose the game.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Giants Atlanta keys to the game

Atlanta's running game is on the decline. 6 weeks ago they lost their blocking back, with the backup, they have run for 100+ yards only twice in the last 5 weeks. Meanwhile the Giants have run for 100+ in 4 out of the last 5 games, and the Giants have seen the emergence of Henry Hynoski, he blocks, runs, and catches a pass or 2.

Jake Ballard is active, but lets not forget about Bear Pascoe who seems to be targeted 2 or 3 times a game, and has a handful of spectacular 1st down conversions, where Bear has vaulted or high jumped a DB. With 2 Tightends on the field for Atlanta to cover, we may see some opportunities for others to get open.

Mario Manningham is back, so the Giants will field one of the top receiving trios in the league.

The Giants secondary will cover. Yup. @ things happened after the loss to Washington, Coughlin talked to Justin Tuck, who then said he was in the best mental frame of mind that hes been in all year. Perry Fewell talked with the secondary unit, whatever was said, there're no more audibles, and Fewell has tasked the secondary with disguising coverages and to play more press coverage.

Antrel Rolle has said he's fine with playing nickel corner, hinting that if he has to play nickel corner to win a ring, he's down with that.

2 intangibles:
1) Last week vs Dallas, on the play where Tony Romo threw the ball after he crossed the line of scrimmage, because we covered Robinson, Witten, Bryant and Austin for over 10 seconds. Best single secondary play of the year.

2) After the Dallas game the Defensive unit was seen on the sidelines in a group high five. No me, no I, TEAM !

I see a 50% chance the Giants hold Atlanta to 17 points, a 25% chance the Giants win big, a 99% chance the giants win by 6. Giants 31-17.