GREAT WIN! The Giants undressed Atlanta and played outstanding football. The NY Giants are playing their best football of the season right now. That is what matters. That makes this team 'live' to go as far as they want. On Saturday we gave 9 concrete reasons for why the Giants can go far in the playoffs, and the performance the Giants gave on Sunday does everything to confirm that view.
We have been begging for Fewell to abandon his Tampa 2 passive scheme for the past two seasons. In the first 50 minutes of the game, when it mattered, when the Giants put away the Falcons, we were able to tally a total of 45 defensive plays. Multiple Choice: Out of 45 plays, how many of them of them were zone coverage?
D) More than 28
In this playoff game, Fewell called a grand total of 8 zone playcalls out of 45 total plays, or 18%. FANTASTIC!!! In those 8 plays, the Giants got roughed up for 20 yards, 18 yards and 21 yards, but we are not advocating playing man coverage 100% of the time either. Because the Giants played predominantly (82%) man coverage, Julio Jones and Roddy White had a miserable day at the office. Combined they went for 12 catches for 116 yards. LOL!! 59 of those yards came from the passive zone! And one of those 3 catches was in a 3rd and 21 situation where they only got 18 underneath. Subtract 5 yards in garbage time. So essentially the man coverage allowed the two wideouts to get a grand total of 55 yards on ~8 catches. That's a zero, folks. As in- a shutout. And when you add a great effort in run defense with some tremendous short yardage stops, Atlanta shot a zero on offense. BRAVO PERRY FEWELL. Because this is now the 3rd consecutive strong defensive showing, kudos to Tom Coughlin for getting them ready to play when it matters most.
It is not who you play, but when you play them. The Giants are now a very dangerous team to be playing against because they have tremendous confidence. All three phases of their game are coming together at the same time.
The last rule we have, the final word, is that Defense Wins Championships. So when Gilbride couldn't get the offense out of Park in Q1, it was the defense that stymied Matt Ryan and kept the game close. The defense bought the offense enough possessions so that by the time they got their fourth touch, they drove the ball down the field for a TD. Do you remember how this drive began? It began with small ball. It was a boring pass over the middle to Victor Cruz for 6 yards which set up 3rd and 2. Eli scampered for 14 yards and the floodgates opened. Thereafter, the running game loosened up with runs of 8, 0, SMALL PASS TO MOVE CHAINS FOR 7 yds to Bradshaw, 34, 9, 6, 6, and 4 yards. The final pass was a 4 yard slant to Nicks in the end zone.
Usually we do the Good, Bad and the Ugly. Today it is the Great, the Good and the Bad.
1) Perry Fewell. We called for the DC to be fired. After almost 2 years of failure, getting stuck repeatedly like a pinata, it was frankly obvious to us that if he could not change by this point, when was he ever going to change? Maybe after the Washington horror show, maybe he knew he was in grave danger of losing his job and abandoned his Tampa 2 base. That's a guess. Maybe it was Coughlin who urged him to change. But however it happened, it has happened. In the last three games, the Giants have given up 14 to the Jets, 14 to Dallas and now 0 to Atlanta. Is it a coincidence that those three games are the fewest points allowed of ANY games this season? I for one do not think so, given the increased usage of man coverage. The Giants should use more press too, but at least it is simplifying the defense and making Romo, Sanchez and Ryan earn it. None of them did. We'll have all week to discuss Aaron Rodgers, but make no mistake- the Giants defensive effort has been resurrected by man coverage.
2) Gilbride Small Ball. Eli had 11 completions to RBs and TEs. Ballard moves the sticks, Beckum moves the sticks, Bradshaw moves the sticks on the first TD drive. Let's see more of it earlier, but the strobe light seems to be on.
3) Those 3rd and 4th down stops were electric. Mike Smith's decision to go for it and the sneak playcalling were a little charitable, but the Giants did a great job of stopping it.
1) Nicks. Notice how Cruz is getting more attention?!! And how Nicks now has the single coverage? The slant was there all day for the X receiver. This is the exact opposite of the Plax, so this bodes very well for Manning, Nicks, Cruz, Gilbride, the offense and the entire team. Translated: as long as our guys stay healthy, it is hard for Gilbride to screw this up. He's simply got a lot of weapons.
2) Run Defense. They doubled/chipped JPP often, but that couldn't stop him from racking up 8 total tackles. Chase Blackburn is having fun out there, putting up 9 tackles.
3) The crowd noise. It really made Matt Ryan a weak QB. He had trouble audibling or running the no-huddle.
4) Corey Webster and Aaron Ross shut down White and Jones.
5) LBers and Safeties minimized Tony Gonzalez.
6) Brandon Jacobs! He's got some playoff mojo going, and this team thrives off the big fella having that mojo. 14 carries for 92 yards. The job that Boothe and Snee did pulling on the big run was terrific. Remember that it is Brandon Jacobs leading the scrum before kickoff. They feed off of his confidence.
7) Eli Manning. Yawn. 23/32 for 277 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. He is playing at a consistently high level and his poise/escapability in the pocket is becoming Peyton-esque.
8) Weatherford. His great punting in Q1 helped control field position when the Giants offense was in quicksand.
1) The foul-up at the end of H1 where they needed to ask for a (3rd down) measurement was obvious to everyone except Gilbride and Manning.
2) The Aaron Ross injury. How serious? Coughlin hopes it is minor. We need him. Amukamara was in the dark on the playcalls and will get victimized by Rodgers if he has to start this Sunday.
3) Lawrence Tynes missed chippy.
4) Penalties. 7 for 73 yards. Let's remember it was the Snee holding call which set up the Safety. That holding call also negated a 13 yard small ball reception by Bradshaw. GB will make the Giants pay for these mistakes.
When the Giants play man coverage, they make the opponent's offense earn their yards. Aaron Rodgers will rack up plenty of success vs man coverage this coming Sunday. No bother. It will be twice as bad in zone, so make them earn it. Between an effective pass rush and man coverage, maybe Rodgers hits us for 20something points instead of 30something points. Then the game becomes winnable. Eli can put up 30 vs GB's defense, so if the Giants play their 'A game' they can be 'live' in this game. The list of reasons why the Giants can be competitive in the playoffs had the very last reason:
"9) The Green Bay Offensive Line. Yes, let them beat the Falcons first. But if you'll permit us to get ahead of ourselves, the Giants DL can get matched up vs a 15-1 Packers team with an injured OL. Shock the world. Dream. RT Bulaga is hurt, RG Sitton is hurt, LT Clifton was banged up. C Wells is hurt too. Sitton is their best OL in terms of consistency and there are question marks about whether he can suit up."
Anything is possible. Man coverage. Small Ball. Eli Manning.
“One hundred percent we’re going to win . . . because we’re the best.”
That's Pierre-Paul talking about the GB game.
Lately, I've noticed that he's sometimes more worried about celebrating than finishing a play.
Let's be careful about over confidence. Fans seem to be over confident right now, after a win against an over hyped team. I don't care much about fans getting carried away but I hope players don't forget what kind of team GB is and where we're coming from.
That line is +9 for a reason.
“For a white linebacker, he’s pretty versatile.” Tuck about Blackburn ...
Who's gonna call him Blackbum ?
According to Politi he should be teaching 8th graders right now ...
Ross is expected to play sunday.
Good news, I really didn't want Prince "What do I do now ?" Amukamara out there on every snap.
Make no mistake, we have a legit chance to win this game but we will have to play even better than we did against Atlanta. The resurgent running attack gives us more balance to our offense that we have not had all season. It was obvious to Atlanta by watching our previous 2 games that they were going to take Cruz out of the equation. The DC was not about to let him beat them as he did to the Jets & Cowboys. They bracketed him all game and that left Hakeem in single. ( btw, I enjoyed his rendition of the "Dirty Bird" made famous by Jamal Anderson in '98 ) I don't think Green Bay will be able to shut us down either because their defense is not nearly as good as Atlanta's.....AAH....but here' s the rub. The great equalizer! Aaron Rodgers is simply the best QB in the NFL... It is not even close. 45 TD passes and only 6 pics. That is unheard of. How can we ever beat him? Well, I'm sure TC has already placed a call to his old friend Romeo Crenell to pick his brain and secure the game video of KC's victory over GB. Will it help? It sure couldn't hurt. It is no secret to any of us here that the best way to beat this team. All you have to do is go back to Super Bowl XXV where Bill Belichick & Bill Parcells devised the perfect game plan to beat the awesome offense of the Buffalo Bills. We have to keep AR off the field. Can we do it? Well, with our new found running game it is certainly now possible. But still when GB has the ball, how can we still stop that receiving corps? Did anyone else notice how many passes Roddy dropped on Sunday? It was because he was getting hammered by the Giants DB's every time he ran his routes. Developed a case of alligator arms. Just the way Myron Guyton & Greg Jackson used to do it. If we can slow down this offense by our ball control and give them less chances to be on the field, then we have a chance. No turnovers on our end and less penalties then we had against Atlanta and it can be done. This team has enough veterans who were there in '08 and we certainly won't be spooked by the frozen tundra of Lambau Field. Can we do it? Why not?????
If Prince has to play, how worried should we be? And why has he been so disappointing thus far? Even with an injury-caused delay in getting into the action, it seems a supposed "top ten talent" shouldn't be a liability by this point. I'm beginning to worry that he dropped into our lap at 19 for a reason. I dearly hope I'm wrong.
As well as wel played. We're gonna have to go to another gear if we wanna beat the pack. It's true, if our O plays the way it should, we're gonna put up points. The question is, can we avoid a track meet with GB? Our D looked great against Atlanta and they certainly have weapons and a QB who can utilize them. And their OL is better and healthier than the Pack's currently is. However, their coaching staff is nowhere near GB's and Aaron Rodgers is simply on another level. The best thing about the Giants D was and is the ability to get pass rush with the front four alone. However, if you look at our history against mobile QB's who can run outside the pocket and throw strikes, it doesn't look good. This game is going to be all about calculated risk taking on defense. Our four man rush can chase ARodg outside the pocket, but they can't prevent him from making plays. This is why, Fewell really has his work cut out for him. If we don't blitz with faster players like LBers or DB's, it's gonna be hard to sack Rodgers or really disrupt his rhythm. But obviously with all the playmakers they have on offense, we're gonna have to be really careful. I really hope Aaron Ross is healthy. We're gonna need someone in man coverage who can fend off whoever Webster isn't guarding. Amukamura isn't there yet. As optimistic as I am after this great win against ATL, let's face it, if our offense stalls in the first quarter the way we did yesterday, the Packers could run up a huge lead on us. Sure their O-Line is banged up, but the way Rodgers gets outside the pocket and extends plays, it really won't seem like it. The Giants win this game if they make big plays on defense, get sacks and takeaways, and if Eli and the offense can go to work and put big points on the board. Go Giants!
Great writeup and great win. I’d also nominate Manningham for great or at least very good. He had been backsliding but came up big, giving the Giants a legit 3 WR weapon, not too far from Jennings, Driver and Nelson.
You’re right about the penalties but I’d treat them differently. The holding calls were the OL being beaten; later in the game when they got better the holding lightened up. The punt return penalties have to be fixed, along with the rest of the punt return game if possible. Those penalties are just unforced errors.
I loved the mix of Jacobs and Bradshaw. Exactly the way it should work if the OL is clicking.
Atl made me think of the Giants at their most frustrating over the last couple of years. No points from their offense and letting the Giants run and pass through them. Their coaching was awful. I don’t mind them going for the 4th downs, but two QB sneaks, especially the second one after the first one didn’t work? And after they blew the NO game by a 4th down miss? A bad breakdown from a team which should have been desperate to establish some playoff mojo, and a complete waste of a surprisingly effective DL in 1Q. They were missing their best CB but still. If I was an Atl fan I’d want to shoot the whole staff.
GB will be much better coached, mentally tough and to say the least offensively resilient if the Giants have defensive success. As great as Rodgers is, McCarthy and the system is a major factor in GB’s success which is obvious from Flynn’s 500 yds against Det in W17.
Is it possible that after being listless at 7-7 the Giants are now suddenly so good as to dominate good Jets, Cowgirls and Atl teams, or are those three just as mediocre on the field and the sidelines as they looked? Even if the Giants are approaching their potential, how sturdy is it against the best in the conference? I think they will need to continue to elevate and consistently bring their A game to compete. That means a functional short passing game to complement the rest of their offense (as you note, 8 completions to RBs and 3 to TEs was a very good start) And Fewell has to do the things that this blog has been commenting on, as well as maybe replacing Ross. If they can do these things, then the weapons they have and the spirit they’re obviously showing will let them compete with anyone.
First to pat myself on the back a little: I predicted the Giants to score 27 points (24 if Tynes misses an easy FG), and that's exactly what happened. I obviously grossly overestimated the Falcons' points (17 vs 2), but hey. I did correctly posit that Turner wouldn't be a huge factor. Though the blame for that lies at least in part on Atlanta coaching..
I was cursing Gilbride a little in the first quarter, but to his credit he called a good game from that point on for the most part.
The pass rush didn't actually GET to Ryan an overwhelming amount of times, but they certainly did disrupt him early and often (and for the most part without blitzing... that'll be huge next week against GB's banged up line).
The opening line of 9 seems to me to be way too high. I told my dad at the end of the ATL game "it should be 5, but it'll probably be 7"... then was surprised to see it open at 9. Will be interesting to see where that line moves during the week.
GREAT WIN! GO GIANTS! Peaking at the right time!
We have heroes!! We haven't had any since 2007.
Take your pick,Cruz,Nicks,J.P.P,Eli and one for the d-line when Osi plays. Ballard is 4 stars in my opinion as the guy who was an afterthought,the guy who was told he would never see the ball made us forget Boss.
I wrote on N.Y.T. 5th down just to see what happens and for posterity. I wrote as "Chuck" Atlanta which is my nickname and where I live.
One note to make. Atlanta had a 2010 Giants year.They were 10-6 but as ugly as it gets. Gonzalez should opt to retire and the B.C. kid had the "sophomore slump in his third year.
Wait,he had that last year too. Osi,has had a terrific season with at least a sack in every game. He put pressure on the QB and arguably lifted the Giants D. He missed some and I fear he is on his way out.
Thank You Osi!! You have the heart of a Lion and the indomitable desire to play when most would be collecting checks! I for one will miss you and the joy of watching a man who played the game,every game with passion.
Great win, I loved what I saw on defense, loved the Giants football.
Unbelievable that the coordinators had it in them all along !
Let's hope they stick with what works in the future.
@Arthuro Against the Falcons, I saw JPP make a play by pushing the man blocking him into the running back. This was not the action of a player "...sometimes more worried about celebrating than finishing a play." Over-confidence is one thing; JPP's play on the field, play after play, is quite another.
And if only the rules were the same as they were in that classic SB against the Bills - where we hit WR Andre Reed all over the field, especially whenever he dared venture over the middle and a LBer smashed him. THAT was a huge part of that winning game plan.
@I Bleed Blue Yep. But ball control requires good short passing as well as running, so Gilbride better bring his A game. Also, on D I'd dust off the films of SB XLII as well as Buffalo. They beat Brady by hitting him. Maybe this DL can do the same.
@vblasi67 Very worried!!
@vblasi67 He obviously dropped at 19 for a reason.
@vblasi67 I think we should withhold judgement for now. The kid missed most of training camp and a lot of the season. He's a great athlete but his inexperience shows. If he's matched up man to man on the likes of Jordy Nelson... yea, I think he could get burned. Ross is experienced and knows the system well, we should all hope that he's ready to go come sunday. By the way, last year, nobody thought that much of JPP. He was a work in progress. A lot of physical gifts but very rough on the field. Prince is also physically gifted. Going forward, if he stays healthy, I expect him to develop quite nicely.
Not to pick on just you, but there is a lot of sentiment here and elsewhere that the Giants need yet another gear to beat the Packers. Why? The defense largely played like crap in the 38-35 loss and Eli threw a pick 6. We're certainly currently playing better than the level shown in that game.
Sure we want to cut out a few of the penalties, and get off to a bit faster start, but other than that, it's not like they need some kind of huge upswing over the play of the last couple weeks to have a real chance at winning.
If they DO get such an upswing, the Giants could win this going away with the Pack's lousy D and banged up OL...
Minor quibble, I know, but the Pack can be beaten; that's all I'm saying. And it won't necessarily take a magical effort.
@Paddlepedal The thing is that Brady doesn't move around like Rodgers.
@vblasi67 Also, even Ross is a concern because he's not the best cover corner in the world. Against teams like GB and NO, we sure do miss Terrell Thomas.
IMO Giants need to stay at the level of the last three weeks and turn it up a notch too. Aside from playing teams that self destructed, which GB probably won't do, Jints have won the last 3 weeks by improving short passing (esp Atl) and pass defense. We went until W15 without doing these things, so it’s still not clear that the OC and DC have internalized it yet. You don’t just pick up the ability to do these well under pressure in 3 weeks, and our preparedness will be tested. 3d and 5 to keep a drive alive in 4Q you don’t want KG first figuring out how to get Ballard open. Defense is even more of a challenge, the zone was bad but man to man is inherently dangerous against a good passing team. Flashback to J. Finley running away from J. Williams to spark the game-losing drive, or M. Austin running away from Ross late in the first game, almost taking the Giants season with him if Romo is on. And if Ross is injured then PA has to become a good cover CB in six days.
There are two other tickets to win this game without trying to outpass Rodgers. First, if the pass rush can dominate and keep Rodgers in the pocket or make him pay when he leaves. With Osi back this is possible; they’re fast enough to do this but they need to contain better. Second, if the OL can beat the GB DL to dominate with running Giants could win decisively if these happen but my guess is that GB adjusts.
It does feel like four years ago. Jints are playing hard, effective football in late/post season which by itself is cause to celebrate. But that run was accomplished largely by superior coaching, not to mention at least 2 dominant players who aren’t around anymore.
You’re right that GB is beatable. But they’re 15-1, have beaten the Giants twice in the last two years, including once badly in a critical game, are well coached and will be rested, playing at home and confident. They have outstanding playmakers at the central position on both sides of the ball, including the likely MVP. So the likelihood is that even with elevated effort this will be a struggle with Giants needing to play well in all phases to win. Here’s hoping the coaches are continuing to elevate.
@CommanderShepard Let's not forget that the game against GB was a must win for us while it was just another game for them.
@CommanderShepard I mean I agree. It's definitely possible that we could win without a magical performance. And yes, their defense isn't perfect, but I wouldn't call it lousy. Remember they have some of the best defensive players in the league, and what they give up in yards, they often make up for in takeaways and big defensive plays. Look, I do expect us to put up points. All I'm saying is that, as good as our D looked against ATL, I don't expect that kind of result this sunday. And the banged up OL is made up for by Rodgers' legs, ability to throw on the move and his many targets. My main point is that in order to prevent a shootout, which would definitely favor them, we need to be able to make some big plays on defense. Of course another great rushing day could really give us a huge uptick. Nothing stops Rodgers from putting up points like keeping the ball out of his hands. The scary thing is that even if we beat the packers, our toughest opponent would still be ahead of us (if the Saints beat SF). The Giants match up so badly against new orleans. This has been the case throughout the Brees era. I'm definitely gonna be rooting for the Niners to beat the Saints. I think the Giants match up very well against them, and to be honest, we really should have won our regular season matchup against them.
@Arthuro Good point, the guy is a terror. The DEs and the whole line have to be able to contain him. But that will make it harder to rush; against Brady they didn't worry about getting beaten outside. One plus here is that GB doesn't have a strong running game. Maybe play 3 DEs for most of the game.
@CommanderShepard@Paddlepedal The Giants do have a shot. A good one. I wouldn't compare this to Pitt/Denver tho. Despite Denver's inadequacies, Pittsburgh was really vulnerable. An injured QB, missing their starting RB and second RB. Missing key players on defense. Just so many issues. We are playing well at the right time. We have a shot. But we still deserve to be distinct underdogs. I'm not pessimistic. I'm just realistic. This is the NFL. Every round is decided by one game. We face the best team in the league. A team that makes real life look like a video game. A quarterback who is just as good on the run as he is in the pocket. But we are three wins away from silverware and we have what it takes. That being said every game is going to be a battle and sunday is no exception. It's definitely going to be action packed. There are a lot of playmakers on both teams. It's gonna be great football between the NFC's most storied franchises. On the frozen tundra in green bay, two former SB MVP's will face off. It doesn't get any better than this folks. We'll all be cheering Big Blue from kickoff til the final whistle. It's playoff football and the Giants are for real.
Don't get me wrong (directed at everybody), I'm certainly not saying I think the Giants should be favored to win this game. I'm just saying this isn't necessarily the mismatch some will make it out to be. Pittsburgh/Denver; that was supposed to be a mismatch, and the underdog prevailed anyway. How this spread is higher than that spread was is beyond me. I really think our A game (which we did NOT bring last time we played them) is almost a 50/50 shot against their A game considering their porous pass defense and banged up OL.
I've been called overly optimistic on here before (including this past week) as well as been admonished for thinking other posters are too pessimistic. But my track record in such situations actually isn't too bad. We'll see.
@Paddlepedal@Arthuro@CommanderShepard a response which perfectly illustrates the ridiculousness of 'WHAT IFS?" - What if Eli doesn't throw that pick 6? We were winning 10-7 at that point. What if that drive had ended in points for us? - Every play has an infinite number of what ifs. I repeat, logic demands that if you pick out one, or more, YOU MUST CHOOSE ALL. About as fruitful as complaining about the officiating.
@Arthuro@CommanderShepard Honestly Plektor, that's what scares me most. The packers have managed to play with urgency all year despite being the clear class of the NFL, and being almost unbeaten... it's going to be interesting to see what they look like in a must win situation. We haven't seen them in one of those since the playoffs last year.
@Nisinsonian Good points.
@Arthuro I dunno. They have very different styles of play. Atlanta is a stingier defense in terms of yards and points. HOWEVER, I would say that the Packers have more dangerous playmakers on D. The Packers D matches its O. Their entire team philosophy is built around putting up tons of points. Their defense definitely helps them do this. Look for the Pack to go after Eli with everything they've got. They want to force him to make mistakes. Teams have seen this year, when Eli is in rhythm he is as good as anyone. But when he's forcing throws that aren't there, throwing off his back foot or under constant pressure, the bad eli can come out. I'm sure this is their gameplan. They know we're gonna put up points. They have confidence they will put up points. Both teams in this contest will be looking to make big plays on defense and get takeaways to turn the table. Whoever wins the turnover battle, is going to the NFC champ game.
@Nisinsonian We'll need to create turnovers against GB, I agree.
On the other side, their defense is not as good as the Falcons.