Two Parts today. Part 1 has a few more comments on the Giants-Packers. Part 2 has a Preview of the Giants- Niners.
PART ONE: Giants-Packers Review
1) I can't believe I didn't put this one in the recap: the Giants only had three penalties! Great stuff. That stat alone is so big. If you tell us that the Gmen will only have 3 penalties this coming weekend, you'll know this team is in great shape to win it because it means they are all concentrating and focused.
1a) Considering one penalty was a jobber on Snee and another was on Osi's phantom, that really means only ONE penalty all game! Thanks again Bill Leavy, with friends like you, who needs enemies?! (The only legit penalty was an offsides on Bernard in Q1.)
2) As PaddlePedal noted, the Giants used JPP to slow down the receiving TE (Finley). The Giants would be wise to change the timing SOME of the time by using this scheme a little bit to confuse Smith even more. Of course, rest assured that the well-coached Niners will dissect that tape and bring it to Davis's and Smith's attention.
3) Given how the Packers had such trouble with timing and dropped balls, do ANY of you think if we had to play them again this Sunday that we'd win? After rewatching some of the game and all the misses, I'd say no. But you only get 1 chance to win, TFB.
4) This is a link which traces the first elements of the defensive turnaround in the Giants' season. Fits fine with the concrete evidence of much more use of man coverage.
5) The Giants increased their use of press coverage to 28% of the time versus the Packers. In previous games it looked pretty low. It was not tracked after Manningham scored (30-13), because at that point the Giants went to a softer coverage.
PART TWO: Giants-Niners Preview
I went back and rewatched the first game these teams played at Week 10.
1) First off, Bradshaw was out of the game. Second, Boley and Ross both had to leave with injuries.
2) Braylon Edwards is no longer on the SF 49ers. This is big imo because he was able to create problems for Aaron Ross. (Webster drew Crabtree most of the time.)
3) The defense gave up the typical big 21 yarder to Crabtree in zone. And Vernon Davis rumbled for a big TD on a blown coverage. I'd like to think these things are going to happen with less frequency, and the Giants defense is playing with far more certainty and confidence now.
4) 75% of the time Alex Smith went to his first read. He telegraphs. He went off his second read the other 25%, when he had time and not because he was looking off a safety. Smith used his checkdowns when he ran out of time. How many times did Smith go to his 3rd read? NONE. Zero.
5) I noticed something on the tape and Wonder said the same thing- Gore is not 100%, so believe it or not, Hunter is more of a threat.
6) Wonder: "Ball security and non-stupidity take the place of last week's agression. If the Giants do that, I think they'll win."
7) The 49ers pulled a successful on-sides kick in Q2. The Giants were ready for it vs GB. I would highly doubt that Harbaugh would call one this game.
8) Between a Cruz drop and an uncharacteristic miss by Manning on an open Nicks, the Giants will have their opportunities.
9) PLAY SF WITH A LEAD. Make them uncomfortable, take them out of their rhythm and comfort zone. And don't be a putz Gilbride, attack them and respect Smith (and the SF ability to score) just as much as Rodgers.
10) I know we need to respect the Niners, because they won 13 games and got their business done this season. But when I look at this schedule they played against, I am honestly underwhelmed.
11) The Giants were 1 for 4 in the red zone. Yes, this Niner defense is stingy in the red zone. The lone TD in the red zone was a perfect pass and catch by MM in the back of the end zone. You cannot waste plays down there, Gilbride. When you have second and 6, you can't lollygag around, hand off the ball for no gain and think that's ok. At the 50 yard line that is football. In the red zone, it is near certain death. If Ballard (hobbled) is ineffective and unable to get any separation, use Pascoe and/or Beckum down there. Don't think I am kidding- line up Jacobs in the slot as a TE and use that 6'4" beast to help you. 1 for 4 will not cut it.
12) Give Smith different looks at the line of scrimmage. Smith has improved, but he's still no Tom Brady. Remember the NE game? The Giants showed Brady blitz. Sometimes they blitzed and sometimes they backed away. Even Brady had some difficulty with that. Smith will too.
13) Eli threw 2 picks. There were three games this season where Eli threw more than 1 INT, and the Giants lost all three games. SF, SEA, and WAS. Get the picture?! Eli is playing at a very high level and I am expecting the exact opposite- his poise, focus and confidence will elevate the team.