NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:
PACK 'Em Up, or PACK It In.
Last Post; Defense - Life After the Monday Night Fiasco
Last Post; Defense - Life After the Monday Night Fiasco
Was last week's debacle against the Saints a Giant aberration? No! They deserved that shellacking. They've been steadily leading up to that game and received their due consequence. But can they clamp down and play with, and even beat the Packers? Sure. For just as they deserved to lose Monday night, they can, and have, changed things up and rebounded to play very formidable games before. There is still enough talent on the field despite a slate of ruinous injuries. But logistically, things have gone awry.
Losing to the Packers is still not the end of the world for Big Blue. It just means they're playing themselves into a situation where all they'll have left is hope to make the Wild Card. So in essence, they can either PACK-up Green Bay and remain a strong viable division contender and make those two upcoming games against the Dallas Cowboys matter, or they can PACK it in, and start letting other teams dictate Big Blue's future. Yes, a Giant task lays ahead of them Sunday afternoon. But hey; that's football. If you want to be the man, you have to beat the man.
So what's there to say? What applied last week still applies this week. And if anything, the undefeated Green Bay Packers have scored more, and have given up fewer points that the Saints. Maybe a little bit of pride after two blows to their egos and playing on their home field can help spur the Giants Sunday afternoon to victory. Maybe. But you know you're in trouble when you need to delve into the abstract with things like hope and pride because the tangible results on the field haven't been cutting it.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but we need another solid game from Steve Weatherford punting the football. We aren't going to march up and down the field on Green Bay, so the battle for field position is Key One.
Then we need to make third down stops on Defense and limit Green Bay's yards after catch. That's Key Two. What happened defensively against the Saints last week can not be repeated; Period. There is no tip-toeing around the issue. Without key two, the rest is pointless. I dealt with some our defensive issues in my last posting. Additionally, if Perry Fewell hasn't come up with a solution to the hurry-up offense increasingly being used against us, then he'll have a major grilling coming his way by the end of the night. But the Defense indeed needs to perform considerably better than they have over the last two weeks and get drastically better than they were Monday.
Key Three obviously is the running game. Ahmad Bradshaw will be suiting up but is he ready to play? I don't know. How do you recover from broken feet and rush the football after a month? I'll say this much though; Ahmad Bradshaw is tough and has done it before. But in truth, all we need is one big rush early in the game to give the Packers something to think about. Then an occasional outburst from either Bradshaw and/or Jacobs along the way will keep Green Bay honest. Obviously, the ground game needs to open up the play-action for Eli. But it's critical all the same, that we get some first downs on the ground as well. Because Key Four of this game, is doing just enough on offense to keep Aaron Rogers off the field. If we minimize the times he has a ball in his hands, Eli just might get enough of an opportunity to get into shoot-out with Rogers, and actually come out on top.
It's plain and simple; the Giants are where they are because of Eli. But in order to move forward, they need the rest of the team to catch up to his level of play. Because even in their victories, the Offensive Line; the Running Game; Linebacking; and the Secondary; have all consistently under-performed this season. Because of, or in spite of those factors, the Giants have struggled to win.
The Packers are giving up 21 points on average. The Giants are scoring 24 points per game on average and sadly, have given up more points than they've scored this season as a result of Monday night's loss. Otherwise, they were pretty much at par which isn't great either. So you do the math. Eli and the Offense will have to be a little better that their average Sunday. Maybe Ahmad Bradshaw can help that along.
I said it before, and here I go again because this bares repeating; Gilbride must get the ball into the hands of Jacobs' and Bradshaw's more than by just rushing the ball. They need to catch passes off screens and swings. And if we are to sustain time consuming drives, it's crucial they create positive yardage if Eli's check-downs make it their way. If the Offensive Line isn't surging forward or creating the holes to run through, then it's incumbent upon Coach Gilbride to figure out the next best way to get the desired production out of the backfield.
I can't help but remember Brandon Jacobs chipping the paint off a would-be Green Bay tackler's helmet when they met in a head-on collision during the frozen 2007 NFC Championship Game. Those were the days when the O-Line were still surging forward and Jacobs rushed at linebackers and safeties with shoulder pads down and power in his thighs. Maybe there's something similar to that left in the ol' guy before A) - this season is over, and B) - he and the organization part ways.
When you can run with power, you don't have to sweat all the other stuff as much. - *sigh*
The bottom line here is the Giants must have more than just Eli dropping back and looking for Cruz and Nicks. Jake Ballard must also rejoin the productive zone and figure heavily in this game. And he needs to hold on to the ball this time; as do several other receivers. With a few more catches and surer hands, the last two weeks could have been thought about a little differently than we view them today.
A win today would change a lot more than that.
Let's Go Giants!