NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
WILD CARD WEEKEND
NEW YORK GIANTS
NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: For the Giants' Defense, Timing Will be Everything. In Order to Search and Destroy Matt Ryan, the Giants Still Must Keep Down Field Safe and Secure.
POST: N.Y. Giants; G-Men and the Department of Defense
The Giants are 2-2 against Birds this season; (Philadelphia 2x; Arizona; Seattle). If you include the Jets game, the Giants are 3-2 against things that fly. So naturally, the question begs to be asked - how do the Giants ground the Falcons? Very simply, the answer is with Synchronization.
Here's the difference between the Green Bay and New Orleans games per say versus Giant wins against the Jets and Cowboys. Drew Brees and Aaron Rogers managed to stay just a finger tip away from the rush. But they faced a depleted rush, as there was no Tuck and no Osi, in addition to no Michael Boley. The point is, at least against Green Bay, the coverage for the most part was there (and no, I'm not talking about the utterly confusing aspects of the Secondary's failures in zone coverage -not right now). OK, they've sucked all season. But coverage only lasts so long before a dipping and dodging QB dances long enough until a down field break down occurs. That's exactly what happened against Aaron Rogers. What happened against Drew Brees was just mass confusion and something else all together. So let's grade on a curve here. The Giants still came frustratingly close to Brees; quite literally within hands reach. But he just skipped away and killed us. There were many things wrong with the Giants Defense that night. Among other things, we were ill prepared for the task personnel wise.
I still don't have an answer for the Redskins game. But these last two weeks, a fully loaded pass rush got their hands on the QB as they were still going through check-downs. At first glance Marc Sanchez' and Tony Romo's first and second options were covered. However this time, the pass rush got their man. In these last two weeks Coach Fewell largely ditched his confusing zone as well. The horrific gaffes that occurred against the Packers and Saints that left receivers all alone have not happened since then.
I leave the Giants win over the Patriots out of this because Tom Brady is a freakin statue. He leads the NFL in completed passes with pigeons on him. He's as fleet of foot as a table. That's why we continue to play New England well. But I digress. Matt Ryan isn't exactly a mad-scrambler either. He CAN be found in the pocket. The only question is how quickly can the Rush get to him, and how long will the Secondary afford them. If Justin Tuck; Osi; Jason Pierre Paul; Chris Canty; and Dave Tollefson are all in the rotation Sunday, the Giants may have something. But Justin Tuck had a week of limited practice and Osi admitted he's sore as hell. Then, if Ross; Webster; Grant; Rolle; Phillips; and Prince, can manage coverage long enough in order for the rush to get at Matt Ryan, the Giants may have something going for them again. And in that case, mission accomplished. But it's going to take synchronization on the part of the Secondary and the Pass Rush to make good things happen on defense.
Now should the Falcons decide they want to establish the run against us with Michael Turner, I'd welcome that. The Giants are not the same team they were against the run through the first half of the season when they were at their worst. The Problem lied quite obviously with our Linebackers or lack there of. Heading into Sunday, Michael Boley appears to be operating at full capacity again. While Jacquian Williams is a vastly improved player since week one till now. And of course, the hybrid- Mathias Kiwanuka always poses a problem for offenses. Over all, the stats say the Giants are the worst team in the NFL against the run. But not lately. They've defended the run below their season average and are allowing 86+/- yards over their last four/five games. Additionally and not so quietly anymore, Chris Canty is doing an increasingly good job plugging up the middle. And Jason Pierre Paul is exhibiting discipline against the run as well.
If the Giants appoint Michael Boley or Jacquian Williams to Tight-End Tony Gonzalez like we did against Jason Witten of the Cowboys, Big Blue should get the same result. The Giants neutralized Jason Witten very well last week. I have no reason to think they can't repeat the effort again.
These teams are pretty evenly matched. So what's not to like about our chances? As fans, the most frustrating part of this season was knowing we should have done better. We know the Giants have enough personnel to accomplish great things. That's what makes the let-downs so heavy.
This game against the Falcons is pretty well set up for the Giants. This will be our first home playoff game since the 2000 NFC Championship and the first playoff game in the new Giants Stadium. And for everything I detailed in my last posting; G-Men and the Dept. Of Defense; health, experience, and cohesion finally seem to be on Perry Fewell's side. This posting basically puts a bow on what I started then.
Next up - The Offensive Plan
Let's Go Giants!