Re: Two Interesting Pieces of Data
posted at 1/26/2012 7:12 AM EST
As they say in investment solicitations: "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."
That's why they play the games!
I think the Giants present a formidable opponent because of their strong pass rush and increasingly good passing game. I think it's pretty much a given that our defense will give up yards to Manning and his receiving corp. The key will be either getting turnovers or forcing field goals instead of giving up touchdowns and also making just enough stops to keep the Giants from scoring on too high a percentage of their drives. If we can hold the Giants to 20 or 24 points that will be a good showing given our defense's limitations in pass coverage.
On the other side of the ball, our offense must score to win. Running the ball is fine if we are moving it well, getting first downs, and not eating up too much time. Regardless of what some think, however, slow, clock-eating offensive drives won't help us unless our defense is preventing scores and limiting the time the Giants' offense is on the field. If our defense is giving up time and points to the opposing offense, we need to keep our own offensive drives relatively quick so we increase the total number of drives available to us and thereby maximize our scoring opportunities. Because of this, I think we will go hurry-up as we have done much of the season with lots of quick passes to Gronk, Hernandez, Welker, and Branch, with occasional runs mixed in to keep the Giants' defenders off balance. The O line needs to play very well against this team, given their good pass rush. Some plays to counter an aggressive defense--draws and screens--would be nice. Our execution with running back screens has not been good, however, so maybe we try to do more screens with Hernandez and Gronk. They have good hands, run well (Hernandez in particular), and are lining up in the backfield often now, so the possibility is there. I also think Branch may play a big role as a receiver who can be a good outlet for Brady on blitzes, especially if the Giants are keying on Welker, Gronk, and Hernandez. People may have heart attacks, but bringing in Slater or Ocho to test the deep part of the field once in a while may not be a bad idea for a play or two. Getting burned deep on a blitz makes defenses think twice and it would be a nice option if we can execute it. I worry, though, this is not a play we can run effectively without too great a risk of turnovers. Our receivers aren't that good deep--and Brady hasn't looked so sharp on his deep throws.
For all those who are clamouring for more running . . . I'm all for it if our D is complementary. But if our D is not stopping the Giants more consistently than they have other teams this season, I'm afraid we have to live and die with our passing game as usual.