Blog Entry

NY Giants "Things To Do" list for Sunday Nov 23rd

Posted on: November 21, 2008 1:24 am
Edited on: November 21, 2008 1:36 am

Warner and Boldin and Fitzgerald - Oh, My!


Arizona passing game may be Giants biggest challenge yet

It's been mentioned in more than a few articles that Kurt Warner will want to make a statement against his former team. Let's get something straight; The Giants are Warner's "former team" in the same sense that Jason Alexander is Britney Spears "former" husband. Before hooking up with K-Fed, Britney spent a weekend in vegas getting inehbriated and marrying a slightly more attractive guy than the 'Jason Alexander' you're probably thinking of. The marriage lasted a whopping 55 hours. It's nothing that sticks in the forefront of pop culture; it's something that happened a while back, and once in a blue moon you may remember it - like "Oh yeah, that's right - I remember now...". Something so meaningless to the current landscape that it's been pushed aside. A footnote - forgotten. 

Well that's sort of similar to the feeling Giants fans have about Kurt Warner. It may as well have been Kurt Russell under center for the first nine games of that season. Even after winning five of his first seven games, Eli Manning was given the starting job after some poor performances by Warner . Tom Coughlin after the season went just short of questioning the signing of Warner two months after trading for Eli on the day of the draft. No one in the Giants community felt it was anything more than a bridge to Eli's readiness, and many of us felt it was a questionable decision at best. Coughlin did admit  that starting the season with Warner was probably a mistake. Coughlin said he should have played Manning in week 1 so he could gain confidence and experience right out of the gate. In 2005, Warner signed with Arizona, and with 3rd year wideout Anquan Boldin on one side, and the previous year's 3rd overall pick Larry Fitzgerald on the other side - Warner revitalized his career. 

As it all turned out, Benching Warner for Manning in week 10 of the 2004 season was the best thing for both quarterbacks.

Even now when I think back on the beating Warner took in that last season with the Rams... as Mike Martz watched from the sidelines, waiting for the right moment to name Bulger the starter as he'd planned to all along just for the sake of public relations - still infuriates me. I'm inclined to think that one of the furthest things form Warner's mind right now is "proving" anything to the Giants. He wasn't mistreated in New York like he was in St. Louis - he new the deal going in. The only thing on Kurt's mind right now is 8-3. He wasnt the division title and wants the playoffs. I'm happy for Kurt Warner. Kurt's always struck me a stand-up guy and a true professional, and I hope he has continued success with Arizona. Just not this week.

Arizona can clinch the NFC West with a victory on Sunday, and the Giants just happen to be the the team standing  in his way. If the Giants' gameplan week by week has been to take away the oppositions' key player (Frank Gore, Brian Westbrook, Ben Roethlisberger), then they'll be tripling their efforts this week. It will have to start with Warner at it's core, but Boldin and Fitzgerald can inflict a lot of damage with even a few complete passes.

THINGS TO DO on Sunday, November 23rd: 

1. Rattle Kurt's Cage: Ok, so Arizona is a passing team and not a running team. We know that. Whatever their philosophy is, the Cardinals are averaging 86 yards a game on the ground, and are dead last in the NFL with 3.4 yards per carry.  Any way you slice it, those numbers indicate that the Cards have a subpar offensive line, and the running game (while not being completely ignored) will not be the Giants main area of concern. The Cardinals pass protection has been pretty good of late, with the bulk of the 18 sacks they've allowed coming at the beginning of the year. Steve Spagnuolo will need to find creative ways to get to Warner without using his secondary. Arizona will score points, and they may score many of them in the early going. Spagnuolo will have to be diligent and keep after Warner, because the first part of the battle will be wearing down the o-line, the second half of the battle will be blasting through the o-line and pounding Warner.  Kurt can't be dropped just a few times; he'll need to be under constant pressue and picking a lot of grass out of his facemask for it to have an affect on him.

2. Get physical with #11 and #81: Boldin and Fitzgerald will be without question the toughest, most talented and best prepared pair of wide receivers the Giants secondary will face this year. And it won't be the likes of Brad Johnson, Donovan McNabb or Joe Flacco throwing to them - it'll be a seasoned veteran they've built major report with. As the saying goes, they won't be able to stop them - they can only hope to contain them (which in and of itself will be a feat). The more physical Aaron Ross and Corey Webster can get at the line the better off they'll be. Providing a cushion to those guys is only delaying the inevitable, so getting in their faces and disrupting some of their timing while the line attempts to pressure Warner is really the only hope they'll have in keeping the scoring down. Safeties Kenny Phillips and Michael Johnson will be backing them up, and have to attack at the point of release. It's a risky proposition, but they cannot allow the underneath completions they did last week with Flacco, or the week prior with McNabb. Boldin and Fitzgerald will be a blur to them once they have the ball tucked in their guts.  

3. Prepare for a shootout: More than likely, simply having the ball longer than the Cardinals won't work. In fact, in all but two games so far Arizona has dominated time of possession. The only two games they lost that battle were against (oddly enough) the Cowboys and Redskins - two NFC East teams. The Giants will undoubtedly look to continue that trend, but since the Cardinals can put 7 on the scoreboard faster than anyone,  Eli Manning will have to be able to strike back with downfield passes - and that's something he hasn't had to do a whole lot of this season (he hasn't thrown for over 200 yards since week 4). The Giants are certainly capable of putting points on the board, and the running game with or without Brandon Jacobs will play a big part in that as always. But this matchup screams of an air show. Manning won't be under pressure to outgun Warner, but I will predict that if he's to hit the 300-yard plateau at any time this season, this will be the time. He just might need to for the Giants to win this one.




Since: Oct 12, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2008 12:57 am

NY Giants "Things To Do" list for Sunday Nov 23rd

That should have said, "Kiwanuka had four tackles and a sack last week against the Ravens."

Since: Oct 12, 2007
Posted on: November 23, 2008 12:54 am

NY Giants "Things To Do" list for Sunday Nov 23rd

Nice set-up, BigBlu. The pics are great, too!

I think you pegged the key again. With a comparatively weak Cardinals running game, the Giants can expect to be able to focus more on Warner, Boldin, Fitzgerald and the passing game. Hopefully, the defensive line will be able to bring the necessary pressure to slow Warner down enough to allow the secondary to do their jobs. Again this week I see Kiwanuka playing a big part in helping to bring that pressure. Kiwanuka had four tackles a sack last week against the Ravens. Hopefully, he'll have a similar game tomorrow.

Since: Aug 11, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2008 2:21 pm

NY Giants "Things To Do" list for Sunday Nov 23rd

BBM - well done as always. Love the Jay alexander comparison spot on with that not sure how you pulled that one off. I agree with the analysis that the G-men will have to put pressure on Warner. However, I believe you'll see it with a blitz package more early then you will often. I suspect that Spags will give him the thoughts early that he needs to get rid of the ball quick probably the first quarter or 2. After he has Warner guessing I think you'll see less blitzing and more drop back covergae allowing for better pass defense and just the sight of Giant pressure making Warner get rid of the ball. Even if the Giants don't get to him as much in the second half if they can make Warner jumppy early just shear pressence of the D ends getting close should make him make mistakes.

On the offensive side of the ball I would be surpriesed if Eli attempts more than 25-30 passes. I think they will try and take the air out of the ball and just run it down the Cards thought keeping their Offense off the field. Even if they get up early the Giants run game is good enough to get you back into the game without having to abandon it. It should be a good game and I'm excited to see it thats for sure.

Really enjoyed the post keep them coming.

Since: Aug 25, 2007
Posted on: November 21, 2008 11:54 am

NY Giants "Things To Do" list for Sunday Nov 23rd

You realy have to pick your poison against the Cardinals.  If they are able to hold down Boldin and Fitzgerald then you have to look out for Breaston.  He could have a huge day if he is matched up on linebackers in the middle of the field.  I still think the Giants take a high scoring affair.  Like 42-35 ish

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2008 10:00 am

NY Giants "Things To Do" list for Sunday Nov 23rd

Terrific analysis...

The Giants getting pressure on Kurt Warner will go a long way in deciding who wins this game. I was very impressed by the Cardinal aerial assualt last weekend. They are a good team but are they good enough to beat the Giants? Not sure but I can hardly wait until Sunday to find out.

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: November 21, 2008 5:34 am

NY Giants "Things To Do" list for Sunday Nov 23rd

Warner probably would have done okay in NY had the Giants had an oline that could protect him, after they benched Warner, Eli had issues that year too, but you're correct, the situation turned out well for both quarterbacks. 

Although the numbers don't show it, Cardinals have a pretty good running back tandem with Arrington and Hightower, Still I think the biggest factor is going to be how often Justin Tuck gets to Warner.  It's no secret that if you collapse the Cardinals oline, Warner is more likely not play as well as he has been doing, and the Giants have the defense to do exactly that. 

I have the Giants to win this game....don't let me be 

Nice analysis as always Blu.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or