Blog Entry

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

Posted on: January 29, 2012 12:23 am
Edited on: January 30, 2012 9:13 am
The G-Men's offensive attack is even more dangerous this time. (Getty Images)
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

The Giants offense and Patriots defense have both elevated their play this postseason. But that doesn’t mean this matchup isn’t glaringly lopsided. Here’s the breakdown.

1. Relevance of rematch factor
The Super Bowl XLII film is worthless for analyzing Super Bowl XLVI. Vince Wilfork is the only Patriots defensive player left from the ’07 roster, while the ’07 Giants offense featured possession targets Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer at wide receiver and was built entirely around the run. What’s more, Eli Manning at the time was a 27-year-old glorified game-manager, not a 31-year-old superstar.

This year’s Week 9 matchup is almost equally irrelevant, for the simple reason that the Giants were without wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, running back Ahmad Bradshaw, fullback Henry Hynoski and center David Baas. Will Beatty was still at left tackle and David Diehl was still at left guard.

The Patriots were still using safety Devin McCourty at cornerback, Josh Barrett was playing safety, current Seahawk Phillip Adams was the nickelback and defensive end Andre Carter had not yet injured his quad.

The Giants are not the same offense without Nicks. Even so, the Patriots that day had trouble stopping the pass. With Nicks back, things might get real ugly for them.

2. The mismatch: Giants receivers vs. Patriots secondary
This matchup is what makes it hard to pick the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

Simply put, they don’t have one cornerback who can defend Nicks, Victor Cruz or even Mario Manningham. Starting corner Kyle Arrington matched up on Cruz with plenty of safety help last game and got torched. With Nicks healthy, Cruz slides back to the slot, where he could face Julian Edelman. That a wide receiver plays in the nickel package tells you everything about what Bill Belichick and his staff think of backup corners Nate Jones and Antwaun Molden.

On the other side, Sterling Moore will see plenty of Nicks. Moore has made great strides down the stretch, but we’re still talking about an undrafted rookie safety playing corner against an elite playmaking wideout.

Even if the Patriots commit fully to coverage and play two-man (which is man-to-man with two safeties helping over the top), they’re still vulnerable. None of their corners are great in man and none of their safeties, aside from Patrick Chung (who’s a better hitter than ball hawk) have proven themselves. True, those safeties have flourished this postseason, but that was against Denver and Baltimore, two of the worst man-beating offenses in football.

The Patriots don’t have a good enough pass-rush for their secondary to sustain man coverage anyway. Thus, expect Bill Belichick to do what he’s done most of this season: put his men in bend-but-don’t-break schemes and hope to compensate with red zone stops and turnovers.

The Giants will gladly go to work against cautious zone coverages. They’re a big-play offense – not with home runs so much as doubles and triples. Thanks to a solid pass-blocking O-line and coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s shrewd route combination designs, the Giants thrive on 15-25-yard completions, both strictly through the air or via the catch-and-run. This multidimensional potency stems from the brilliance of the quarterback.

3. Eli
We’ve trumpeted the younger Manning in virtually every Film Room post for the past two months, so admittedly, what you’re about to read is somewhat redundant. But with this being the Super Bowl, and in Peyton’s house, and amidst so much talk about both Mannings’ legacy, it’s appropriate to hammer home the point: Eli Manning is as good as any quarterback in the world right now.

His arm strength and accuracy are as good as any passer’s, which is why the Giants have so much success with the deep-outs:

New York’s money play is the deep-out. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham run this route (known on the route tree as the seven route) as effectively as any trio in the game. All have great footwork and are hands-catchers – two important elements near the sideline. A lot of teams don’t consistently run this pattern because it requires a quarterback with incredible arm strength and timing.

His presnap and postsnap decision-making are as sharp as any player’s, his pocket mobility and improvisational abilities are as impressive as any quarterback’s and his moxie and leadership and all those other vague Tebow-like attributes are phenomenal.

This is another reason the Patriots will likely assume a conservative – if not passive – defensive approach. By being complex and aggressive, they make it about whether Manning can out-execute them. By being basic, they make it about Manning AND everyone else out-executing them. When you figure Manning is going to out-execute them anyway, it’s sensible that the Patriots would want to put the game in other skill players’ hands.

4. New York’s run game
Given what’s been written in this post thus far, it might seem the Giants would be doing the Patriots a favor by running the ball. Perhaps they would. But take a step back and understand that, all in all, the Giants offense is still built around balance. It has been ever since Tom Coughlin arrived.

Despite still having Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, the Giants run game is nowhere near what it was last time these teams met on a Super Bowl stage. It had a late-season surge, but at Green Bay and San Francisco, it looked a lot like the 32nd ranked rushing attack it was all year.

That said this rushing attack was actually able to pound the rock inside with Jacobs in Week 9. And the Patriots have yet to see Bradshaw. Having Brandon Spikes once again healthy has done wonders for New England’s front seven; he and Jerod Mayo are both excellent downhill thumpers. But given New York’s aerial acumen, it’s doubtful the Patriots will bring run-defending safeties Patrick Chung or James Ihedigbo into the box much this game. It will be on the defensive line to continue to be stout against the run.

5. New England’s saving grace…?
There is one area where the Patriots D has a clear advantage: up front inside. Nose tackle Vince Wilfork is a behemoth top-tier star coming off an otherworldly AFC Championship performance. On Sunday he’ll have the luxury of facing banged-up and highly-disappointing center David Baas.

The Patriots played a lot of 4-3 fronts in Week 9; it might be prudent to go more 3-4 this time just to ensure that Wilfork can line up directly over Baas. Wilfork is certainly capable of beating guards Kevin Boothe or Chris Snee, and on most plays he’s going to eventually draw a double-team no matter where he aligns.

But the Patriots have next to no chance at stopping this offense if they don’t get at least a few dominant penetrations from their best player. Putting him over Baas gives him the best chance for that.

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Since: May 8, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2012 2:30 pm

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

Go Giants!!!

Giant fans are the shit. I love how passionate and how much we know about the game. Everyone is talking about a rematch blah blah in the media and I hate that. Both of these teams are completely two different teams. The tides are turned completely before it was david versus Galitah (spelt that wrong dont judge). Now these teams are slightly even with the edge going to the Giants. With Gronk having the injurier plays a key part. Yes he will play but dont you think that the Giants are going to go after that ankle every chance they get the same way they went after Kyle Williams head. Key to watch for when Gronk is blocking are linebackers and D ends are going to push him right back into running backs and O lineman to aggrivate that ankle is all about preperation and playing to our advantages and that is one definitely. The other is getting to brady and also expolding with the pass game the same way we did against SF awesome run stop defense. Its going to be a great game.

Giants 27 Pats 20

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2012 11:58 am

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

fans don't play the game... the players do. I would assume the giants are bringing more then their mouths and fans. you don't get to the super bowl on talk... you get there thorough proper execution and not making stupid mistakes... all things the giants have done for the past 5 weeks.

having said that, as a Giant's fan, I'm more then excited... but, realistic. Either team can win this. turnovers (as usual) will be key. If the mad scientist comes up w/a scheme that throws people off (eli, etc....) it could even be lopsided win for New England. If the mad scientist lays a dud on a scheme to stop the giants offense, it'll be a shootout and if it comes to that, I think the giants have an edge.

Lastly... if I was NE, i'd run no huddle all game. giants have proven to struggle with it... especially vs a QB who won't make a mistake during it. Crappy QB play with no huddle isn't successful. I would imagine the giants have gameplanned for the no huddle a bit more then usual (got their sub packages and calls all straightened out so they can execute more quickly).

Good luck to both... may the best team win.

Go Giants!!!

Since: Jan 13, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2012 1:41 pm

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

The game itself should and has been fun to watch as I have watched every SB,I took my family dowtown Indy yesterday,while it maybe family oriented it is  only for a family with a large bill fold.Eveyrthing is way over priced,The NFL experence is $25.00 a head and was so over crowded you couldn't do anything without waiting at least twenty minutes in line.A hoodie $85.00,coffee mug(small one)$15.00,womens tee shirt $$37.00(cheapest one) just to name a few prices on items.Food and beverage overpriced also,We had a good time even in the cold and Indy seems to do a great job as hosts but this event is not intended for working class families....Frown

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:19 pm

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

It's well known the Giants have the mental edge. They'e more hungray and they've owned the PAts for many years.  Early game hitters may cost the pats 2 touchdowns in the 1st.  I really don't see this game close.  Giants 30+  Pats 17

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2012 8:42 am

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

With the exception of one guy for trhe Pats, mostly I see Giants fans here, and essentially all over the boards.  I'm a Pats fan but I am willing to agree that most pundits favor the Giants in spite of the Vegas odds.  As for me, I'm waiting for the game. I remember the "old days" when no one believed the Pats had a chance and they won two SBs.  So, I'm  just telling the Giants they'd better bring more than their mouths and their fans, because the Pats are being very quiet and going about their business.
PS: Is Eli so sure of his game he can afford to spend the weekend at the Pro Bowl?

Since: Dec 12, 2010
Posted on: January 30, 2012 7:42 am

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

GO GIANTS!!! This will be the last hurrah for brady as the giants will get to him and most likely put him out of the game!!! end of story.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2012 10:42 pm

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

PatsandGiants17, even with Chung back, the Pats defense is average at best.  Their defense is not the reason they are in the Super Bowl.  I agree that the Giants offensive line is average, but when it has been healthy, it has looked pretty good.  Eli was pressured all day by that SF defensive line, but the NE d-line is not nearly as dangerous as the Niners defensive line or secondary.  The Niners had a top-5 defense and the Pats had the 31st ranked unit.  Also, Nicks and Bradshaw did not play in the last meeting and they still beat the Pats.  I think Gronkowski will be key, but Pouncey had the same high ankle sprain last year for the Steelers and he ended up missing the game.  He will be limited either way.  Even with him most of the AFC champ. game, Baltimore still nearly won.  Not being biased as a fan, but I think Eli will have a good game against this defense.  He is by far the best QB this defense has seen in the playoffs.  He is in a different league than Skip Bayless' love aka Tebow and Flacco.  Eli has won an SB (against them) and has beaten them in NE.  The Pats offensive line has been good in the playoffs, but they have not faced the pass rush of the Giants.  They have several guys who can come after the QB and Brady does not move all that well.  If they keep the pressure and rush him, Brady is going to have a tough time.  I think it will be a good game though but I hope my team, the GMEN come away with another ring.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2012 9:29 pm

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

The ONLY QBs in the league better than Eli Manning this year, were Rodgers, Brees, and Brady... NOONE ELSE. Not Romo, not Rothlisberger, not Stafford, not anyone else. "Very Good" "Best of the rest" .. what backhanded BS

Since: Dec 3, 2011
Posted on: January 29, 2012 9:01 pm

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

Since: Nov 1, 2006
Posted on: January 29, 2012 7:59 pm

Super Bowl XLVI Preview: Giants O vs. Patriots D

 Pat&Giants 17...  Are you crazy lol.  The pats O line is old...  Brady may just take a beating worse than the last super bowl.  I will agree the Giants O line is average but again the Pats just have average players on D.  The only advantage I see for the Pats on either side of the ball is at TE.  They will be tough to cover. 

Also, let's not talk about the "should of been INT's"...  It was Brady that threw two on an older Baltimore D.  If the Pats cannot block the Giants front four (which they won't be able to).  It'll be a long day for the Pats and this game could actually get out of hand.  

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