How do we top Championship Game Sunday in the NFL?
Was that great theater or what?
I can hardly wait for the Super Bowl. We had two dramatic title games come down to the final seconds, one in overtime.
In the end, the New York Giants beat the 49ers 20-17 in overtime to advance to Super Bowl XLVI, while the New England Patriots beat the Ravens 23-20 to get there.
This will be a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, which the Giants won in dramatic fashion. That day, the Giants were big underdogs against the undefeated Patriots. This time, they're four-point dogs, even though they already beat the Patriots this season.
It will be tough to top what we had Sunday, but I bet it comes close.
Here's a look at the two teams from a grading standpoint to get ready for the two-week buildup.
|New England Patriots|
Running game: The Patriots finished ranked 20th in rushing yards. But that's not what they do so, the numbers aren't good. But they have the ability to run it when they do get a lead. Grade: C-
Run defense: They had trouble stopping the run all season, ranking 17th in the league in rushing yards and 24th in yards-per-rush. This is a big concern. Grade: D
Pass defense: The Patriots couldn't stop anybody against the pass all season, ranking 31st. The lack of a pass rush outside hurt and so did poor secondary play. They all had the lead a lot, which skews the numbers. Grade: F
Coaching: It's hard to argue with the success of Bill Belichick, but the lack of a good defense has to fall on his head. Even so, is there anybody better? Didn't think so. Grade: A
|New York Giants|
Running game: The Giants were 31st in rushing this season. For a team that is supposed to be so physical, they haven't run it that well. Grade: F
Run defense: The Giants were 23rd in yards-per-attempt on the ground. That was a problem area, though injuries at linebacker contributed to that. They've been better in the playoffs. Grade: C-
Pass defense: It all starts with the pass rush for the Giants. Their defense is keyed by the front four. They get after it. That helps compensate for other deficiencies, but for much of the season even that wasn't good enough. Teams threw on the Giants. They haven't done so in the playoffs. When you can knock down the other quarterback, it really gives the defense an edge. Grade:: C
Coaching: It's tough to knock Tom Coughlin now. He is proving to be one of the league's best coaches. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is underrated and Perry Fewell has turned the defense into a fierce unit again. Grade: A