– Offensive line must give Tom Brady time in the pocket; containing Tuck, Umenyiora, and Pierre-Paul
– With constant pressure, Brady needs to check down and take his shots downfield accordingly
– Need to run the ball to alleviate NY’s pass rush; even throw some screens
– Wes Welker will be productive and Rob Gronkowski will be serviceable, but Aaron Hernandez needs to have a big day
– Wilfork will face a lot of double-teams, the linebackers have to take advantage and contain the run
– Double-team Victor Cruz on 3rd down, he keeps the chains moving
– Take away the tight end at the goal line (Ballard, Beckham, Pascoe)
– Eli Manning has been money on 3rd down, that needs to continue
– Get Bradshaw and Jacobs going early and often, defense is suspect and it keeps Brady off the field
– Less runs out of the shotgun; success on the ground will set up the playaction and plays downfield
– With all the attention Cruz and Nicks demand, Manningham needs to get himself involved
– Double-team Defensive Tackle Vince Wilfork
– Must finish tackles, minimize yards after the catch
– Welker can get his, but don’t let Gronkowski take over
What We Know
– If Brady or Manning get time, they will move the chains and put up points
– Welker and Cruz are studs, and they will be heavily involved (as usual)
– Nicks and Gronkowski will put numbers
– Giants defense generates pressure (sacks) and the Patriots defense causes confusion (interceptions)
Key Offensive Players:
Aaron Hernandez (New England – Tight End)
Aaron Hernandez has to produce. With 2 weeks to gameplan, you figure Belichick will run the football a little bit more to alleviate the pass rush. Gronkowski is going to play and if he is effective enough, will draw double coverage. Welker always seems to get his, and Hernandez will get favorable matchups throughout the day.
Mario Manningham (New York – Wide Receiver)
Just like Aaron Hernandez, Manningham has to take advantage of his matchups. Not only will Cruz and Nicks get most of the attention (and deservedly so), the running game will make Manningham even more of an x-factor. It’s enough of a challenge to contain those playmakers alone, and he should benefit.
Key Defensive Players
Ninkovich has shown his versatility all season long. He puts himself in position to make a plays. He sets the edge against the run and you have to keep an eye on him as a quarterback. One play he’s applying pressure in the backfield and the next he’s deflecting a pass. He has a nose for the ball.
Kiwanuka is a force. He has been used to spy on running backs and mobile quarterbacks. He covers tight ends. Kiwanuka also has great instincts when blitzing; the discipline to stay in his lane as well as his pursuit of a screen play. He plays all 3 linebacker positions and occasionally puts his hand down as a defensive end.
What would you do?
Gameplan for Rob Gronkowski as if he were 100%?
Or…would to take the risk and make him prove his health by single-covering him?
Who has the BIGGER game in the slot?
Welker running wild or Cruz salsa dancing?
Win or lose, which legacy has more at stake?
Tom Brady or Eli Manning?
Personally, I think it’s too early to discuss legacies. At the moment, Brady has 3 rings and Manning has 1. Both have plenty of football ahead of them. With that said, I believe this is just the beginning for these 2 quarterbacks. Win or lose, this game is a stepping stone to the next level. Brady is trying to elevate his Hall of Fame campaign and “best ever status,” while Manning is trying to stamp himself as “elite.”
Super Bowl XLVI
I think we will see some scoring early. Both teams have had 2 weeks to prepare, and will come out firing. However, I don’t think this will be a high-scoring affair, as both defensive force turnovers and make it tough to score. To say the Giants are more of a well-rounded team is false to me, because they were mediocre during the regular season and the Patriots were dominant.
New York has a better ground game which gives them more balance offensively, and their well-documented pass rush is fast and furious. On the contrary, New England’s “bend but don’t break” defense is opportunistic.Offensively, they are one-dimensional but great through the air. The run to keep the opposition honest, and I see them doing so in this game.
The Giants 1-2 punch of Bradshaw & Jacobs has produced enough to get them to this point. Eli has been money on 3rd down and this defense has stepped up as a whole. In games that their front-4 doesn’t consistently apply pressure, the rest of the defense can get shredded. This game will be a struggle and a chess match. I like New England because they have a group of “football players.” And what I mean by that is, they have guys like Aaron Hernandez. He plays tight ends and receives handoffs. Julian Edelman plays receiver, returner, and some cornerback. Danny Woodhead gets sprinkled in with some carries here, and some catches there.
New England has a very good offensive line and Brady doesn’t need much time to make things happen. Manning has played very well in the clutch and in 4th quarters, but he does have that alter ego that throws a couple balls to the defense. Manning will throw the ball away occasionally, but he likes to take chances and sometimes they backfire. It happens, but I refuse to forget that this guy threw 25 interceptions last season. Brady is more likely to throw the ball away or take a sack. I would much rather punt the football then have my defense coming on to defend a short field. When they met in the regular season, the Giants came from behind to win. The thing is, I don’t think Brady has 3 turnovers this time around (2 interceptions, 1 fumble). New England gets revenge in what should be a classic!
New England Patriots 27
New York Giants 23