Sunday, November 6, 2011

Giants-Patriots defensive matchups

We know about the offensive injuries, but we have not been given word yet if Prince Amukamara will step on the field. This could be a critical addition with the breadth and variability of the Patriots defense.

The most dangerous offensive alignment for the Patriots against the Giants is when they go with 2 TEs. The match up problem this creates is that against a two TE look, Giants would typically go with their big look, using a standard 4-3-4 defense. However, because the two Patriots TEs, Hernandez and Gronkowski are both excellent route runners, it would leave the Giants with the requirement to match up a LB against one of these TEs and a S against the other. If the Giants go with their nickel look against this configuration and get an extra S on the field, the Patriots very good OL could run the ball effectively. I like Giants young LBs for the long term, but they have made some mistakes and have showed that they are vulnerable to big running plays with this defense.This might be a week to give Herzlich a look. Jacquian Williams has been good in the passing game, but has made mistakes in the running game. Jones was mediocre in the passing game last week and Herzlich could be the blend between the two who could be productive against the Patriots. The worry about Herzlich was his strength returning fully before he goes on the football field. But with the Patriots having a largely finesse style offense, rather than a brute force philosophy, Herzlich might be effective. He might also be really pumped up to play in New England in front of his BC fans.

If the Giants use two safeties to cover the two TEs, it means that there is no S on the field to provide deep protection or help in case somebody gets beat. Giants would be man-to-man all the way across the field. I guess the best plan is to stay in nickel and hope the DL does a great job in gap control and shuts down the running game. I am using Kiwanuka a lot this game, if I am Fewell, because he is probably the most flexible DE, after Tuck, and can provide a pass rush as well as good run defense. Giants can't sell out to stop one or the other, because Brady is very adept at changing plays and the Patriots will likely use the no-huddle often to prevent personnel changes by the Giants.

All in all this is a tough match up, but I think I would use Ross on Welker, because he is more comfortable playing the quick, slippery receivers. I would use Webster occasionally on one of the TEs, because he is a bigger CB and can handle their size. That leaves the S or the third CB (Amukamara?) to cover Branch or whoever the other Patriots WR is.

No comments: