Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How good are the Giants really?

I have to say that it's still hard to tell how good the Giants are. Even though this was a great win for the Giants against the "elite" Patriots, I wonder just how good the Patriots really are. I don't believe they are really an elite team anymore. They certainly have the QB and the coach, but there are some obvious flaws on the Patriots and I think they were considered elite and ranked high on everybody's NFL power ranking more on reputation than on substance.

Consider that the defense is ranked last in the NFL. I have always been a proponent of the fact that football statistics are the most misleading of any sport and defensive statistics are the most misleading statistics of all those in football. However, when you're dead last in overall defense, dead last in pass defense, don't get turnovers from the other team, you're not good. You may not actually be the worst defense in football, but you're certainly down there near the bottom.

On offense, they have a passer with a great resume in Brady, a good OL and a really great weapon in Wes Welker. They have two very good TEs, but they have some limitations on offense as well. They do not have any speed on the outside or a true vertical threat in the passing game. Their RB is a solid runner, but not really a break away threat. On many teams, that would not be a problem by itself, but it adds to  the lack of a true home run threat on the offensive side of the ball. The league's defenses seem to be catching on to this and in the last few weeks, rather than playing a soft zone to prevent getting beat deep, they are playing much more physical, man-to-man trying to challenge those short passes and daring the Patriots to try and throw deep. Welker and those TEs are so good that they still make some yardage, but they are not as dangerous as they once were.

This was a good win for the Giants, it doesn't undermine the fact that Patriots never lose at home and the Giants did beat them in Foxboro. But I would not be surprised to see the Patriots slip a little bit and lose some of their tougher games in the coming weeks. Therefore, the win is not as telling as it would appear to be. The Patriots have a really interesting test coming up against the Jets this week. It seems to me that the Jets match up fairly well against the Patriots on defense. The best part of the Jets defense is coverage in the DB-field and that is where the Patriots try to win on offense. Interesting game.

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