Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Giants: Packers going, 49ers coming up

Giants offense has been good all year, but how will they handle going against a real good defense next week in SF. Last few weeks Giants offense has performed very well, but has gone against weak defenses in the Packers, Falcons and the Cowboys. Statistically the Packers are rated the worst defense in the league, but I think the Cowboys are much worse. Packers give up a lot of yards, but get a lot of INTs and are more or less in the middle of the league when it comes to points allowed. Ignoring the statistics, it looked like the Packers made a few plays and got a few stops here and there on defense, while in the last week of the season against the Cowboys, it just looked like the Giants could move the ball easily against the FRR (Fat Rob Ryan) defense. Falcons defense is not that bad and Giants offense did well only in the second half. The week before the Cowboys game, Giants played the Jets, who have a good defense and the Giants did not have a good offensive game at all. Giants need to play well offensively against the 49ers and I hope the weather does not interfere.

In the last 4 weeks, Giants have beaten Rex Ryan (Jets HC) , Rob Ryan (Cowboys DC) , Matt Ryan (Falcons QB) and Ryan Grant (Packers RB). Bad news people - 49ers don't have anyone named "Ryan" on their team. Maybe the receptionist?

Giants franchise record in conference championship games and Super Bowl games is 7-1, with 4-0 record in the conference championships.

Antrel Rolle is playing better and better  as the year is going along. He has really sacrificed, moving for the good of the team from his natural S position and is playing a lot of nickel CB coverage. His tackling has gotten very sure, he almost never misses a tackle and makes some very  good stops rarely giving up yards after contact.

It's a funny thing - both teams in the conference championship game wanted this match up and would have chosen this opponent to play. 49ers did not want to travel to Green Bay, play the number one seed and would prefer to stay at home. Giants would prefer to play the 49ers than traveling to play the speedy Saints in their dome, even though they won't admit it. For the Giants, both games would be a road games, but they lost in the regular season by one TD to the 49ers and lost by about 100 to the Saints. Let's see who is happy with their chosen opponent.

Harbaugh looks to me like he is an excellent coach. He has taken the same team that was on the bottom of the NFC Western division for several years, resurrected the career of the QB, instituted some order and organization, coached 'em up, captured the second seed and is now in the conference championship game. Thinking back to that first SF game, Harbaugh broke several tendencies and really surprised the Giants coaches. For one thing, SF had been running the ball on everyone and Giants defense came in with a plan to stop Gore and their running game. Instead, SF came out and seems like they passed on every first down against the Giants base defense. Giants finally adjusted, but it was a very good move. He also called the surprise onside kickoff wich worked and gave his team an extra possession. In that second half, a turnover killed the Giants. Following the turnover Harbaugh called a play to Vernon Davis out of a different formation than they usually use, the Giants defense got confused, blew a coverage (they did that then) and it went for a TD. It was the formation and play call that fooled the Giants, which is all coaching.

Speaking of coaching - everything McCarthy tried last Sunday turned to garbage. First half onside kickoff failed, although it didn't really kill him because Packers blocked the FG attempt. Fourth quarter onside kickoff also was recovered by Giants although that was not as bad as everyone made it out to be. It's true that the Giants gained 30 yards of field position, because they got the ball at midfield instead of their own 20. But the Packers were still in position to make a stop by the defense and get the ball back. The other coaching calls that failed were the 4th and 5 try early in 4th quarter, which was an important turning point. Green Bay's other coaching mistake was not being prepared for the Hail Mary at the end of the half. As I said in earlier post, Packers were defending a sideline throw not a deep ball and the catch by Nicks was easier than it should have been. Bad defensive call by Packers coaching staff.

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