The Giants face the Cowboys in an NFC East battle this week. It’s a rematch of opening night at Met Life Stadium. The Cowboys outplayed the Giants in the opener beating them 24-17. Since then, the two teams have gone in complete opposite directions. The Giants, have only lost once game since the opener, and that loss was on a missed last second field goal. Since week 1 the cowboys have really struggled. More importantly, the Cowboys were healthy in week 1, while the Giants were banged up. The Giants had some underrated injuries then. Prince Amukamara, who has been quite solid this season, and we have not had to see much of Michael Coe or Justin Tyron who were the biggest victims of Tony Romo in the home opener. On the offensive side of the ball, Will Beatty missed the game, leaving David Diehl to try to handle Ware. David Diehl, was a good Giant but it is obvious that he is over the hill. This will likely be his last year on the team, unless he takes a substantial pay cut. He could come back as a multipurpose backup lineman., and has a close personal relationship with Eli so that could get him some extra rope. For Dallas, running back Demarco Murray will miss the game this week. Previously, the Giants actually held him in the first half, but he exploded for a few big runs in the second half. The much larger injury for Dallas is linebacker and leading tackler Sean Lee. He was a beast against the Giants. The Giants could not run at all against Dallas last time and he was a big reason. The Giants offensive line is much improved since then. The Giants happen to play well at Cowboys stadium too. Health of personnel and overall team momentum will make all the difference. The Giants will win this game 24-20.
The Giants beat the Redskins on Sunday with a thrilling 77 yard pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz to seal it. It was a game that introduced RG3 to New York and in some cases a national audience. RG3 nearly pulled it out for the Skins, the Giants were lucky to walk away from this evenly matched game with a victory. It’s scary to think he is a rookie, the Giants will have to face him twice a year for the next 12 -15 years. Eli Manning played what for him was an uncharacteristically sloppy game, with a couple of missed throws and a couple of bad interceptions. He is such a good quarterback and his standard is so high that it is surprising when he looks like an average NFL quarterback. OF course he turned into Captain Comeback after the Giants gave up a late 4th quarter touchdown to Moss.
The running game never got going. It may not have been given a great shot, but it didn’t look very effective when they tried. Given the edge they should have had in the passing game it was not a bad call to keep passing. Manning did pass for 330 yards, a number relatively close to our prediction. After flashing the prior week, David Wilson once again didn’t get a carry with Brown back in the lineup. The coaches seemingly just don’t trust him in a close game. It seems all of his carries post week 1, have been when the game was not very close. Giants fans, and this blog, are clamoring to see more of him.
Importantly the Giant’s seemed to come out of the game relatively healthy. Canty came back on a “pitch count” and was active and helped out inside but not enough to stop a vicious Redskin running game. I’m shocked how much Rocky Bernard is missed for his run stuffing presence. I do think the bigger issue with the run, was the different nature of the option. They are not in college anymore and the transition into the NFL will take some getting used to. The Giants were better against the run in the second half once they “figured out” the scheme. It could be like the Wildcat, when it is new it takes some getting used to. But then everyone figures out how to play it – probably wishful thinking.
JPP, Tuck, and Umneyora all recorded sacks. While Umneyora is certain not to be back next year (and is a major liability against the run) it also clear that Tuck is well past his prime. He has been a tremendous contributor to the team and is a team leader, but he won’t be earning his contract next year. Cruz starting talking about a contract extension already and Nicks also hits free agency this year. They will have to draw the somewhere, and will be forced to make some cuts. Don’t be shocked to see Tuck and Umenyora gone next year. I think there is even a chance Canty, who has a big cap number next year, could join them. The Giants are deep at linebacker, so they can slide Kiwi back to end across from JPP and have Tracey and Ojomo backing up at ends. Canty is probably safe simply because Marvin Austin has failed to live up to his billing. In the secondary, Stevie Brown was all over the place and had a big Interception. Phillips is still missed in run support, but not in the passing game. With Phillip’s contract coming up, Brown and Hill being cheap options, 2012 could turn into the last year for him as a Giant as well.
I have one bone to pick with Coughlin on play calling. Facing a third and 1 with a few minutes left and up a few points, it was imperative to keep the clock rolling. Nobody remembers the paly now because the Giants won, but they went with a back shoulder throw to a still not fully healthy Nicks. It was incomplete which stopped the clock and turned the ball over to the Redskins who then quickly capitalized. If they would have ran for a first down there, it likely would have not left the Skins with enough time to score a touchdown even if they only ran 3 more plays. It was a bad play call that they got away with. The Giants play the Cowboys next week in an important division match up. We will have a preview later this week
The Giants play the Redskins on Sunday in a NFC showdown.
The Redskins are a very different team than their recent pass where they were
excellent defensively but not competent offensively. With rookie superstar
RG3, they are now a good offensive team, and early season injuries to some of
their better players have severely injured their defense. They are
especially bad against the pass, which will be a big problem for them this
game. The NFL is game of matchups and with a seemingly healthy Nicks
(he has practiced 3 times this week), alongside Cruz and the others, Eli Manning
should have a field day. Expect Manning to throw the ball over the field largely
nullifying the running abilities of the Redskins behind other star rookie, Alfred Morris.
Chris Canty seems likely to return, an important piece of the
defensive line, especially against the run, and especially while Rocky Bernard
is still out. Rotating young players Kuhn and Austin was not a disaster,
but a step down. With the exception of missing Kenny Phillips, this is a
relatively healthy team. The Giants running game has been very good as of
late but are going up against a stout Washington run defense. Expect the
Giants to use the pass to set up the run, allowing Bradshaw, and hopefully
Wilson and Brown to have decent days. The Giants have fared reasonably
well against mobile quarterbacks this year, I’m sure largely due to their very
athletic front 7. This game should be no different. The Giants will jump
out early behind a Manning aerial show and dominate this game. Expect the
Giants to win 31-17.
The Giants had a very impressive day on Sunday thoroughly beating a team many, including myself, considered to be the best in the NFL. The Giants had the better offense , defense, and special teams. And they really manhandled the Niners, in a true statement game. This was also one of their best coached games. They seemed prepared for everything the Niners did. They also stuck with a run that showed little promise in the first half, and were rewarded with a huge second half by Ahmad Bradshaw. David Wilson, once again showed some really nice flashes when he was given his limited opportunities. It’s a real shame the coaches still don’t trust him not to fumble as he really has talent.
Ironically, Manning had his first sub 200 yard game in a long time, but that was generally because they were playing from ahead most of the time. Hakeem Nicks returned but did not look healthy. He was limping around and showed a lack of full speed on an early long attempt. The running game was excellent as they had 19 yards. Between the running game and not getting Manning sacked once for a third straight week, it seems like this line may have been underrated. It also seems that Diehl (overrated) may have a tough time getting his starting role back. Why mess with a good thing? At this point, the Giant running game has had good weeks 4 out of the last 5. It can no longer be considered to be a fluke.
The Giants survived an early punch in the mouth as the Niners had two good first drives while the Giants did not. The Niners missed one field goal and were held to 3 points on another deep drive. With a couple of plays that could have been 14-0 Niners and a very different game. Getting ahead turned the Niners one dimensional. It wasn’t that the running game was shut down as the Niners had a decent yards per carry, it was that they needed to catch up and were passing. Playing from behind is not an Alex Smith/ Niners offense specialty and therefore Smith was forced into uncomfortable throws by a defensive line that didn’t need to mind the rush. The line teed off on Smith and got to him a season high 6 times.
On special teams, David Wilson made the most of his opportunities. He had 2 very good returns, but one was called back by a penalty. Its seems a matter of time before he takes one all the way. His second return for 66 yards set the tone for the second half and deflated the Niners coming out of the locker room already down a score. It was good to see Adrian Tracey as he put pressure on the quarterback and got one sack. Osi and Tuck are still a little old and overrated, so it will be nice to see Tracey step up next year as at least one if not both of them are gone. Another possibility to be gone is Canty as his salary is getting high, but that would only beif they can get Bernard back on the cheap and see something more out of Kuhn or Austin (until now still MIA). I also think they will move Kiwi to defensive line next year and fill in his spot with their tremendous linebacker depth. JPP had another great game. This time, it showed up in the stats as he had 2 sacks but he had been playing very well without the stats until now.
Antrel Rolle who has been a little overrated until now finally lived up to his contract having his best day as a Giant. He had 2 interceptions and really seemed to always be in the middle of the action. Prince Amukamara played well and had an interception and it was good to have Holsey back at the nickelback.
The Giants play the RG3 led Redskins this Sunday at Met Life Stadium. We will have a preview on Friday.
The most worrisome aspect of today’s game is not their opponent. I Don’t worry about “let downs”. That is the press’ way to keep interest in the game and the coaches way to motivate the players. The Giants are too talented for this Browns team. They will however have to rely on depth. They are severely injured at key positions. Blog favorite Hakeem Nicks is out yet again. So is Barden who had the great game against the Panthers in his absence. However the Giants are very deep at receiver. Hixon is a reliable option at #2, and rookie Randle and Jernigan can stop up at the 3. They may need to go to tight end Bennet a bit more. But with Manning continuing his other worldly play, and the offensive line still able to pass protect even when they can’t open running lanes, Manning should be good for 340 yards today.
On defense the loss of Kenny Philips will hurt, as will Jayron Holsey but the biggest loss today will amazingly be Rocky Bernard. He has been stout in his run defense and his absence will be felt more that the others just due to the relative drop off and inexperience of his backups. Kuhn or Austin will need to step up. Stevie Brown in for Phillips and will Hill in for Holsey have each played well when called upon.
Josh Cribbs is a dangerous returner for the Browns but this is an area the Giants excel. After so many years of inadequate special teams the Giants are finally great at covering and have been good at kick off returns. Punt returns could still use some help. I hope the Giants give David Wilson another shot to get out of the dog house but I don’t really expect it anymore. On defense, the biggest concern is starting to be the realization that both Tuck and Umenyora seem to be in severe declines. They have too much respect in the locker room for Couglin to give Tracey or Ojomo a real shot at replacing them.
While the Giants may not shut down Alabama alum Richardson completely in the running game, and Weeden is as old as over the hill Tuck, he is still a rookie NFL quarterback who will have to deal with a tough Giants defense. Ultimately, his lack of healthy wide receivers and tight ends will not allow him much success against this beat up Giants defense, and Manning will still be Manning going up against a Browns secondary whose best player (Haden) is still on suspension. The Giants pull this one out 31-20.
Ari has been an avid Giants fan since 1979. He attends many home games and has attended the Giants last 2 Superbowl victories. This blog will talk about anything related to the New York Giants. Ari also blogs about the New York Knicks, at http://www.ariglassknicksblog.com