Sunday, January 15, 2012

The New York Football Giants

Another week of playoff football has come and gone, and as I fan of the New York Giants, I'm obviously happy with their 37-20 victory over the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. That said, the Giants will have to make some improvements heading into the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers.

If someone were to look at the stats, and told me that the Packers dropped more passes than the Giants defended, I wouldn't second-guess them. The Giants inability to cover some of Aaron Rodgers' targets could have proven disastrous, if it were not for some key drops by the Packers. Although Niners' quarterback Alex Smith doesn't exactly have the targets of Rodgers, the Giants need to step up their coverage if they want to advance to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. 

On the positive side, Eli Manning showed again why he is an elite NFL quarterback. He showed exactly why the Packers' defense was ranked last in the NFL in the regular season. Something that cannot be overlooked is the great play of his offensive line, which gave him seemingly all the time in the world on the majority of the Giants' passing plays. Manning made some impressive throws on third down, especially late in the game when the Giants needed a first down to put the game out of reach. 

If the Giants are going to win next week and go to the Super Bowl, they will need to establish the running game early and often against the high-powered 49ers' defense. If they can establish the run, they will be able to open the field with play action, and subsequently make big plays down field through the air. The offensive line will have their hands full next week against Pro Bowl pass rushers Justin and Aldon Smith, as well as All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis. 

On the defensive side of the ball, it  will be important for the Giants to get to Alex Smith often. They need to do everything they can to make Smith uncomfortable in the pocket, and force him to make bad decisions. The Giants' experience in the playoffs should help them against the 49ers, but will it be enough to help them advance to the Super Bowl for the fifth time in franchise history, or will the resurgent 49ers go back to the Super Bowl for the first time since the days of Steve Young and Jerry Rice? Only time will tell. Prediction to come on Wednesday.

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