Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thoughts On the Giants Game

The nerves are really starting to set in for me. I can't even imagine what's going though the player's minds.

Last week I was really hoping if we advanced we would get to play the 49ers and not the Saints because of our regular season matchups between the two teams. After watching the Niners offense come alive with some Eli-esque 4th quarter magic, it has me a little scared. Especially when you look at the fact Frank Gore carried the ball just 13 times and still closed in on 100 yards. I don't know if Alex Smith can throw 40+ times again and be successful, but I do know that a little bit of confidence goes a long way.

The only thing that keeps me from being terrified going into this game is the 49ers lack of receivers. I am as big of a Michael Crabtree fan as there is (bought his jersey before he even signed an NFL contract), but he has a tendency to go missing for weeks at a time. He caught a TD last week, but overall had a poor effort with just 25 yards and lead all Niners receivers with those 25 yards and 4 catches.

The only guy to look out for is Vernon Davis who is a man on a mission these playoffs. Granted it was one game, but I don't think he has ever played with such emotion in his life. He only went for 4 and 40 in the last matchup, but burnt Greg Jones for a 31 yard touchdown, luckily Jones rarely sees the field because Davis is a huge size miss match with him. If the Giants are able to stuff the run early on I would really consider doubling Davis or have the safeties cheat in Davis direction to give the linebackers some help over the top with him. Speaking of the running game...

Last time neither team had their top guy. Gore started the game, but got hurt after gaining nothing on 6 carries. Kendall Hunter was pretty effective replacing him, the Niners just didn't give him the ball enough. The Giants on the other hand were completely without Ahmad Bradshaw and handed the wall to D.J. Ware 9 times as a result. Brandon Jacobs was meh, but overall the Giants wound up with 93 yards and in my opinion the lose of Bradshaw was a huge factor. Kendall Hunter is a beast so the Niners didn't really lose much in my opinion with Gore out, but there is a substantial difference between Bradshaw and Ware. With the Giants improving run game in recent days with a healthy backfield 100 yards should easily be in the conversation for today's game.

Overall last game against the Niners the Giants amounted over 400 yards and that was with an inferior offense to what they have right now. The coaches didn't trust Victor Cruz as much back then and he came up huge for the Giants at the end of the season. I see Cruz as a good matchup play against the Niners and see him torching them at least once, which is why I took him for my Gridiron Challenge team over Hakeen Nicks.

To sum up how I see this matchup:

QB's: Giants > Niners by a considerable margin. I said confidence goes a long way, but I have one of those gut feelings that Smith will stink it up this week because people are expecting at least decent results as where last week the talk was could he even put up 20 against an inferior Saints defense.

RB's: Giants < Niners. Gore is the best of all four RBs and Gore and Hunter are the better duo of running backs. If you wanna go this far Alex Smith is also a ten times better runner than Eli.

WR's: Giants > Niners. Not even a contest. Next.

TE's: Giants < Niners. As I said Vernon Davis is my number one fear, even more so than the defense.

D-Line: Giants = Niners. I think the Niners have the better starting group, but no one can compete with the Giants depth in the D-Line.

LB's: Giants < Niners. I would prefer to have Patrick Willis on the field by himself over three linebackers for the Giants. He had a monster game last time and the Giants will NEED to stop him to win.

DB's: Giants = Niners. Niners defenders can make the plays, but are susceptible to getting beat deep and the Giants' guys are underrated. They are finally playing in the playoffs as I expected them to play all season long.

Special Teams: Giants < Niners. Not even a close one. Niners have the better punter, kicker, and return man. They are dangerous in this regard.

HC: Giants < Niners. I'm a Coughlin fan, but Jim Harbough is the man. Really inspiring and smart coach.

Number one key to the game: Jason Pierre-Paul was shutout last game versus the Niners. He must have a huge game getting to the quarterback and stopping the run for the Giants D to be successful. He is so good that I have complete faith he will show up this game despite being a sophomore in the league.

Prediction: I have the Giants over the Niners 27 - 20. Would I be a true fan if I had it any other way?


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