Eli still has a loser face. I wrote of this a few years back – the year he gallantly led them to a Super Bowl title. I’ve been quiet, understandably since then about Eli. But the fact is, there is just something about his style and that of Coughlin too – that still makes it difficult for me to believe they won a Super Bowl – much less a bunch of games in subsequent seasons. Eli is actually one of the more dangerous passers this year. He has been quite good and we should be quite concerned re the recent performances of our secondary.
Watch Victor Cruz. This game has come out of nowhere to be on the brink of setting the Giants’ single-season receiving yards mark. Very impressive dude. I have been noticing Tramon has had more better plays recently than earlier in the season. I’m hoping he can shut down Cruz and I’m pretty sure he’ll draw that assignment. Problem is, if Cruz is accounted for, there is still Hakeem Nicks – who is also a high level talent. I think Woodson may match up well with Nicks but I’m hoping that doesn’t prevent Woodson from being part of other creative defensive packages.
This is a Jake Ballard game. He is the TE for the Giants who beat out the Badgers own Travis Beckum for the starting job. He’s OK, he’s huge, and somehow he gets open. I can see Eli looking his way a lot today considering the inexperience over the middle. (However, I suppose given the coverage deficiencies of Bishop/Hawk, perhaps we might be pleasantly surprised by what Francois and Smith do in coverage over the middle.).
It’s bad news that Ahmad Bradshaw is playing. He’s a really good player and makes this game far more of a competitive one in my mind. Brandon Jacobs is merely a moody malcontent who can periodically do damage, but Bradshaw is the real deal.
Osi Umenyiora is out today and that’s huge. I think the Giants are a different team without him. The french sounding dude (Pierre-Paul) is a good player as well and may cause some disruption but Umenyiora’s absence hurts the Giants today.
Rodgers needs to be especially judicious re his use of the run on busted plays. He’s a great runner and that’s an asset that truly sets him apart but this is the kind of game against the kind of team where Rodgers could get lit up. I don’t know as I’d say the Giants are dirty, but given the pressure they’re under in this one, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few late hits. And remember, like last week and every other week this season, it’s incredibly frustrating for opposing defenses to play against our offense. They have no idea what’s coming next and that is really mentally frustrating.
I can see James Starks playing more of a role today. We’ll pass it around for sure but I think Starks will essentially earn more carries today.
While I am definitely concerned about this game and know the Giants CAN occasionally be a good team, it is important to remember that Tom Coughlin teams often go through spells of incompetence brought about by mental breakdowns. The game last week against the Saints was a prime example. WHat I”m getting at is that the Giants are one boneheaded play/penalty away from a meltdown. And they can’t afford that sort of thing in a game like this because we’ll roll them if they do. One advantage of being undefeated is that if we fall behind, we won’t shift into automatic meltdown mode because we have the confidence to keep at it.
I like Finley in this game. I think Rodgers will look his way a bit especially early on. In fact, I almost think McCarthy sometimes enters into a game thinking of getting it to Finley early in an effort to open things up for the WRs thereafter. He’s employed that strategy (consciously or not I don’t know) in a few away games already this year.
I’d like to see more pressure today from DJ Smith and Francois in particular. Bishop does well with pressure some they’ll need to replace his role – but Hawk doesn’t do well and I’m thinking we could see and overall upgrade in pressure today because both Smith and Francois appear to be faster and more athletic than Hawk.
Let’s just get these guys frustrated and then roll today. I am fully anticipating multiple sideline shots of Tom Coughlin’s bewildered look.