After all the waiting, the NFL sadly will be ending, yet excitedly boils down to this, the big game. We all wait with baited breath for the season to begin, rooting on our teams, hoping for them to make it to the Bowl. Now the season is almost over and although climactic like no other sporting event in the world, after this we wait for the Draft.
The New York Giants play the New England Patriots for the 2nd time in 4 years in the Bowl, all season long; the Giants have been that team that was decent, but seemingly not a huge threat. Guess again.
Let’s take a look at the teams and see where the advantages lay. QB New England Patriots; Tom Brady has been anything but average, yet again. With 5235 YDs, 39 TDs, 66% completion, an awesome 8.6 yards/attempt avg, his 5th straight season of completing 63% or more of his passes. His calmness, leadership is virtually unrivaled, with 3 Super Bowl rings already; he is looking for his 4th, in his 5th Super Bowl start, which ties the record with John Elway, a pretty special achievement. GRADE: A
New York Giants; Peyton’s little brother has come a long way indeed. 2011 was an amazing season for the 30 year old QB. With 4933 YDS, 29 TDs, career high 8.4 yards/attempt, and 7 game winning drives under his belt in 2011 alone, Eli has proved he is not only a great QB, but great in the clutch. You don’t get more clutch than the Bowl. We all remember the scrambling Eli in 2007, chucking it up for David Tyree and “The helmet catch”, yes was it a fluke play, but we all remember it, and though it was more Tyree’s amazing concentration and a bit of luck, Eli’s fight kept the play alive, as to what looked like a sure sack at the time. GRADE: B+
RBs New England Patriots; the Pats have a lackluster backfield with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley as their main guys to pound the ball. Ranking 20th in the NFL rushing the ball Green-Ellis carried the ball 181 times, which is only 11 times/game. Its obvious Brady is the focal point of this offense machine. GRADE: C
New York Giants; With the Giants running game pretty much dissolved, the days of Brandon Jacobs pounding it for 15 TDs in the season are over. Earth, wind and fire are long since decimated, left with Jacobs and his 3.8 YPC and Ahmad Bradshaw’s 3.9. The Giants backfield is nothing so great either to be excited about, best benefit if any, is them catching the ball out of the backfield. GRADE: C+
Receiving Corps New England Patriots; With Wes Welker and his 122 catches and 1569 YDs and Deion Branch and his Brady link bringing him another 702 YDs and 5 TDs on the season, they give problems, but as we all know it’s the TE combination that is their bread and butter, between Gronk and Hernandez, they have 169 recpt, 2237 YDs, and 24 TDs on the season, including 237 targets between them, 39% of Brady’s throws were directed to them. Gronk says he will be playing in the game, it’s a vital decision. GRADE: B+
New York Giants; The New York Giants receivers are thrilling to watch. Cruz, Manningham, and Nicks at WR are as good as any trio you can put against them and they hold theirs if not exceed. The TE slot is feeble at best with Jake Ballard getting only 38 catches and just 4 TDs. GRADE: C+
Defense line New England Patriots; Led by Vince Wilfork as their keystone on the defensive line, the Patriots amassed 40 sacks on the season. Which put them 14th in the NFL; they do put some pressure on the opposing QBs, but don’t cause a lot of fumbles with only 10. GRADE: C+
New York Giants; 48 sacks on the year, 3rd highest in the league, there is no question about it, with Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck on your front four, you are going to be a problem for opposing O-lines to defend against. With 4 players with 5 or more sacks they are truly a serious threat rushing the passer, which will be immensely important to stop Brady. GRADE: A
Secondary New England Patriots; The Pats gave up 26 TD passes through the air, and 294 passing YPG, 11 times during the season they allowed 280 or more passing YDs to opposing QBs. GRADE: D
New York Giants; the Giants have bad trouble with the pass coverage as well. Only ranking 29th in the league giving up 255 yards/game to teams via airwaves, it still comes down to LB play as well, where the Giants are decent, because the ways the Pats use their TEs. GRADE: D+
Coaching New England Patriots; Simply known as “the hoodie.” Bill Belichick has proven time and time again how great a coach he is. Picking up old shoes and making them shine again (except for this year with Chad whatshisname and Albert Haynesworthless). His resume speaks for itself, 139 career wins and 3 Super Bowl rings. GRADE: A
New York Giants; The “always rosy cheeked” Tom Coughlin seems to be on the fence of making it through the season as the coach every year it seems, yet here he is again, in the Bowl, leading his guys back. With a middling record of 9-7 and a bad streak, losing 5/6, he got them up and fighting to make yet another improbable run to get where they are. GRADE: B+
The Bowl is going to be fantastic I am sure, this year I put nothing past the Giants but I can never count out the Pats. Eli wants to prove the doubters, Tom wants some revenge. Can’t wait for the battle on Sunday.