Notice that it’s not the “5 keys to beating the Patriots” because the Giants have to play to win the game and do what they have to do, not focusing or worrying about the Patriots because New England will be New England and play their game, you don’t worry about beating the opposition, you play your best game and examine what you have to do as a team to win the game and play your absolute finest and that should/will take care of the rest and the final outcome. The Giants “A-Game” has to better than NE’s “A-Game” Sunday to have the result they are looking for.
And it’s also not “5 keys for a Giants Win” because this victory would mean the Super Bowl Championship, becoming the best team in the National Football League for the 2007-’08 Season! This would not be just any “win” and it will not come like the other postseason wins they collected en route to get to this big stage – Glendale, Arizona. N.Y. has to go all-out and leave everything on the field, playing with heart, passion, and a “fire” to win the game and come out on top victorious – scoring more than the other team (Patriots). This win will not come easy and they have to play much better than they did the past two games because they are going against a squad that is motivated to go 19-0, now the Giants have to start by being confident they can go finish and go out with a record of 14-6 as Champions of the NFL! They have to take care of business in all three facets of the game and know that their best will bring home the title to New York! It all starts in believing first that you can win, executing “your” game plan to near perfection (success), and doing whatever it takes and costs to get the final product/performance out of each individual, teaming up to be the best team that you can possibly be, the best team playing on the field Super Bowl Sunday!
1. Ball Control – Time of Possession Battle: This T.O.P. factor will come into play when the NY Giants face the unbeaten NE Patriots Sunday evening in for Super Bowl XLII. With a chance to make history for both teams, this game will come down to who holds on to the pigskin the longest, especially in the second half. To look at who played the Patriots the toughest and the closest, because you want to take something from the team that played them the best for a “blueprint” or “guideline” for success, a list of what to do & what not to do, you have to go back to the Week 9 showdown that was phrased – “ in November”. Manning and Co. took Brady’s Bunch down to the wire at the , a game in which Indy had the lead heading into the 4th quarter because they played a slowed down tempo of offense that consisted of mixing in the run with the pass, a brand of football and game plan you need to have in effect to beat the Patriots. To beat NE you need offense so the Jacobs/Bradshaw combo has to be at it’s best in order to be ultra-productive and time-efficient for this NY scoring unit. cannot get into a shootout with and win. Eli is not going to outduel Brady and the Giants can win the offense side of the ball by keeping Brady on the sidelines as long/much as possible – it’s simply the best way to stop the Pats offense period. The longer NY stays on the field with it’s offensive squad, the more rested their defense is and the more tiresome NE’s “veteran” 3-4 defensive attack gets. needs to put together some long, time consuming drives by running the football because in the last game the Gaints scored by passing (can’t outscore ’em), they had too quick of drives, letting NE get back on to the field quickly enough to take care of a Giants defense, which is known for giving up big pass plays. Keep NE’s offense out of rhythm by installing the run game to incorporate a plan that will take care of two things: Keep Brady on the sidelines, by giving Jacobs (break tackle ability) and Bradshaw (elusiveness, speed) more chances to break the big gain that could get the momentum going in the NY’s favor. NY has three difference-makers on offense and you have to believe it all starts and ends with the run game. You can’t win if the Pats are playing their style of game (passing to Moss deep is their strength and when they are at their absolute best), but you can match them by making their defense, not yours, work by going right at their LB’s with a strong rotation and 1-2 punch of Bradshaw and Jacobs. NE’s LB’s are known for blitzing more so rather than stopping the run consistently. Both Giant RB’s can go inside and out and you can go to Bradshaw early by fazing/waring out the defense for a quick knockdown and then let Jacobs do his thing by finishing off the drives by running over the Pats with a knockout punch to demoralize the Belichick’s gang. No one has played well enough on offense to hold the ball and effectively run two solid backs at NE (Balt with just McGahee – over 100 yards/TD), and if rushes the ball well enough, you can get Burress in 1-on-1 opportunities against the smaller, undersized corners of NE, a match-up that will give the edge everytime. Eli is at his best with the PA pass and the 6-foot 5 inch weapon will be able to display his playmaking ability/skills if Bradshaw/Jacobs are the “main/go-to” options in the Giants offensive attack. If NY can play well by being conservative early on, they can add their aggressive downfield passing game to a rushing duo that will ultimately win them the game. The key is to have the Giants offense on the field to control the game and T.O.P. I know that can rush for over 200 yards on the ground if they stick with what will beat NE – Running the Football!
2. Second Half Adjustments – Win the 3rd Quarter: If you want to be NE you have to get at ’em where they are at their best and finest – in the second half – mainly the 3rd quarter. The Giants don’t necessarily have to jump out to an early lead (it would be good) and get out in front because the Pats are going to bring it all in the 3rd coming off Belichick’s halftime adjustments. You have to believe NY’s chances of winning this truly hinge and rely on the way they come out of the “locker room” – not the “tunnel”. They cannot begin the 3rd off slowly because NE will pull away en route to an easy victory, and if you look back at recent SB’s, the team that wins the 3rd quarter and comes out stronger and on top of their game usually wins. I did some research and found that close to 85% (27 out of 32 teams) that outscored their opposition in the all-important quarter after halftime were victorious in the . 2nd Quarters and the final 4th quarter are crucial, but I really believe who wins the 3rd quarter will come out on top hoisting the Lombardi Trophy of SB XLII. I expect NY to be trailing by a score at halftime and to turn it up they have to start the second half clicking on all cylinders. Vital will be how the Giants respond to the Patriots offense when they are at their best. Consider the team that strikes first in the 3rd will have themselves the opportunity to open up the play book and be more aggressive, rather than picking/choosing their spots.
3. Red Zone Efficiency: The Pats have red zone weapons like Moss, Watson, Welker, and Maroney can punch it in, if exchanges FG’s for TD’s answering the Pats call of 7 for 3, the game will be over in a hurry before you can say 19-0. Instead of having this be an easy Pats win this game can be to the Giants advantage if they hold the potent NE offense inside the 20. Outplaying them on both sides of the ball inside the 20 can be the difference because once NE gets going they are tough to slow down. Also you have to consider Gostkowski is not a good kicker past 35 yards, being shaky at best, NY’s pass rush can force a possible TD into a short FG, all the way back to a very missable 35+ yard FG. can ill-afford to settle for chip shots while letting Brady’s best offense of all-time celebrate for another score. Keep in mind that you prolong the game if you give up 3 instead of 7, making the Giants that much more dangerous keeping them in the game (cameback from last two Playoff games). Remember the Giants don’t have the most reliable kicker too and they can be in good position to win the game in the 4th if they hold the Pats inside the 20, while taking care of their own business in the red zone.
4. More Welker, Less Moss, Allow Short Passes, No Deep Bombs: The NY Giants should follow SD’s defensive plan to stop Moss and let Welker get his fair share of short-yardage catches. should let Corey Webster cover Randy Moss and Aaron Ross cover Wes Welker on 1st & 2nd downs. Then on 3rd down, they should switch up the “quicker” Ross to cover Moss and the more physical, “bump ‘n run/jam” coverage of Webster go 1-on-1 with denying Welker those key first down conversions he always seems to come up with. By holding the deep bombs to a minimum, you can the successful three DE set on the DLine, by placing either Justin Tuck or Michael Strahan at tackle, having the three best pass rushers in at the same time. Teaming up Osi Umeniyora, Tuck, and Strahan to create pressure and combine for pressures, hurries, forced throws, and sacks on will not be able to go deep as often as they would like if the Giants bring the heat up front and from the edges. Welker can prolong drives but he will not beat you, and all you have to do is concentrate on him and his crossing routes, slants, and hook/curl routes where he stays in the soft spot of the zone. Moss/Brady connection is a game breaker and the Giants have to disconnect that “hookup” if they want to play the game at a slower pace. NY has enough speed and a couple of good cover corners to match-up with NE’s talent at WR/TE, and the pass rush (best in the NFL) from the DL could do wonders for this defense, and it has to because they are going up against a flat-out scoring machine.
5. Keep It Simple on Defense and Get Offensive Weapons Involved Right Away: Simple keys for winning this game for coach Coughlin’s Football Giants, being the Road and Comeback Warriors they are… A. Stay within striking distance – NY will not be out of the game if they are down 10-14 points because they have proven to be a team that is patient and can respond to being down, as they score quickly after they fall behind. B. Utilize Man-to-Man Coverage because it worked towards the latter part of the GB game. Brady will pick apart a zone and I really believe the Giants CB’s are good enough to stick with NE’s WR’s, thus letting the Giants bring more pass rush because if Brady has more than enough time to look down the field, he will come through with big gains – so stick with Man-to-Man. C. Variety of run plays. Don’t be predictable, run Bradshaw up the middle, in-between the tackles, and let Jacobs go outside on sweeps/pitches. Toss in the fact they have the vision and great cutback ability to make a short loss or a run destined to go nowhere into a first down or even a TD, let them improvise and use their skills to run up and down, and all over a less than stellar defense against the run. D. Throw in a trick play after you show them your game plan and strengths. Giants will do well to keep the Pats off-balanced because they bring the house on many occasions. E. needs 10 + catches. Burress gets stronger as the game goes on and there is no way he should not reach this plateau against the undersized NE corners. These CB’s gamble and Burress will make them pay deep, over the middle, and on sideline routes getting them out of position for chain-moving receptions. F. Blitz early on 1st down. Don’t let Brady get that 7-8 yard pass on 1st down to get a very manageable 2nd & 3rd downs. Bring some pressure early and get back into coverage when you know they are going to pass. Antonio Pierce and will play big parts in getting to Brady and storming the line of scrimmage on run blitzes to take down Maroney before he gets into attack mode. G. Giants need to outplay NE’s . If gets good performances out of Bradshaw, Jacobs, and Burress, watch out because the Giants can put up 30 in a hurry. just has to contain Moss and pay close attention to Welker. They are good enough in the open field to tackle Maroney and the Giants offense will be the difference in this one because they are getting better each week, building up more confidence with the trio of playmakers they have, as they continue to flourish and get the job done. has been consistent offensively and their defense will take away the run game and make sure they don’t get beat deep. H. Short Passes on Offense. is great at running screen because their backs are excellent at making defenders miss, enhancing their chances at getting big gains. Manning will offset and neutralize NE’s varied schemes and blitz packages with short, quick slants and crossing routes, as I am certain to take Burress, Boss, Jacobs, and Bradshaw in the open field against NE’s secondary. If you complete the intermediate passes, that moves the safeties up and allows Burress to get the opportunity to shine. Explore different plays with the short passes/screens and the Giants will be successful because NE tries to overpursue on defense way too much and can catch them off-balanced with a balanced attack of run first football and short throws to their weapons on offense.