31 January 2012

Super Bowl XLVI: Breaking down the Giants' Offense

As it is Super Bowl week this week in Indianapolis, we, and by we I mean me, will be taking a look at the offenses and defenses of both teams. This time, we are looking at the offense of the New York Giants. 

Points per game: 24.6 (9th)
Yards per game: 385.1 (8th)
Passing yards per game: 295.9 (5th)
Rushing yards per game: 89.2 (32nd)

Eli Manning really rebounded from a mediocre 2010 campaign to have an MVP-caliber season in 2011. He was a key catalyst as he got this team into the playoffs and has been magnificent this postseason. He had a career high 4,933 pass yards with 29 touchdowns passes, a fine 16 interceptions (a number you can live with) , a 61% completion percentage and a passer rating of 92.9. This was Manning's finest season, in my opinion.

And this receiving unit played a huge role in Manning's campaign. Victor Cruz came out of nowhere this season and had 82 receptions, 1536 passing yards and nine touchdowns (and that is with not being in the mix in the first two weeks in the season. He has got lightning speed and if he gets space, he's gone. Hakeem Nicks was not to be forgotten this season and he followed his breakout season of 2010 with another strong season of his own with 76 receptions, 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns. He complements Cruz' speed with great hands and his great physicality, he can go up and get it. And Nicks has been huge for this team in the postseason. And while Mario Manningham fell in the shadows a little as Cruz really broke out, he's a very good number three that can break it and if he draws Julian Edelman a lot, he can play a huge role in the game this Sunday. Jake Ballard is a solid tight end as well.

The Giants sucked this season running the football. They were the absolute worst per game this season and it had much to do with neither Ahmad Bradshaw nor Brandon Jacobs were healthy for the full season. When healthy, both combine to give the Giants a solid running game, Bradshaw with the speed, Jacobs with the power. Neither has been great this postseason however and with Tom Brady on the other side, this club is likely to throw a lot.

The offensive line did a very good job protecting Manning all season, only giving 28 sacks this season. But they struggled to protect Manning in the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco and while they have a much better defense than the Patriots do, the Patriots have an underrated pass rush that came alive this postseason. And Bill Belichick has one hell of a defensive mind too. 

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