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Bear of a Matchup (Optimism for the Giants?)

It’s time for my new weekly edition of “tale of the tape” or “unit matchup” or as I called it last week “Nail in The Coughlin” as in if the Giants can’t win these matchups they will be the Nail in Coughlin”s Giants coaching career.

After a dissapointing loss due to sloppy play the Giants stand at 1-2 on the season heading into their third home game of the year (meaning they are going to play a lot of road games later) in a must win game.

After last weeks disgraceful loss the Giants sit at 4-10 in their last 14 N.F.L. Football games (3-8 last 11 games last year, plus 1 and 2 this year =4-10). The Giants went 4-12 the year they got Eli Manning 4th overall (via a trade with San Diego). Let’s hope the Giants can turn things around.

The Giants should no longer be considered a good football team. Until THEY PROVE it Enough talk. Just play hard and fast and see what happens.

Let me start off with three Key Stats for the upcoming week that will be in more detail below: Stats that look good for the G-men that should provide optimism to a fan base that grows wearier each day.

4. The rank of the Giants pass defense in yards per game this year.

2. The number of sacks by Da Bears Entire team. (Pepper has one) 

2.8. Yards per carry for the Bears Matt Forte and Chester Taylor.

I have a few more interesting numbers spread throughout the reading (for instance notice where the Bears pass defense ranks), but I’ll leave it at that tease.

If these stats hold steady the Giants will win this game  for sure (that is the Giants playing the pass well, the Bears not being able to run, and the Bears not being able to sack the opposing QB). Now of course stats have been known to be a bit misleading.

QB

Eli Manning Vs Jay Cutler.

This year’s stats are as follows for Jay cutler: 60 of 91 (65.9% percentage) for 870 yards with 6 TD and 2 INT averaging 9.6 yards per pass attempt.

Eil Manning is 67 for 102 for 810 yards (7.9 yards per pass attempt and 65.7% completion) for 6 TD and 6 INT. If you are a casual fan you would think advantage Jay Cutler.

Us Giants fans now though, that 4 of Eli’s 6 INT have been deflections off of his own players hands (and the other one Steve Smith still it his hands even if it was into triple coveage).

Last year Jay Cutler had nearly an INT for every touchdown.

Cutler has also rarely been on winning teams.

Now Cutler can throw the ball a mile and is mobile enough for a QB and has all the talent in the world, but Eli Manning is more accomplished, better in the two minute drill and is the better QB.

Advantage K.O. Giants Three good games doesn’t make a career for Cutler who has never won anything big, but make no mistakes if the Giants defense plays the way they have been Cutler will have the better game on Sunday…but he’s not the better QB.

Running Backs

The Giants employ a two back system has Danny Ware has 2 carries on the season. The Chicago Bears also rely heavily on two running backs Matt Forte and Chester Taylor.

Who has the better running backs?

Let’s take a look.

This year Bradshaw has been very good at times with 52 carries and 253 yards (nearly five yards a carry) and two touchdowns which is sixth in the league (chris Johnson of Tennnessee is fifth). Bradshaw also has 7 receptions for 47 yards which is 300 total yards of offense in the first three weeks of the season which is more then representable.

And then there is Brandon Jacbos who has a measly 20 carries for 69 yards (3.5 yards per carry) with 3 catches for 22 yards and NO Touchdowns.

Compare that to the team of Matt Forte and Chester Taylor.

Forte and Taylor only have a 152 yards combined on the ground  (108 and 44 respectively), but Forte once again has been a machine through the air. Forte has racked up 202 yards receiving in three games with three touchdowns. Chester Taylor has another 5 receptions for 53 yards. Both Forte and Taylor are good at blitz pickup.

Advantage TKO Da Bears. If the Giants keep on their current track they make be looking at Mark Ingram with the 8th or so overall pick in the draft. Meanwhile the Bears employ two of the most underrated running backs in the league, sure they don’t run the ball anywhere, but they are WEAPONS in the passing game. The Giants have the Best running back of the four with Bradshaw, but Jacobs at this moment in time is turning into a wasted roster space (it kills me to say it Jacobs).

WR Corps

This is an easy one really. The best WR on the Bears is Matt Forte. The next best is Greg Olson. The next “best” is  Johnny Knox. And there is also Devin Hester.

Now this WR corps is LETHAL on special teams. And if you want to count that as part of the package it at least becomes a debate. Johnny Knox may evolve into a good WR but at the time both him and Hester are one dimensional deep threats and Earl Bennett is really a possession receiver who has a good relationship with Cutler because they played together in college at Vanderbilt.

The Giants WR on the other hand are quick, good route runners (even Manningham this year) and young and talented (Cruz, Calouhn, and Barden who don’t even play). The Giants WR is one of the best young WR corps in the whole league, But they do have a bit of a dropsy problem and they are not great special teams players (many teams rely on their WR for special teams play).

Hakeem Nicks has been productive with Four touchdowns, Steve Smith 18 receptions through three games, and Mario Manningham has played the best of all three.

Advantage K.O. Giants The Bears are not special at the WR position, except for on the special teams units where Knox and Hester are dangerous return man. Now both Knox and Hester can blow straight past the cornerbacks for big plays, but they are not complete WR like Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham can be and Earl Bennet is not in the same class as Steve Smith.

Tight Ends.

Greg Olson vs Kevin Boss. Let’s take a look. Greg Olson is a former first round pick out of the “U” who has an excellent reputation as a pass catcher. I think his reputation has not matched his N.F.L. production yet, but that could change this year. (Considering he has never passed 700 yards receiving although he did have 8 TD catches last year). Even though Martz Teams “don’t throw to the wr” Olson is third on the team in catches (Matt Forte, then Johnny Knox then Olson). He has 10 catches for a 140 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Olson is very talented and is a pretty good blocker, but he’s not eilte.

But neither is Kevin Boss. Boss is a fan favorite and a very good all around tight end. He may be a better All around TE (blocking included) than Greg Olson because Boss is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league.

Desmond Clark has 1 reception for 12 yards, while the Giants are starting to find more plays for Travis Beckum, unfortuantely for Beckum the two biggest plays he had this season were called back on penalties by other Giants players. Still Beckum is starting to emerge as a pretty good pass catching Tight End (becuase he is).

Bear Pascoe is a replaceable blocking Tight End.

Advantage: Giants (judges decision). I’ve made it clear I’m not in love with Kevin Boss catching ability like most Giants fans, but he is a good all around player and I don’t think Greg Olson is elite. Sure, he’s the better pass catcher and route runner, but Boss is an excellent blocking tight end who has a 100 yards receiving this year already in one less game than Olson. Also, even though the stats don’t show it yet Beckum has 7 catches, but like I said his two biggest catches were negated by Giants stupidity. I think the Giants depth at the position is slightly better than the Bears and Boss is the superior blocker so ever so slight advantage to the G-men.

OL

The Giants have five OL and Shawn Andrews as depth, but are not playing well at all. Eli Manning is running for his life.

Unfortuantely for the Bears, they are in the same position. Former first round pick Chris Williams is hurting. The rest of the bunch is a no name brand of linemen. On top of that their top running back is averaging 2.3 yards per carry and Jay Cutler has been sacked 9 times.

Advantage K.O. Giants. As bad as the Giants OL has played this season they are still a much better group than Da Bears Offensive linemen.

Defensive Linemen.

The Giants have the best name brand of defensive linemen in the league. They are probably the highest paid Defensive linemen in the league because all of their players make good money (except linval Joseph and Dave Tollefson). Canty, Tuck, Osi, Bernard, JPP all make pretty good money. And the other Mathias Kiwianuka is proving right now that he will also be making good money very soon.

Unfortauntely for the Giants that has NOT translated into production basically since the middle to end of 2008.

Justin Tuck is a DOMINANT Defensive End in the RUN GAME. That’s what Justin Tuck has been minimized to a very good run stuffing defensive end. After having 12 sacks in 2008 Tuck has mustered up six sacks in his last 19 games. He also didn’t have a FULL sack in any of the previous five games. That means Justin Tuck has 6.5 sacks in his last 24 Games. He is an elite run stuffing Defensive end. Seriously, watch the games. He makes many plays in the run game, but few in the passing game, basically none.

Osi Umeinyora has not been the same either. He was fairly productive last year, but has only three more tackles than JPP who has barely stepped on the field this year and only 1 sack.

The only Dlinemen playing worth anything is Mathias Kiwanuka who wants a new contract and has racked up four sacks, 11 tackles, and forced a fumble.

Chris Canty is doing O.K. in run support. Joseph hasn’t stepped on the field. Bernard was great in preseason but didn’t even dress for a game and doesn’t have a registered tackle this season.

Yuck, Yuck, Yuck.

Now onto the Bears dline….well they are not better.

Julius Pepper has 1 sack. Tommie Harris has been benched and the Bears have two sacks ON THE SEASON. Peppers is the only one dlinemen with even one.

Advantage K.O. Giants. I want to give the edge to every team the Giants play the rest of the season until their Dlinemen prove something, but I can’t just do this on principle. There is a reason the Bears went out to get Julius Peppers their dilnemen aren’t worth much. Tommie Harris is one of the best interior Pass rushing DT in the game, but he’s not right at the moment and is listed as the third DT on the depth chart. We think our Dline has played bad but the Bears Dline has registered one sack in three games. I’m not sure how they are winning.

Linebackers.

Yawn. Should I even go further.

Mike Tyson size K.O. to Da Bears. Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher vs Jonathan Goff, Michael Boley, Keith Bulluck that could be the end of my analysis and everyone would understand.

So it will be.

Secondary

The Giants have extraordinary TALENT in the secondary, but that doesn’t always equate to success. The Giants secondary has three INT this year and none in the past two games. They have a ton of former first round and second round picks, but they haven’t done much on the season.

I think a large part of that is spotty pass rush, but still. Not terribly productive. TT, Rolle, and Phillips have been great in run support. The Bears have been in the same position. They have three INT by their secondary and are hurting at safety. The Bears are 28th against the pass this season.

Advantage T.K.O Giants. Guess where the Giants rank in pass yards given up per game this year? 4th.  Didn’t know that did you. (now I know a part of this has to do with they are facing a lot of short fields, but they are playing reasonably well in the secondary this year if they could get some help from the Dline and linebackers I think they would look like the 4th best secondary in the league).

Special Teams.

Devin Hester and Johnny Knox are two of the fastest players in the league who have racked up touchdowns in the return game. Darius Reynaud hasn’t done anything (but the blocking has been god-awful too). Matt Dodge doesn’t look N.F.L. Quality yet (I think most of that is nerves) and the rest of the Special teams play has been atrocious.

The Bears are a very good special teams, team. Accurate kicker. Good punter. Great reutners. Above average to very good coverage teams. They can play special teams.

The Giants can not.

Advantage K.O. Bears. The Giants could easily, nay are likely to lose this game on Special teams if they lose this game. Excellent, excellent special teams units play this weekend (something us Gmen fans haven’t seen in forever).

Coaching

Lovie Smith has had as many tough years as he has had successful years. Even though he was one game away from being the first black coach to ever win a superbowl. Coughlin has been successful throughout his N.F.L. career (not Hall of fame great, but a good coach). Now, Lovie Smith, in my opinion has not had nearly the talent the Giants have had, especially at the Quarterback position and Smith has done a pretty good job. I’d like to see what Smith could do with a good roster (like in Dallas…well not Dallas, Houston).

Advantage: T.K.O. Giants Almost won a rin and Superbowl Winning Coach are in very different categories.


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7 Responses to “Bear of a Matchup (Optimism for the Giants?)”

  1. royhobbs7 says:

    Great analysis. But that’s what it is: ANALYSIS. The Giants will lose to the Bears this week due to special teams and the inability to defend against the pass to Olsen and to Forte as well as the inability to contain their pass rushing lanes (as Cutler will kill them).

    No, I am not a Bears’ fan; I’m a diehard Giants fan (for 50 years) and do not believe in this team at present.

  2. Chris says:

    All the alleged “advantages” at this point are virtually meaningless. The G-Men are now the type of team that finds a way to lose. Key breakdowns at critical moments, penalties, etc. If they win this and the next with discipline, I’ll be a believer again. But this situation is eerily like the ’70’s teams that drove me crazy. Long live Joe Pisarcik!

  3. Craig says:

    There’s a lot of flaws in your analysis, but a lot of them are just opinion related…no biggee. But the D-line analysis I have to point out why the Bears only have 1 sack. The stats are hard to find, but there’s been a ton of holding penalties called on the guys matched up with Peppers, which are just as good as sacks. Not to mention the false start penalties that he creates.

    There’s a lot of things that the Bears defense does that don’t show up in the stats. They hit hard, and they dig out the football as good as any team in the league.

    • Craig, Juluis Peppers is a very good football player especially when he’s motivated. The only other Marquee player on the Bears Dline is Tommie Harris who is not playing much this year becuase he is in Lovie Smith’s doghouse.

      What the Bears defense does do well is play together, create turnovers, swarm to the ball, and communicate.

      As a unit they are playing better than the Giants as individual parts, I think the Giants have more talent.

      But great talent doesn’t always equal great success

  4. Andrew Ilnicki says:

    TE and RB over the middle, that’s what I’m worried about too.

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