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Giants are under the radar, but a legit superbowl contender

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Giants are under the radar, but a legit superbowl contender

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:29 pm

The Giants are certainly under the radar at the moment, but I think they are a genuine superbowl contender.

The running game is solid as is our passing game, our defense is very good and our special teams is improving. We are a balanced team on both sides of the ball.

The biggest aspect is that while our backups have done ok when needed, the Giants are getting healthier right at the business end of the season.

This team is playing with grit and determination as you would expect from Coughlin's team. More importantly this team is gaining momentum and has playoff experience.

NYG is my pick to represent the NFC in Arlingtom.
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Re: Giants are under the radar, but a legit superbowl contender

Post  Big_Pete on Sun Dec 12, 2010 7:31 pm

Here is an interesting article I found from ESPN.com


The Giants are a Super Bowl sleeper
Eli Manning has 17 picks, the special teams has been rough -- yet things are trending upEmailPrintComments30 By KC Joyner
ESPN Archive

There are seasons in which figuring out which team in a conference is going to make the Super Bowl is much like watching a classic Secretariat race -- it is clear to all who is going to win as soon the gates open up.

The 2010 season looks like it could be much more like a Zenyatta contest (that's the horse that won 19 straight races to start her career, with many of those coming when she started at the back of the pack and then charged ahead late in the race to claim the victory).

There are numerous NFL teams that might fit that last description, but the most apt is the New York Giants. They certainly aren't getting as much Super Bowl contender attention as a team tied for first place in the NFC East might be expected to get, but statistically speaking there are a number of reasons to think this team should be considered one of the title front runners.

Let's start with some of the basics. Check out the offensive statistical categories where Big Blue ranks in the top 10: total yards (fourth best), sacks allowed (first), rushing yards (sixth) and rushing yards per attempt (fourth).

Those provide evidence the Giants can move the ball. Now take a look at the areas that they rank in the top 10 on defense: passing yards allowed (second), passing yards per attempt allowed (sixth), sacks (tied for third), passer rating allowed (fifth), rushing yards allowed (seventh) and rushing yards per attempt allowed (tied for ninth).

Manning's 17 interceptions are the second most in the league, but eight of them came after the ball was either dropped by a receiver or tipped by a defender in coverage.

Add both up and it equals 10 major categories in which the Giants are among the league's best.

Impressive as the overall numbers are, the stats don't begin to shine until the context of how they were gained is reviewed.

For instance, the sacks and running game totals on offense have been garnered in spite of the Giants having had six different starting offensive line combinations. They have had three different left tackles, left guards and centers this season and have started the same five offensive linemen in three games in a row one time.

If that weren't enough, it has to be noted that New York head coach Tom Coughlin benched starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw because of Bradshaw's fumbling issues (six fumbles and five lost fumbles in the Giants first nine games). He did this despite having a backup runner in Brandon Jacobs, who caused a stir earlier in the year when he inadvertently tossed his helmet in the stands because of frustration over how his season was progressing. Some coaches might have put a player in the proverbial doghouse for that, but Coughlin knew how to handle it properly and thus gave his team a strong alternate option while Bradshaw gets a handle on ballhandling.

The Giants haven't been in much better shape at the wide receiver position. Up and coming star Hakeem Nicks has missed two games with a leg injury and was slowed with the injury in a third contest. Steve Smith, the other starter, has been out for four games with a pectoral injury.

Despite missing these core elements to their passing game, New York hasn't missed much of a beat. A lot of the credit has to go to backup wideout Mario Manningham. Manningham has gained 643 receiving/penalty yards this year on 68 targets for an impressive 9.5 yards per attempt (YPA). Of those passes, 30 have been vertical in nature (meaning they were thrown at least 11 yards downfield), and Manningham has an equally impressive 14.3 YPA on those aerials.

The Giants have also spent much of the season dealing with bad special teams play. They rank 29th in punt return average and 26th in punt return yard average allowed and are the only team to not place at least 10 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.

Bad as those sound, there is ample evidence those areas are turning around. Matt Dodge landed two kicks inside the Redskins 20 this past Sunday, and Devin Thomas blocked a Washington punt in the fourth quarter. In addition, kicker Lawrence Tynes, who started off the season missing three of his first six field goals, has now made 13 field goals in a row.

A final, but most important, reason the Giants fortunes could be looking up is Eli Manning. His 17 interceptions are the second most in the league, but eight of them came after the ball was either dropped by a receiver or tipped by a defender in coverage.

Those kinds of breaks can't go against New York forever. If they don't and if the offense gets even better once its injured offensive linemen and receivers find their way back into the starting lineup, there is every reason to believe this Giants squad could replicate the 2007 Giants and use a late season burst to find their way to the NFL equivalent of the winner's circle.

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