Giants Need to Run Effectively, Have a Chance
48 hours. It might be good that I'm exhausted, because I can hardly contain myself otherwise. But just when you thought the talking was done, we are rejoined by ETVal from SB Nation's New York Giants blog, Big Blue View with five more questions on Super Bowl XLII.
tommasse: With Tom Brady's ankle possibly an issue, will the Giants throw the kitchen sink at him, or try to go one-on-one with their D linemen and drop the rest into coverage?
ETVal: The Giants have a reputation as being blitz-happy, but as the season has progressed defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has put more and more faith in the front four. The Giants will try with four, but if they have to blitz you will see lots of creative stuff. You'll see corners, you'll see safeties, you'll see two blitzers hitting the same gap. To me, the Osi Umenyiora-Matt Light matchup is critical. Light got the best of that the first time, and this time Umenyiora has to make an impact on the game.
tommasse: Do you think Randy Moss's production dropoff in the playoffs is due to opposing defenses or his personal issues, and, based on that, how do you think Tom Coughlin's staff will play him?
ETVal: I think the Giants will play him the way they have played pretty much everybody else. They'll play mostly man-to-man press coverage, put somebody in his face (probably Sam Madison), try like hell to pressure Brady and hope for the best. As for Moss's production dropoff, I don't read anything into it at all. He's just as likely to catch 10 passes Sunday as he is 2.
tommasse: Eli Manning has played efficiently, but the running game seems to be the foundation on which the offense is built. Is it paramount to "establish the ground game" or can the Giants trust Manning to win it with his arm?
ETVal: The Giants can trust Manning, but I don't think they can win if they can't run the ball at least somewhat effectively. The Giants don't win when they throw 50 times -- they win when they have balance, when they can use play-action, when there is some element of suspense to what they will do. Brandon Jacobs is a load, but I am anxious to see if Ahmad Bradshaw can have an impact on this game. He did not play the first time the Giants and Pats met, and he has become a huge part of the Giants' offense.
tommasse: Which coaching staff gives their team the bigger advantage? Which will make the most important halftime adjustments?
ETVal: There was a time -- not that long ago -- I would have laughed at that question. Not anymore, though. What Bill Belichick and his staff can do is well-documented, and they are terrific. The Giants, though, are also well-coached. Defensively, Spagnuolo has been brilliant. Time and time again this season the Giants defense has been pushed around early in games, only to see Spags change tactics and have the defense dominate the remaining part of the game. Offensively, Eli Manning and offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride seem to have reached a place where they are on the same page. The offensive game plans have been smart, especially recently, the play-calling has been excellent, and the shuffling of Bradshaw and Jacobs based on situations and who is running more effectively has been working.
tommasse: What would winning Sunday mean to Giants fans? Will it happen?
ETVal: It would mean a great many things. It would mean the Giants made history instead of becoming a footnote to it. It would means for the first time in several years New York fans will have something significant to hold over New England/Boston fans. It would mean we never again would have to debate whether the trade for Eli Manning was worthwhile -- we will have gotten our definitive answer. It would mean respect for a team that many people still look at and don't believe it deserves to be in this game. Will it happen? I don't know, but I'm pretty damn sure that as a Patriots fan you are wishing you were facing the Cowboys or the Packers this weekend. Those teams can't beat you, I believe. This Giants team can. My pick, going solely with my heart, is ... Giants 31, Patriots 27.
Thanks to ETVal. A worthy adversary, indeed. Make sure you drop by Big Blue View for my answers to ETVal's last five questions. Comment below.