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Are the Giants Overrated?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ivanvamp, Jan 28, 2012.

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  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Let's compare their performance over the entire regular season versus their last five games. I'm wondering if their last five games represents their true level or if they're just playing way above their heads. (RS=regular season; LF=last five)

    PPG
    - RS: 24.6
    - LF: 28.2

    YPG
    - RS: 385.0
    - LF: 396.6

    PPGA
    - RS: 25.0
    - LF: 13.4

    YPGA
    - RS: 376.4
    - LF: 318.8

    Turnovers
    - RS: +7 (0.44/g)
    - LF: +9 (1.80/g)

    Scoring Margin
    - RS: -0.4/g
    - LF: +14.8/g

    So here's how much better the Giants are playing over their last five than they did the entire regular season (which includes the first two games in their "last five" hot streak):

    Each number is compared to their regular season number *per game*:
    Scoring Margin: +15.2
    Points Scored: +3.6
    Points Allowed: +11.6 (they've given up 11.6 fewer points per game)
    Yards gained: +11.6
    Yards allowed: +57.6 (they've given up 57.6 fewer yards per game)
    Yardage Margin: +69.2
    Turnover Margin: +1.36


    Now I ask you: is this team really that much better than their regular season team? Is there an example of a team playing so mediocre in the regular season and so dominant in the postseason? Even the 2007 Giants didn't have such a disparity. Here were their numbers in 2007 - same thing: regular season and then their last 5 prior to the Super Bowl:

    PPG
    - RS: 23.3
    - LF: 28.2

    YPG
    - RS: 331.4
    - LF: 316.6

    PPGA
    - RS: 21.9
    - LF: 22.0

    YPGA
    - RS: 305.0
    - LF: 301.0

    Turnovers
    - RS: +9 (0.56/g)
    - LF: +4 (0.80/g)

    Scoring Margin
    - RS: +1.4/g
    - LF: +6.2/g

    So they improved during their last 5 games prior to the Super Bowl, and they played great against the Patriots, but even their game against the Patriots was way better than what they had done their previous five games, so that was the stunner of all stunners, really. CHFF says it was the biggest true upset in SB history, and they're probably right.

    Here is their 2011 team compared with their 2007 team. 2011 team numbers are first, with 2007 team numbers following:

    Scoring Margin: +15.2; +4.8
    Points Scored: +3.6; +4.9
    Points Allowed: +11.6; -0.1
    Yards gained: +11.6; +14.8
    Yards allowed: +57.6; +4.0
    Yardage Margin: +69.2; +18.8
    Turnover Margin: +1.36; +0.24

    So the 2007 playoff team was essentially not a whole lot different from their regular season team. Improved, for sure, which is to be expected, since they were on a pretty nice run to end the year. But it wasn't an insane difference.

    But this Giants team is playing SO far above their season numbers it really makes you wonder. Is this their true level?

    If it is, what is the difference between them now and them during the regular season? I see two keys:

    (1) Their defensive line is fully healthy. Umenyiora missed 7 games during the season, specifically their first 3 and then games 12-15. He returned for their 16th game and has been healthy and playing well since then (5.5 sacks over his last 5 games). Other guys were playing a bit banged up, but Umenyiora is the key. Here are the games played for their D-line:

    Umenyiora: 9 (already went over his situation)
    Tuck: 12 (missed games 1, 4, 5, 6)
    Pierre-Paul: 16
    Canty: 16
    Joseph: 16
    Bernard: 16
    Tollefson: 16

    Really, the only DL that they can say is now healthy and making a difference is Umenyiora, who, admittedly, has been tremendous since returning in week 17. Guy is a great, great player when healthy, which is now is. But it is a bit of a myth that the Giants were all beat up all year long. Other than Umenyiora, the other key defensive guys that have missed a lot of games are:

    Blackburn: 5 games played (missed games 1-11)
    Amukamara: 7 games played (missed games 1-9)

    That's it. So really, is Umenyiora *that* much of a difference-maker? Remember, we're talking about a HUGE improvement by the Giants across the board in their last five games. Can Osi's presence be responsible for that?

    (2) Turnovers. This, really, is the biggest thing. Look at their turnover margin. They are nearly +2 per game during their hot streak. Turnover differential is the single most important factor in winning games (which makes it so amazing that the Pats won despite being -2 in the turnover department last week). The Giants are making big plays...they did it to NE during the regular season too (where they were +2 that day too).

    The problem is that the Pats - especially Brady - have been turnover prone during the playoffs in recent years (I've detailed this in other posts). So a team that's getting a lot of turnovers vs. a team that's been turning it over a lot in the postseason probably is not an ideal matchup for us.

    But consider this: the Giants were +2 in turnovers vs. the Pats during the regular season and needed a last-second score to win. The Ravens were +2 in turnovers vs. the Pats in the playoffs and lost. The Broncos were +1 in turnovers vs. the Pats in the playoffs and lost by 35. The Giants were +2 in turnovers to SF and needed every one of them to win by 3 in overtime.

    In other words, the Patriots have survived some games where they have been in the negative in terms of turnover margin. I think they can survive being -1 in the Super Bowl, but not -2 or more.

    Here's my conclusion: the Giants are playing WAY over their heads lately. There is no way this team is as good as their recent streak indicates, or else they'd be an historically great team. They are good, but they're so far outperforming their regular season stats with really not a lot of changes to their team (basically Umenyiora) that it seems unlikely that they'll keep that up in the Super Bowl. The key is turnovers. If the Pats can stay even in the turnover battle, they stand a very good chance of winning.
     
  2. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I think it is a combination of both the Giants playing better than they had been, and their opponents playing worse. I give them credit for their improvement, but they have also been the beneficiary of some poor performances by their opposition.

    For example: the Packers were simply off on an unusually large number of plays. Passes behind wide open receivers, a higher than usual number of drops; that's something you haven't seen from them all season. And while Green Bay's defense has been mediocre all year, there was no excuse for them to not be able to defend on that hail mary just before halftime.

    In the 49ers game give the Giants credit for forcing one turnover, but the other was a completely unforced error; that was more on SF not executing than on NYG creating the turnover.


    The Pats have been helped out by their opponents gaffes as well, but not to the extent that the Giants have. While I do expect the Patriots to turn the ball over once, I don't expect them to execute as poorly as the 49ers and Packers did; I think that is something that many 'experts' are overlooking in their analysis.
     
  3. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    According to the media, the only team in the NFL that is over-rated is the Patriots. If the Giants were the Arizona Giants or the Minnesota Giants, this team would be a 10-point underdog to New England. They were lucky to get out of SF and have done nothing to impress me so far. Their QB is net great, he's just good. The media market for NY is huge and that's what's driving the insane talk of HOF status for Eli. I think the spread is being influenced by all the money coming out of NY, too. The idea that, because they committed the greatest upset in SB history in 2007, they will do it again this time is also clouding the truth in the media. I have yet to hear one single mediot even mention that the Pats are the hottest team in the NFL on a ten-game winning streak, and yet the Giants are the hottest team in the league?

    Not buying it.
     
  4. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Yep. The Packers had 8 dropped passes....a total anomaly for that high-powered offensive machine.

    During the regular season, the 49ers and Packers were #1 and #2 in the league, respectively, at taking care of the ball. The 49ers averaged 0.7 TO per game, and the Packers 1.1 TO per game.

    In their games against the Giants, the 49ers turned it over twice (one unforced), and the Packers turned it over 4 times. So you're right - the Giants are playing great football, but my goodness...those other teams played *so* poorly relative to their own normal level.

    And that's what happens...that's how inferior teams win. They play above their level and you play below it. That happens, you lose.
     
  5. Nunchucks

    Nunchucks In the Starting Line-Up

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    Giants have battled injuries all year and got healthy for the playoffs, simple as that.
     
  6. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    The Pats have battled injuries all year long too. I already gave the games played stats. Tuck missed some games early. Blackburn and Amukamara have been playing recently after missing most of the year. But neither of them is great. Only Osi is the difference-maker that missed a bunch of games but now has been healthy during this streak.

    There's no way that their improved health is what accounts for their dramatic improvement. No way. Unless we're saying that Osi Umenyiora really is that great of a player....which he may be.
     
  7. Gronkandez

    Gronkandez 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I didn't real the whole OP, but I think it's pretty simple. They smoked the defending champion, 15-1 Packers in Lambeau. It wasn't even as close as the score would indicate due to bad calls. Then won again, on the road, vs a very well balance 49ers team in a dog fight.

    I think the better question is, are the Giants due for a regression? Perhaps, but to suggest they are overrated would be to question the validity of their last two wins IMO.
     
  8. Tunescribe

    Tunescribe PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #61 Jersey

    The Giants beat the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs. That should dispel any "overrated" claims.
     
  9. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Maybe you should read the whole original post. No, I'm not being snarky. I say that because it's crystal clear that the Giants are playing tremendous football right now. The question is whether this is the "real" Giants or whether they're playing over their heads.

    For example, take the Packers game. They thoroughly outplayed Green Bay, no question. But are the Giants 17 points better than Green Bay? No way. In order to beat them, they got 8 dropped passes from normally sure-handed GB, and they also got 4 turnovers from the #2 ball-security team in the league. They also got a game-changing 37-yard hail mary TD pass at the end of the first half.

    Will they get such a hail mary again? Probably - heck, they friggin' did it to the Pats in SB 42 (not on the last play of the game, but that Tyree play was a hail mary for sure) - but seriously, that's so unlikely. Will they get 4 turnovers from a quality ball-security team again? They might, but they can't count on it. Will the Pats drop 8 passes? Geez, I hope not.

    A lot of crazy things happened in that GB-NY game that allowed the Giants to win. Yes, they played very well, but they could play that game a hundred times and not have that crazy kind of stuff happen again like that.
     
  10. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    Don't misunderstand my post: The Giants are excellent. I have said in other threads that I think we need to expect that this Giants' team is really playing at this level, so the Pats better be prepared for a war. There is no question the Giants can win this game. I'm just wondering if they're really *THIS* good - their numbers the last 5 games are just SO off the charts better than what they were during the regular season, with no real explanation other than Osi is back and they're getting a lot of turnovers that they weren't getting during the season.
     
  11. wistahpatsfan

    wistahpatsfan Pro Bowl Player

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    #75 Jersey

    I don't think you should blame the Giants for winning the last two games, but at the same time, you can't elevate them to "Super Bowl Champion" status and talk about their QB being in the Hall of Fame. That talk belongs with the Patriots who actually have a HOF QB having one of his best years on a team that has won ten straight NFL games- something that only a couple of teams put together this year...

    At the end of November, the Giants had lost three straight and the Cowboys were alone atop the NFC East. There was talk, after New England was already into this winning streak, that the Cowboys were one of the hottest teams in the NFL.

    Again, maybe the question should be "Why are the Patriots so under-rated?"
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  12. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

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    They are probably better then their 9-7 record, but they are certainly not one of the best teams in the NFC.

    Green Bay is better then them. Not on that one day obviously, but they just are. It's not like they executed a brilliant game plan or anything. GB just sucked hard and they played great. NO is prolly better to. SF, who I thought was an overrated team is possibly a little better.

    They are a good team playing great. They will have to play a great game to beat us. I don't think they can beat us if they play just good (unless we play poor). If they play poor. No chance.

    Us, on the other hand, I think we could win a game without playing great. If we play poor, we'll lose. If we play great...... I think the rout will be on. I can't see any scenario where they will rout us.

    We are a better team at our baseline then they are.
     
  13. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Eli is a microcosm of this entire, excellent, OP.

    He didn't have a very good season. 29 TD, 16 INT is not good. In the second half of the season that dropped to 14 TD, 10 INT. Not impressive at all. His QB rating dropped every month of the regular season.

    Then, suddenly, he became a stud in the playoffs with 8 TD and 1 INT. I can't answer why as the only playoff game I watched was the 49ers game - in which Eli gave them 2 to 3 INT chances that they didn't take advantage of. Taking a quick look at their playoff opponents, Atlanta, GB, SF are 17th, 27th and 10th respectively in yds/att defensively against the pass which is as good a stat as any. BTW Baltimore was 3rd and Denver was 20th.

    If someone is looking to boil it down to "it's as simple as that" - which it never is - SF was tied with us for 2nd/3rd most INT in the league and they didn't catch those that were thrown to them. That's the irony, GB is 1st, SF is 2nd/3rd in the league in INT and, yet, they didn't get them in the playoffs. SF had their chances, I didn't see the GB-NYG game. Eli will put some balls up for play and the Patriots need to catch them.

    One more stat :

    Offensively the Patriots are 2nd and the NYG are 3rd in YPA offensively and the teams are 29th and 22nd respectively defensively. So if they play to those numbers it will be a shootout and will likely come down to turnovers where the NYG are +7 and NE is +17. But in one game the sample size of the stats doesn't matter too much. One last thing, in the first 8 games Tommy threw 10 INT, in the last 8 he threw just 2 (regular season).
     
  14. TheComeback

    TheComeback 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    You guys are going to be in for a surprise when this game starts. The Giants are legitimate. I don't care what the record is. I expect it to go down to the wire.
     
  15. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp In the Starting Line-Up

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    I don't expect that you've read nearly everything I've posted the past week, as I've broken this matchup down a number of different ways. But, despite the title of this thread, I am on record as saying that this is going to be a one-possession game, played around 25 points each +/- three points, and it could absolutely go either way.

    The Giants are definitely legit. I don't think that the level they're playing at is their true level (how can it be? is their true level to get 4 turnovers from Green Bay every game?), but it doesn't have to be for them to win. They have a number of matchups that could cause the Patriots gigantic problems. Similarly, the Patriots have some advantages in other areas over the Giants.

    It's going to be one heck of a game.
     
  16. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    No-one is saying they aren't but Eli isn't the 8 TD/1 INT QB he has been in the playoffs. If we get no INT we have a serious, serious problem. His history says we'll get a couple if we play the ball and catch the ball.
     
  17. PatsFanSince74

    PatsFanSince74 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great analysis! This Board at its best. Thanks.

    Once again, a poster here does what the mediots who get paid megabucks are too lazy or incompetent or dumb to do themselves. If I were you, I'd watch for some local reporter who trolls this forum to steal it, as happened to me a couple of times.

    I have nothing substantive to add other than to say that, from your conclusion, here's hoping they don't have "one more game" left in them at the "new level" and revert to the "old level" next week.

    What I can add of a less substantive nature from the perspective of someone living in Manhattan is that the Giants and their fans are brimming with hubristic over confidence. Personally, I think they're heading for a big fall in eight days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  18. TheComeback

    TheComeback 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    Wasn't talking about you ivan.
     
  19. Metaphors

    Metaphors In the Starting Line-Up

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    Blackburn wasn't injured, he was just unemployed until Thanksgiving. Not only did the Giants decline to give him a roster spot out of camp, every other team did as well.

    The Giants have burned through Goff/Herzlich and Greg Jones (the guy they wanted to take the MLB job) was so bad that they brought back Blackburn (ST guy and spot starter) out of desperation.

    This is the key for the game. The Giants went light for the game in November and the Pats countered with a heavy set featuring Solder at TE (Vollmer was active). The Pats just didn't execute on drives in the first half:
    - Got 4 yds on 3rd-n-5
    - Failed to convert on 3rd-n-1
    - Brady tipped interception after 54 yard drive
    - Bad snap on 3rd-n-9
    - 12 men in huddle on 3rd-n-2
    - Missed FG after 83 yard drive to end half

    The Giants certainly were part of the reason for Pats struggles, but there were an inordinate amount of uncharacteristic bad plays by the Pats that didn't have anything to do with the Giants.

    I expect the Pats do have a similar approach next Sunday. If the Giants show a back 7 with only Kiwanuka above 230 lbs, put Solder at TE and give them a steady diet of run and play action. If Blackburn comes in to stabilize the middle, spread them out and attack the middle with the TEs, Welker and dumpoffs to the RB. Avoid penalties that get them off schedule and convert short yardage plays and the Pats should be able to dictate the flow of the game.
     
  20. Gronkandez

    Gronkandez 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    What about the Jennings fumble botched call and the phantom helmet-to-helmet hit on Rogers? I believe both drives ended up in TD's for GB, so I would say 'yes' the NYG were easily two TD's better than the Packers on that day. In my mind it doesn't really matter what would happen if they played 99 more times.

    The points you make are probably valid, and are probably the same reason LV has the Pats as favorites. I just don't like taking that view b/c opposing fans made similar arguments against the Pats in the early 2000's. "The better team didn't win." "The Pats wouldn't win if they played again" etc...
     
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