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The Passing Game: Who has the edge?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ivanvamp, Feb 2, 2012.

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  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp Rookie

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    A lot has been written the past two weeks about the Pats' passing game vs. the Giants' pass D, and the Giants' passing game vs. the Pats' pass D. Which team has the edge in the passing game?

    Usually it is framed thusly: Pats' TEs vs. NYG' WR. Which unit is stronger? Well, that's a false and useless comparison because, last time I checked, the Pats' WR and Giants' TE also play the game.

    First, let's look at who has the better pass defense.

    NE finished #31 in the league in pass yards allowed per game at 294. But the Giants were not too far ahead of them, ranking #29 in the league allowing 255 yards per game.

    Both teams allowed an identical 86.1 passer rating by opposing QBs.

    NY allowed more passing TD (28) than NE did (26). NE had more INT (23) than NY did (20). NY had more sacks for more yards (48-335) than NE did (40-274). When all is said and done, the two pass defenses are essentially equivalent, something not often mentioned by the media in the SB lead-up.

    After a dismal first 4 games of the season, where the Pats' D averaged 369 yards per game allowed, they really clamped down (relatively speaking). Their last 12 regular season games they allowed just 269 passing yards per game. In the playoffs, that number dropped to 195 per game. Over their last 14 games, following that awful 4 game start, they have allowed 258.4 yards per game.

    Now, what about the Giants? They allowed an average of 255 yards per game over the course of the season. During their amazing 5-game stretch, they are allowing 215.8 yards per game. So essentially, we still see the 40-yd per game spread that existed between the two pass defenses.

    Overall pass defense edge: NYG, but only slightly.

    But what about pass *offense*? The Giants feature a big-time QB in Eli, and three very good receivers in Cruz, Nicks, and Manningham. Their TE can catch but they aren't big-time play makers. Their RB are more productive receiving than NE's running backs are. The Patriots, meanwhile, feature the best TE in the league, another pro-bowl level TE, a WR that led the league in receptions, and as their #4 receiving option, a player who, in his two Super Bowl appearances, is #2 all-time in receptions (21) and has won a SB MVP. Here's a comparison between each team's top 4 receivers:

    NYG
    Cruz: 80 rec, 1536 yds, 18.7 ypc, 9 td
    Nicks: 72 rec, 1192 yds, 15.7 ypc, 7 td
    Manningham: 39 rec, 523 yds, 13.4 ypc, 4 td
    Ballard: 38 rec, 604 yds, 15.9 ypc, 4 td

    NE
    Welker: 122 rec, 1569 yds, 12.9 ypc, 9 td
    Gronkowski: 90 rec, 1327 yds, 14.7 ypc, 17 td
    Hernandez: 79 rec, 910 yds, 11.5 ypc, 7 td
    Branch: 51 rec, 702 yds, 13.8 ypc, 5 td

    When these two groups are compared, it's a very one-sided comparison. The Pats' foursome clearly is more dominant in almost every way (ypc being the one area they're not) versus the Giants' key receivers. The media is so focused on the Patriots' TEs that they are forgetting that Welker led the league in receptions, and in the last SB between these teams, Welker had 11 rec for 103 yds. He has played in 6 playoff games now, and has never had fewer than 6 receptions for 53 yards. He is going to contribute a great deal, even if he doesn't "go off".

    So while the Giants' pass offense clearly has the advantage over NE's pass defense, similarly - perhaps even more so - the Pats' pass offense has the advantage over the Giants' pass defense.
  2. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers Rookie

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    Not that they are experts or anything, but I'll use the example of Mike & Mike that I am watching right now. The comment was that of the 30 or so people they have spoken to both on and off the record, every one of them thinks the Giants will win; Greenberg says when he looks at the matchups the Giants have the advantage in every case.

    Now I'm not sure how deep he is looking at each matchup, but how can anyone say the Giants secondary has the advantage over the Pats players that will be catching the ball (TE/WR)? Presumably he - and many others - are assuming the combination of the Giants pass rush and Gronkowski's injury will make the Pats offense as effective as the Rams was this year.

    In reality the Pats OL versus the Giants DL is probably a wash. The Pats WR/TE versus the Giants coverage is a huge advantage for the Patriots. On the other side of the ball I would give the Pats DL versus the Giants OL as an advantage to the Pats, while the Giants WR/TE get the nod over the Pats secondary.

    The superficial analysis by the media and many NFL fans says the Giants have the advantage, but if you dig just a little bit deeper it is easy to see that it is at least even, if not at least slight advantage to the Patriots - even when you take Gronkowski's ankle into consideration.
  3. Funktopus

    Funktopus Rookie

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    I know from reading your threads that you like researching stats. Would you be willing to investigate NY and NE offensive productivity vs like opponents this year. Giants and Pats had many common opponents this year - buf, mia, was, phi, dal and new jersey.
  4. IllegalContact

    IllegalContact On the Roster

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    the pats....because the giants are going to forget about welker, branch and woodhead
  5. BelichickFan

    BelichickFan B.O. = Fugazi PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #24 Jersey

    Two comments :

    1) Unfortunately the Gronk situation puts a pall on the passing numbers, not knowing how close to "Gronk" he will be makes it tough to envision how good our passing game will or won't be.

    2) You skimmed over the QB a little too fast for me. Eli had a mediocre 29/16 TD/INT this season and a less than mediocre 14/10 TD/INT over the last 8 games of the regular season. In those last 8 games Brady's TD/INT was 19/2. What has saved Eli is an 8/1 TD/INT in the playoffs - aided by two dropped INT last week, not sure about the two weeks before that. Eli WILL throw 2-3 balls that can be picked off and we have to catch them.
  6. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp Rookie

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    Because the AFCE and NFCE played each other, there were 9 games where the Giants and Pats played a common opponent. Each played their own divisional rivals twice (=6 divisional games) plus the three non-Giants/Pats teams in the opposite division. So let's leave the Pats and Giants out of this for a moment in terms of their head-to-head and go with the 9 "common" opponents. Here was the statistical data for those 9 common opponents: Dal, Was, Phi, Buf, Mia, NYJ.. (just offensive production only, since that's what you asked for):

    Patriots
    at Mia (W, 38-24): 38 pts, 622 yds, 516 pass, 106 rush, 1 TO
    vs Mia (W, 27-24): 27 pts, 400 yds, 281 pass, 119 rush, 0 TO
    - Mia AVG (2-0): 32.5 pts, 511 yds, 398.5 pass, 112.5 rush, 0.5 TO
    at Buf (L, 34-31): 31 pts, 495 yds, 387 pass, 108 rush, 4 TO
    vs Buf (W, 49-21): 49 pts, 480 yds, 432 pass, 138 rush, 1 TO
    - Buf AVG (1-1): 40.0 pts, 487.5 yds, 409.5 pass, 123 rush, 2.5 TO
    at NYJ (W, 37-16): 37 pts, 389 yds, 329 pass, 60 rush, 0 TO
    vs NYJ (W, 30-21): 30 pts, 446 yds, 294 pass, 152 rush, 1 TO
    - NYJ AVG (2-0): 33.5 pts, 417.5 yds, 311.5 pass, 106 rush, 0.5 TO
    at Phi (W, 38-20): 38 pts, 457 yds, 353 pass, 104 rush, 0 TO
    at Was (W, 34-27): 34 pts, 431 yds, 352 pass, 79 rush, 1 TO
    vs Dal (W, 20-16): 20 pts, 371 yds, 270 pass, 101 rush, 4 TO

    8-1 record, AVG GAME: 33.8 pts, 454.6 yds, 357.1 pass, 107.4 rush, 1.3 TO

    Giants
    vs Mia (W, 20-17): 20 pts, 402 yds, 344 pass, 58 rush, 2 TO
    at NYJ (W, 29-14): 29 pts, 332 yds, 217 pass, 115 rush, 1 TO
    vs Buf (W, 27-24): 27 pts, 414 yds, 292 pass, 122 rush, 0 TO
    at Phi (W, 29-16): 29 pts, 334 yds, 232 pass, 102 rush, 0 TO
    vs Phi (L, 17-10): 10 pts, 278 yds, 249 pass, 29 rush, 2 TO
    - Phi AVG (1-1): 19.5 pts, 306 yds, 240.5 pass, 65.5 rush, 1 TO
    at Was (L, 28-14): 14 pts, 315 yds, 240 pass, 75 rush, 1 TO
    vs Was (L, 23-10): 10 pts, 324 yds, 233 pass, 91 rush, 3 TO
    - Wash AVG (0-2): 12 pts, 319.5 yds, 236.5 pass, 83 rush, 2 TO
    at Dal (W, 37-34): 37 pts, 510 yds, 400 pass, 110 rush, 1 TO
    vs Dal (W, 31-14): 31 pts, 437 yds, 331 pass, 106 rush, 0 TO
    - Dal AVG (2-0): 34 pts, 473.5 yds, 365.5 pass, 108 rush, 0.5 TO

    6-3 record, AVG GAME: 23.0 pts, 371.8 yds, 282.0 pass, 89.8 rush, 1.2 TO

    So put those lines together:

    NE (8-1): 33.8 pts, 454.6 yds, 357.1 pass, 107.4 rush, 1.3 TO
    NY (6-3): 23.0 pts, 371.8 yds, 282.0 pass, 89.8 rush, 1.2 TO

    Against common opponents the Patriots were by FAR the better team over the Giants.

    Of course, there is that one small matter of head-to-head, which the Giants won. But there you go.
  7. Fball

    Fball Rookie

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    This game is much more about matchups than about regular season stat comparisons.

    The Giants don't really cover TE's well; the Pats don't really cover wideouts well. Both Brady & Manning should be able to exploit those matchups, imo.

    Could be a track meet - the opposite of 2007...
  8. Funktopus

    Funktopus Rookie

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    Thanks for doing that. So much for the pats "easy schedule" arguments.
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