In a turn of events oddly reminiscent of the winning streak that led to a Super Bowl victory a few years prior, the New York Giants have once again become the road warriors.
They have been, just as they were before, considered the underdog in this playoff series. Everyone counted them out against the Falcons last week, yet somehow they managed to rally their forces and shut down Atlanta. This Sunday they once again managed to shut down the bumbling Green Bay Packers who, just a few weeks ago, seemed destined for Super Bowl greatness and an immaculate season record.
History has proven that this Giants team tends to play better under pressure–when their backs are up against the wall and they need to prove themselves. On the contrary, when they are the favorite we tend to see their lazy, complacent side surface to tragic effect. Once again, they are the underdogs against the Niners going into this Sunday’s game and we’re expecting an astounding performance. They need to, and will, prove everyone wrong.
Just like a few years back, the Giants are getting hot at the most crucial point of the season. Their run game has been explosive and dynamic, getting stronger in intensity each game. Between Bradshaw and Jacobs, if the Giants are able to rush for more than 150 yards on Sunday the game will most likely go in their favor. Their run game sets up play action passes and also takes a great deal of pressure off Eli Manning.
As soon as Eli feels the slightest bit of pressure his arm becomes inaccurate and he starts throwing interceptions. The run game will need to be present and efficient on Sunday. Unfortunately, San Francisco’s defense is best at stopping the run, which could be problematic for the Giants. The Giants will need to alter their running game plan.
The 49ers defense is indeed strong, as their front 4 are some of the most vivacious defensive players in the league–and we can never underestimate the effect Patrick Willis can have in a game. Expect this defense to try to overwhelm the line and take down Eli just as they did against Drew Brees and the Saints.
The Niners are sure to get the game going with a myriad of blitz packages in an attempt to unsettle Eli early on. If Eli is able to burn them off the bat, they will be forced to reconsider their whole defensive scheme. With Hakim Nicks speed and ability to outpace most corners, we anticipate Eli capitalizing on many one on one mismatches with Hakim.
While on paper the Giants defense seems inferior, we have seen that critics haven’t been able to accurately predict the depth of ability of this Giants team. The Giants defense is equal in ability to, if not better than San Francisco. Their pass rush with Tuck, Osi, JPP, and Kamniku can throw off even the most confident, elite quarterbacks–just like they manhandled Aaron Rodgers last night.
Alex Smith certainly isn’t a quarterback of Elite capability, so we believe that if these front 4 can get enough pressure on him and shut down the run, this game is already over.
This will be an old fashioned, 80s style defensive based game. Expect both defenses to be brutal and attack on every single possession. We give the edge to the Giants due to a far superior set of receivers who can beat any corners one on one when Eli is hot at the right time.
Our prediction- Giants 14 Niners 10. It will be a close game and the key factor will be the strength of their offenses versus their almost equally matched defenses. We give Eli the edge, as he has been to the big game before and Alex Smith still lacks playoff experience.
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