Squish the Fish
Now that the Bye week has come and gone, here are some relevant statistics:
1) The Giants’ record in the game before the bye week is 18-5.
2) The Giants’s record in games after the bye is 7-15, but with TC at the helm the record is a more impressive 5-1. There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.
The time off has given the G-Men the chance to recuperate, and get most of their injured personnel back. It has also given the coaching staff more time to make adjustments. The injuries have been discussed already, but it looks as if Justin Tuck will be back on the field. The Giants will need his presence if they are to have any chance at controlling their opponents’ rushing game. It looks as if Prince Amukamara will be getting on the field as well, although it looks as if the Patriots will be the first significant action that he will see. The Giants will need their Number 1 draft chocie to step up and perform, as this will allow the coaching staff to make shifts among their defensive backs with an eye to letting them play at their natural positions. By this we mean that Antrel Rolle gets to return to his safety position rather than play the nickel corner slot. The rest of the defensive unit looks to be fine.
On the offensive side of the ball, the rushing game is finally showing signs of life. For whatever reasons, what has typically been a strength for the Giants has been a cause for concern. The Giants looked to be getting this under control against the Bills, and the trend should continue against the Dolphins. The cause for concern here is that Brandon Jacobs gave an interview in which he stated (again) how unhappy he is with his role in the offense, and how he isn’t getting the ball enough. Strangely, Jacobs’ carries per game are actually up slightly, from 9.2 carries per game to 9.5 carries per game. The Giants will likely part with Brandon Jacobs after this season, as it will also give them some latitude with regards to salary cap movement, rather than pay the money for an extension. It also may offer the coaching staff the opportunity to get Da’Rell Scott some playing time to see what he can do.
Eli Manning is backing up his comments about his talent level. As the old saying goes, yer not braggin’ if you can do it. The “chemistry” that is so often discussed appears to finally be emerging. Passing games are based on timing. The chaos that occurs during a play is unreal, and unless the O-line gives plenty of time, a QB must make a snap decision and throw to a specific spot. Manning has finally gotten used to what his receivers will be doing, and is more comfortable with throwing to spots where his receivers will be. In previous seasons, Manning and the receiving corps were getting used to each other. As Ramses Barden comes back it will give him another target to look for. Jake Ballard is filling Kevin Boss’s shoes quite nicely, and Victor Cruz is the unexpected find.
From the standpoint of intangibles, the team is building confidence. They pasted the Eagles, came back against the Cards, and had a hard fought victory against the Bills going into the bye. The second half of the season will tell.
Thus far, we have held off on discussing what happens with the schedule going forward. We’ll do that in the wrap up after this week’s game. For now, we offer the following:
1) The running game is showing signs of life, and should continue this week.
2) The passing game should shred the Dolphins.
3) Jake Long, the Dolphins Prow Bowl left tackle, is having an off year thus far. Osi should have a good game against him.
4) The Giants defense has a propensity to give up big plays, and the Dolphins starting QB, Matt Moore, torched the Giants when they last played him (he played for the Panthers). The back-up QB, Sage Rosenfels, might also be able to give the ‘Fins some tips about what they should expect to see.
5) The Dolphins are an emotional wreck right now. They managed to lose in a rather spectacular fashion to the Broncos after out-playing them for most of the game. The head coach, Tonay Sparano, expects to be fired, and has put his house up for sale. This does not augur well for the Dolphins emotional state. The last time we saw this was last year, afte the Giants choked against Philly, and them paid a visit to Green Bay and got hammered. On the other hand, this might make Miami dangerous. If they have nothing to lose the ‘Fins could break out a whole bag of tricks and cause the Giants fits.
6) The Giants tend to play at a level that reflects their opponents. They played well against Philly, and played poorly against the Seahawks. They played competitively against the Cards and the Bills. Given that they might be looking ahead, are coming off a bye, and don’t have the best of records post-bye, the game could actually turn out to be tight.
I’ll predict a Giants win, say 24-10. The Giants are finally healthy, are playing with some confidence, and face a demoralized opponent. Lastly, the Giants record in Coach Coughlin’s reign after 7 games has usually been 5-2. The one year it wasn’t 5-2 it was 6-1. On the other hand, my wife has decided to offer her opinion. She is an artist by hobby, and asked what the respective teams’ colors were. Based on what I told her, she thinks the power of aqua is a deciding factor, and could hurt the G-Men. I think not.