January 31, 2012

ALL THAT MATTERS ARE THE TURNOVERS, WHICH ARE MORE LIKELY ON THROWS DOWNFIELD:

New York Giants vs. New England Patriots: How the teams line up: How the Giants and the Patriots compare for Super Bowl 2012 in offense, defense, special teams and coaching staffs (Paolo Bandini, 1/29/12, The Guadian))

Both of these teams are built to pass the ball first and foremost, but in different ways. Tom Brady's top three receiving targets in New England are a natural slot receiver - Wes Welker - plus two tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. None are blessed with the sort of straight line speed to simply outrun defensive backs, and each does his best work over the middle of the field - taking short passes and turning them into big gains. All three ranked in the top 10 in the league this season for yards gained after the catch.

Only one New York Giant features on that list - Victor Cruz - a player who has been oft-compared to Welker in recent weeks. The tight end Jake Ballard can also be a productive enough outlet for quarterback Eli Manning over the middle of the field but this team has been most dangerous throwing outside. Taller and quicker (though, let's be clear, that is not to say better) than Welker, Cruz is more than capable of working the sidelines, while his fellow receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are both legitimate deep threats.

Manning, furthermore, has the arm strength to find them. According to stats compiled by Pro Football Focus, he led the league this season with 43 completions on throws that travelled more than 20 yards downfield before reaching their target. He also had the highest number of completions and best completion percentage of any quarterback in the league throwing 10-19 yards outside the numbers.

For overall production, however, the Giants' passing offence has still lagged behind New England's, Brady throwing for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns to Manning's 4,933 yards and 29 scores. The Giants quarterback was also intercepted more times (16) than his New England counterpart (12).

The Patriots were more effective on the ground, too, their 20th-ranked rushing offence still comfortably outshining a New York unit that was statistically the worst in the league.


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Posted by orrinj at January 31, 2012 6:11 AM
  
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