Posted on: November 29, 2008 8:24 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2008 8:51 pm

NY Giants "Things to Do" List for Sunday Nov 30th

Plax takes one in the Slacks

Hixon starts tomorrow and beyond; Kiwanuka won't retaliate for "dirty play"

The Latin Quarter - a night club on Lexington avenue in the heart of midtown Manhattan - advertises on it's website that on Friday nights you can come down and party with "Sportsmen Galore'. After Plaxico Burress' visit this past Friday, they might consider changing that headline to "Sporstmen and Gore".

Burress apparently shot himself in the leg through his pants pocket outside of the club around 1:00 in the morning. There's still no definitive word on hs condition, but initial reports on WFAN 660 and ESPN Radio this morning said the injury was not "life threatening", and Burress was released from the hospital this afternoon. A statement from the New York Giants front office released earlier today provides no further mention of his condition:

"We are aware of the fact that Plaxico was involved in an apparent accidental shooting last night. We have been in contact with Plaxico since shortly after the incident. Plaxico suffered a wound to his right thigh. Obviously, our primary concern is for Plaxico’s health and well-being, and given the circumstances, we are relieved to say he was released from a New York City hospital at approximately 2 p.m. today. We have been in touch with NFL Security on this matter. At this point, we are attempting to gather all the facts surrounding this incident. This incident could become a matter for law enforcement officials, and because of that, we have no comment on any of the details."

I guess the silver lining in this whole situation (besides the fact that it seems Plaxico will be fine) is that this was a freak accident in a public place rather than something he did - say - in the privacy of his own home; and that it wasn't a shot to a part of the body above his waist. Could you imagine the speculation in the press and throughout the NFL community if that were the case? As if they weren't already questioning his mental stability... In any event, fans hope that Burress will be OK and can recover in time to contribute during the team's run towards the playoffs.

Speaking of the team, and purely from an X's and O's perspective, it's a good thing that Plaxico hasn't been a consistent or reliable presence on the field. Eli Manning has built quite a report with Domenik Hixon this year, and the offense shouldn't miss a beat. It's hard to figure out how the team will handle this come Sunday afternoon; Over the last two seasons, coach Tom Coughlin has been a master at keeping his players focused and preparing them for each game regardless of the distractions surrounding them. For the long term, General Manager Jerry Reese needs to heavily consider whether or not Burress remains a part of the Giants organization after the 2008 season.

On a lighter note, Mathias Kiwanuka is looking forward to his matchup on the line Sunday with Washington Redskins LT Chris Samuels. Really looking forward to it. Kiwanuka was quoted in Saturday's Newsday as calling Samuel's final play on opening night a "dirty play". Kiwanuka said "That was the last image I had, the last play, the last image I had for the whole game. So yeah, it'll be in the back of my mind". Kiwanuka is referring to Samuels' tackle from behind on September 4th; On the last play, Kiwanuka had beaten Samuels and was rushing QB Jason Campbell from his blind side. As he was falling forward, Samuels wrapped his arms around Kiwanuka's ankles as his belly hit the ground. Kiwanuka was tripped up as the game ended, and got up limping. The most frustrating part was the fact that the network was wrapping up their coverage so quickly, they didn't show Kiwanuka walk off the field, nor mention the fact that he appeared injured...

All turned out well, of course. Now being 11 games into the season and considering where the Giants are in the NFC standings, it feels like a lifetime ago as I recall the lump in my throat as I watched Mathias hobble off the field. Remember, we had only lost Osi Umenyiora for the season just two weeks earlier in a preseason game against the Jets. Despite his emotions after that game, Kiwanuka says he'll keep his cool, "I'm not going to do anything stupid".


1. Reestablish the running game. Redskins starting linebacker Marcus Washington is out with an ankle injury; linebacker London Fletcher and defensive end Andre Carter have both missed practice this week with foot injuries. After being limited to 87 yards and 3.2 yards a carry last week in Arizona, this is a prime opportunity for the Giants to get the rushing attack back in business. Brandon Jacobs will play, but how much he'll play depends on how that knee is feeling when he wakes up Sunday morning. If there's even a hint of swelling or tenderness, Coughlin will limit his playing time. Derick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw are likely to see increased carries regardless.

2. Keep Portis under 100. Clinton Portis leads the NFL in rushing with 1,206 yards, despite running on a bad knee for the better part of the past 2 months. In week 1, the Giants held CP to 84 yards, and his average per rush that night was his second-lowest of the season. As I've mentioned in previous articles, coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been terrific at keying on the opposition's biggest threat and shutting it down. The key this week is Clinton Portis, and while I'm not usually one to buy into an individual player's "numbers" as they releate to their teams' record, Portis' ability to run the ball is especially important to the Redskins success. In 2008, the Skins are 5-1 when Portis tops the century mark, and 2-3 when he doesn't. One thing to be concerned about is the availability of DT Fred Robbins, who's nursing a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable. If Robbins is unable to go, Jay Alford will start in his place.

3. Watch out for Chris Cooley. The only other tight end that seems to decimate the Giants defense besides the Cowboys' Jason Witten is Washington's #47. Cooley has only 1 touchdown this season, but has 60 receptions - which ties him for 9th in the NFL. Cooley is one of the most versatile receivers in the game; he can beat you with the soft, over-the-middle grabs for 8-10 yards, or he can beat you deep. He's the most valuable receiver on the team; he acts as Campbell's safety valve when deep targets Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are covered, while providing another weapon in short yardage situations to counteract Portis, which keeps defenses off balance. Linebackers Antonio Pierce, Danny Clark, Chase Blackburn and Bryan Kehl will be responsible for Cooley's whereabouts.



Kiwanuka quotes: Newsday "Notes & Quotes" by Tom Rock   /   Giants statement: cbsnews.com    /    Stats: nj.com & sportsline


Posted on: November 8, 2008 2:54 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2008 12:19 am

NY Giants "Things To Do" List for Sunday Nov.9th


Giants vs. Eagles: The matchup to watch won't take place between the sidelines, but outside of them.

It's divisional, it's rival, and it's a huge one. I've dubbed it the big "Midterm Exam" the Giants must pass with flying colors to solidify their place at the top of the NFC class. So as the Eagles and Giants pour out of the tunnels at Lincoln Financial Field to take center stage on Sunday night football, what will be the most intriguing matchup when the Eagles host the Giants on Sunday night?

Brian Westbrook vs. the Giants defense? Not necessarily... Plaxico Burress vs. Asante Samuel? Guess again... The Giants offensive line vs. the Eagles' blitz? Perhaps... All are important, but none are as intriguing as the matchup involving two guys who will never come in physical contact with each other. The matchup that will not involve players at all, and in fact will be no less that 160 feet apart from each other for most of the night.

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo vs. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. 

The Giants had a vacancy for the defensive coordinator’s job in 2007, after firing the highly respected but completely ineffective Tim Lewis. From the onset, Spagnuolo was the man they targeted as his successor, but the fate of Jim Johnson would play a big part in the Giants being able to hire Spags. Spagnuolo was the top candidate for the defensive coordinator's job with the Vikings in 2006 after interviewing with their new head coach Brad Childress, but Eagles head coach Andy Reid asked Steve to stay with Philadelphia. Reid at that time was faced with the possibility of losing Jim Johnson to a head coaching job in San Francisco and Spagnuolo was still under contract. Reid's confidence in Spags was high, and wanted him to be the next Eagles coordinator anyway if Johnson flew the coop. Johnson stayed with the Eagles, as did Spagnuolo, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Spagnuolo’s years of tutelage under Johnson have served both he and the Giants quite well, and was (even more so than the long-awaited emergence of Eli Manning) the key ingredient in the recipie for the Giants run to the Super Bowl title last year. Oddly enough, Jim Johnson’s first NFL gig as a defensive coordinator was with Philadelphia, who swiped him from the Seattle Seahawks in 1999 where he'd been the linebackers coach; the same year Spagnuolo started his tenure with Philadelphia as an assistant.

So what will happen on Sunday night - Will the professor take his former pupil to school? Or will the student prove he’s surpassed the teacher? They technically aren't facing each other in the head-to-head sense, but it's going to be in the back of their minds. Johnson knows Spagnuolo as well as anyone, and the same applies to Spagnuolo regarding Johnson. Spags may be more familiar with Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's schemes than Johnson would be with Kevin Gilbride's - but the difference will be negligible. It’s tough to say how this one turns out… An Eagles/Giants game is always filled with surprises. It’s going to be quite a scene in Philly Sunday night, and fun to watch.



THINGS TO DO - Sunday November 9th.

1. Abolish the “DH”: Darren Howard, that is. The 9-year veteran has 6.5 sacks on the season which leads an Eagles team just two rungs lower than the Giants on the stat sheet ladder in sacks for the season. The Giants offensive front five have been nothing short of brilliant this year, but this Eagles pass rush is a different breed of animal. Jim Johnson’s going to blitz. And he’s going to blitz, and he’s going to blitz some more. He will employ Howard to punch right through the Giants' interior and make a beeline for Eli Manning. Even in part-time duty Howard is someone the Giants have had to game plan for, and that responsibility will fall directly on the shoulders of guards Chris Snee and Rich Seubert. While the Giants have only allowed 10 sacks on Manning this year, it should be of some concern that four of those sacks occurred last week against a struggling Cowboys team. Perhaps it was just good game planning by defensive coordinator Brian Stewart; or perhaps the O-Line was still shaking off the sting of taking on the Steelers the week before. Or maybe it’s simply that they aren’t kids anymore, and they’res tarting to feel the rigors of reaching the halfway point of a demanding NFL season.


2. Get #17 in the game: Eli Manning has not been able to (or allowed to) open up the offense with throwing the deep ball over the past few weeks. In fact, with the exception of a few nice 20+ yard hookups with Steve Smith and Amani Toomer, the passing game in general has played it safe since the Browns game - when Manning threw 3 interceptions. Gilbride has seemed content hitting passes between 5 and 15 yards from scrimmage and letting the receivers gain yards after the catch. At some point, Coughlin will have to find out where he stands with Plaxico Burress; he’s averaging just three receptions and 35 yards a game since returning from his two-week suspension. Numbers like those aren't going to benefit anyone, and its a waste of the clear-cut mismatches Burress’ size can create. Now’s the time to see what Burress really has left in the tank and in his heart; as luck would have it, the Giants face yet another injury-riddled secondary. Eagles’ safety Brian Dawkins and cornerback Joselio Hanson are dealing with hamstring injuries, and CB Lito Sheppard is slowed by a groin injury. All three are probably going to be gametime decisions. Expect them all to play, but they won't be 100%. The Giants may very well face Philadelphia in the postseason - and to that end Coughlin and Gilbride need to start stretching things out again. It's time to test both Plaxico and the Philadelphia secondary.


3. Our man, Ahmad: I made the suggestion in the “TTDL” column for the Steelers game that Coughlin might consider changing things up in the running game; that perhaps starting off the game with a heavy dose of Derrick Ward’s speed and pass-catching ability would be a better option. Ultimately it didn’t matter, because no one was running on Pittsburgh that day, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Well here I go again. The strong, physical running style of truckster Brandon Jacobs –while a potential health risk for defenders –might be better suited for the other side of halftime. Ward has been outstanding, but Philly’s linebacker speed could possibly neutralize him. With that in mind, we turn to Ahmad Bradshaw - the 5’9”, 200 pound irresistible force that won’t go down without taking a few bodies down with him. Unlike Ward, Bradshaw will not hit the turf after the first direct hit by a defender. He doesn’t have the hands or burst Ward does, but he’s faster than Jacobs, almost as elusive as Ward, and is a son-of-a-b**** to tackle. He’s got great hands and can protect the ball, which is something that Jacobs has struggled with at times this year. The physical nature of the Eagles 4-3 defense may not be as vulnerable to the punishment of Jacobs or Ward’s speed as they might be to Bradshaw’s straight ahead attack and underestimated strength.





*Finally Phillips: Tom Coughlin announced on Friday that Rookie FS Kenny Phillips will start in place of the injured James Butler. Butler missed practice on Thursday, and could only handle light workouts on Friday. Butler 's feeling better, but he's not at the level where he can chance it on Sunday night. Coughlin said that he's confident in Phillips' ability, saying he's "A very good young player who's only getting better", and is confident he's ready. Phillips is currently sixth on the team in tackles (30) and has one interception on the year.


*No Go: LB Gerris Wilkinson (knee) and CB Kevin Dockery (back) are both out for Sunday's game. Rookies Bryan Kehl and Terrell Thomas will once again get the starts, respectively. Good news for special teams player and long snapper Zac DeOssie; After dealing with back spasms and flu-like symptoms earlier in the week, DeOssie was able to practice fully on Friday and will be listed as probable for the game.   




Statistical sources: sportsline.compro-football-reference.com, giants.com                                                                         Injury Reports, historical reference & quotes sources: Newsday.com , nydailynews.com, philadelphiaeagles.com


Posted on: November 2, 2008 1:42 am

NY Giants "Things To Do" list for Sunday Nov. 1st

I apologize for the late entry on my weekly "Things To Do" article. Long story short, I was horsing around with my kids when my hand slipped and I smacked my chin on the floor and two teeth bit clear through my tongue. I just got back an hour ago - I'll save you the gory details. After 5 hours in the emergency room explaining how "I bih mah gung" and a few stitches from Dr. Christian "Is it safe?" Szell, suffice it to say that extra hour of sleep tonight couldn't have come at a better time. Plenty of "liquid snacks" for the big game tomorrow, and I'll be good to go for the postgame blog.

1. The "Marion" man - There's no need to remind Justin Tuck who keeps the Cowboys offensive engine running: "It escalates it - Especially with a quarterback like Brad who's not as mobile. If you can get Barber off early in a game and establish that running game, that doesn't allow third-and-long situations to allow us to get after the quarterback. Obviously he's our No. 1 focus."  DT Barry Cofield had this to say about Barber: "He's still a special back, but I think he runs even harder now than he did in college. It's like he has a bigger chip on his shoulder now than ever. He's just so physical, it's like he seeks out contact, seeks out the hits, wants to prove he can run through everybody. I think he may think it's a macho situation the way he runs."

2. Get physical with the wideouts - Conventional wisdom says that Marion Barber will get the Lions share of the workload tomorrow. But Brad Johnson will be expected to throw the ball at some point, and both the Browns and Steelers showed that three-step drops and quick passes can be effective against the Giants secondary. Combined with Johnson's inability to throw the deep ball anymore,his #14 has been imprinted all over the field the past two games - getting sacked 8 times by two teams that haven't had great success getting to quarterbacks this season. Dallas will want to keep Johnson upright by going with quick passes and letting the receivers do the work. Aaron Ross and Corey Webster should be lined up closer to scrimmage and chucking Terrell Owens and Roy Williams within the 5-yard  zone to disturb their routes as often as possible.

3. Let it fly: attack downfield - Recent matchups between these teams have been high-scoring affairs. Through good times and bad, Eli Manning has generally had success throwing the ball against Dallas. With the Cowboys secondary either injured (Anthony Henry and Terence Newman) or suspended (Whack-man), Manning should be able to get sufficient protection from his offensive line to find open receivers against rookie Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick. Second year player Alan Ball is expected to be used in Nickel packages. With Dallas' offensive firepower at an all-time low, the last thing they want to do is get into a shootout.


Justin Tuck & Barry Cofield quotes source: NY Post - "Giants Know Barber Will Make Cowboys Go" by Paul Schwartz


Posted on: October 25, 2008 1:28 am

NY Giants "Things To Do" List for Sunday 10.26

"When a man is lying in a foxhole - if he just stays there all day - the enemy will get to him eventually. The hell with that idea. The hell with taking it. My men don't dig foxholes. I don't want them to. Foxholes only slow up an offensive. Keep moving. And don't give the enemy time to dig one either. We'll win this war, but we'll win it only by fighting and by showing them that we've got more guts than they have; or ever will have. We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip out their living G--damned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We're going to murder those lousy --- ----------- by the bushel-f---ing-basket. War is a bloody business. You've got to spill their blood, or they will spill yours. Rip them up the belly. Shoot them in the guts. When shells are hitting all around you and you wipe the dirt off your face and realize that instead of dirt it's the blood of what once was your best friend beside you, you'll know what to do!"

"I don't want to get any messages saying, 'I am holding my position.' We are not holding a G--damned thing. Let the enemy do that. We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding onto anything, except the enemy's balls. We are going to twist his balls and kick the living sh-- out of him, all of the time. Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy. We are going to go through him like crap through a goose; like sh-- through a tin horn!"

General George S. Patton - speech to the Third Army on the eve of the Allied invasion of France, June 5th 1944

OK... Maybe this is going a tad overboard for a week 8 non-divisional game. But at this point - at this time of the season - it's about the biggest game there is. From this Giants fan's perspective there's much more on the line than just the difference between 5-2 and 6-1. This game can legitimize a team; it can wipe away clumps of apprehension that keep us from recognizing that team as a true threat to the rest of the league .

Mediocrity is rampant in the NFL today. As much football as there is left to play, think about the teams that have ridden the roller coaster of "Super Bowl Contender" down to "Underachievers" up to "Back in the mix" down to "Season is over" - Bears, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Cowboys, Eagles, Jets, Patriots, Vikings... etcetera...etcetera... etcetera and so on. That's why we - as Giants, Steelers or general football fans - count the minutes till 4:15 on Sunday. That's why the commentators, hosts & pundits are interested in the outcome of this matchup.

The Titans are undefeated, but everyone has that ounce of doubt about their ability to take the 2008 season to the house. There's no team in the league this year like the Patriots of 2007, or the Colts and Bears of 2006. Everyone's looking for that team to emerge from this game. That's why it's the biggest game there is at this point - at this time of the season. Yet... and maybe I'm the only one who has this opinion... If Pittsburgh wins, it will be a tremendous but expected victory. Should the Giants win, it will be a tremendous victory. Period.

Having said all that, I'll say all this - I started this article with the excerpt of General Patton's speech for three reasons. First and foremost, I simply love the speech. It gives me chills every time I read it. Secondly, If you substitute "Germans" (and some antiquated ethnic labels I removed for obvious reasons) with anyone else - say "Steelers" for example - it applies to any obstacle in life that can be overcome with a little inspiration and a lot of hard work. Lastly, I would love to wheel an AV cart into the Giants Locker room 10 minutes before they start lining up in the tunnel and pop in a dvd of Patton, so they can watch George C. Scott standing in front of that giant American flag, delivering his rendition of that speech.

In keeping with the Patton theme, the Giants "Things to Do" list will focus on famous General Patton quotes.

 1. "Take calculated risks. Make your plans fit the circumstances."  In other words, change things up. This past week of gameplanning must have been exhausting for offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Now I'm not suggesting that the Giants become the 17th team this season to start using the "Wildcat formation", but I think that Gilbride needs to have thrown a monkey wrench into what Pittsburgh is prepared for. LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison are pure dynamite from the outside. Their 3-4 defense is built on speed and thrives on confusing an offense, and you know they're coming after Eli Manning from the git-go. So how would they react if Derrick Ward started in place of Brandon Jacobs? What if they've centered their schemes on the lumbering bulldozer but instead faced the speedster who bursts out of the backfield and hits holes much faster? What if Eli Manning had Ward (who can actually catch the ball, unlike Jacobs) for dump passes and a safety net when the pressure comes? What if Ward shouldered the bulk of the load for the first half, then gave way a little to Ahmad Bradshaw? If New York can put a dent in time of possession with Ward, Bradshaw can maintain some of that speed and agility but would be much harder for Pittsburgh to drag down. If all continued to go as planned (BIG if), then bring in Jacobs to pound the ball through a hopefully tired Steelers defensive front. Think of Rocky Balboa's trainer Mickey Goldmill - "DA BODY, DA BODY, DA BODY!!!!"

2. "Nobody ever defended anything successfully. There is only attack and attack and attack some more"  On the defensive side of the ball, it might be worth risking early chunks of passing yardage if it means knocking Ben Roethlisberger to the turf on a consistent basis. Big Ben holds the ball longer than the average QB, and yes - more often than not he makes the right decision once he lets it fly. The Giants defense needs to put their footprints on the back of his jersey if they hope to rattle him, because Roethlisberger is not easy to rattle. Blitz the linebacker, blitz the corners and safeties. Keep coming at him so that he knows he's going down. It's the only way to shake his confidence in the pocket - and with it looking more and more like Willie Parker won't play, Ben will have only Mewelde Moore to rely on in the backfield.

3."Be willing to make decisions. That's the most important quality in a good leader.” We all know who this refers to. Eli Manning has had two less-than-stellar games in a row. As I noted in my previous article, he escaped last Sunday's game against San Francisco without an interception - he could have easily been taken for three. While I don't necessarily think he's having trouble making decisions, I think some of the decisions themselves have been questionable. Manning should not worry about getting the ball to Plaxico Burress. He doesn't need to worry about anything for that matter, except getting back to what he's proven works for him. While he needs to indulge that bit of  gunslinger mentality, he needs to avoid reaching a point where he's "Favre"-esque. Protect the ball, check off at the line and use that effective pump fake. Don't get fancy if it's unnecessary, and don't force the ball if you're down on the scoreboard.

4. "There is only one type of discipline, perfect discipline. " In other words, the giants will not leave Heinz field with a win if they show a similar work ethic to the one displayed last week against the 49ers (11 penalties for 80 yards).



Speech excerpt & quotes source: The Patton Society Home Page

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 22, 2008 8:38 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2008 11:59 pm

Giants @ Steelers: The Preview 'Preview'

A game so big, even the preview needs a "preview"

Every week, I post a Giants "Things to Do" list for their upcoming game. I'm not ready for it just yet. I need to warm up...

This Sunday's trip to Heinz field is a big one, as the Giants find themselves in the familiar position of having to prove themselves (once again) to the rest of the NFL community. Its a position they seem to relish; the underdog. After what they accomplished last year, and starting off 5-1 this year, they still aren't taken as serious contenders. Now that the Cowboys are faltering and the NFC Central is a logjam of .500 teams, the Giants are getting some attention again. However, with their loss to Cleveland and lackluster showing against San Francisco, "experts" do not see them in the same light as Tennessee or Pittsburgh. Maybe that's fair, afterall.

This weekend's matchup is quietly bubbling beneath the suface. Below was a comment I'd made on the Winner of NY Giants-Pittsburgh? thread started by "WestCoastGator". The thread has kept its momentum these past few days, with a hardy debate and some bold predictions. There's some disagreements, and of course fans are staying true to their teams, but the comments are civil and well thought out. It's almost a reflection of the teams themselves. Upper echelon teams and classy organizations. So classy in fact, that no one's really getting down in the mud fighting yet. But there's a momentum building - this wave of energy that's picked everyone up to carry them right up until 4:15 Sunday - that is undeniable. It's arguably the "biggest" game of the year because there hasn't been a meeting of such closely matched powerhouses because of the up and down nature of team performance in the NFL today. And there's the 'Ben vs Eli' thing.

I'm not bold or stupid enough to predict a NY victory, especially against a club like the Steelers. It's not in my nature. What I've done instead is provide three reasons I LIKE the giants' chances this weekend, and three reasons I DON'T like their chances.

Why I LIKE the Giants chances vs. the Steelers

1. Versatility in the running game: If Brandon the bulldozer can't get it done, they can go to Ward who's speedy and has a quick burst out of the backfield. If Ward struggles, they can go to Bradshaw who's elusive and hard to drag down. Both teams have talented running backs, but the Giants are averaging 60 more yards per game and 5.6 per carry versus the Steelers 3.9. With both teams having strong defensive fronts, the Giants might have more success in the running game

2. Getting to the Quarterback: Fair or not, Big Ben has been known to hold the ball too long, and sometimes he takes sacks when he should be throwing it away. Manning has been sacked 6 times this year compared to Roethlisberger who's been sacked 19 times. Granted - 9 of them were against philadelphia, but he went down 3 times in each of his games with Baltimore, Cleveland & Jacksonville, and 2 times in the opener against Houston. Does it mean very much in terms of this week's game? Maybe not, but it means that a good defense can get to Roethlisberger at least 3 times a game.

3. Plaxico out to prove himself: He wants to prove something to Pittsburgh. What that is, I don't know - either that they're missing out on something special, or that he can get through a game without cursing out his head coach. But ususally when Plax has something to prove, he has his best games. He also wants to put the garbage of the suspension and sideline antics with Coughlin behind him. he'll either implode or play lights out. I think he'll play lights out. in addition, Pittsburgh's secondary is banged up right now - it looks like McFadden is out. Polamalu may play, but will he be 100%?

Why I DON'T LIKE the Giants chances against vs. the Steelers.

1. Is the Captain healthy? If Antonio Pierce can't go, Chase Blackburn gets his second consecutive start at MLB. Blackburn did a commendable job against the 49ers on Sunday with 8 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Not only did he play well but he managed the defense and handled the radio signal calls. That was on Sunday. Last  Sunday, at home. Against San Francisco.

This ain't home, and this ain't San Francisco.

2. Eli's downfield awareness: Manning had his first rough outing this season against the Browns. While he was more accurate than the stats imply from Sunday's 49ers game (16 of 31, which might have been 21 of 31 if it weren't for dropped passes), he nearly threw 3 interceptions. One was right in the hands of a defender that couldn't hold on, and one was read perfectly by Nate Clements that just sailed out of his reach. There's not a chance that Eli knew he was there, and if he did I wouldn't be able to understand his decision to throw there anyway. He got lucky, but he's got to scan the field a whole lot better this week or the Steelers will make him pay.

3. The Secondary: Perhaps Steve Spagnuolo has tweaked the defensive scheme to account for the loss of Pierce - perhaps he had to do this against the Browns knowing Pierce wasn't going to have the speed to cover anyone and had lost Gerris Wilkinson . Perhaps. Or perhaps it's something else. In any event, Aaron Ross has been lit up the past two weeks and the d-backs, overall, look slower than usual. They look as if they're reacting as opposed to covering. 

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 22, 2008 4:31 pm
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Posted on: October 4, 2008 6:00 pm

Giants to do list: Sunday 10/5

1. Offense: Exploit the Secondary: Seatles Defensive line is formidable, allowing just 88 yards rushing per game. Granted, the last two games were against the 49ers and Rams, but both of those struggling teams have A-list talent running backs. Brandon Jacobs' strength happens to be running between the tackles, but it seems like Kevin Gilbride has been swinging him to the outside an awful lot in the first half. Meanwhile, the Seahawks are 25th in the league against the pass - allowing 226 yards a game (again, against weak offensive teams - including Trent Edwards, who won't be confused for Dan Fouts). If Eli Manning were ever going to have a 350+ yard afternoon this should be it; the Seattle secondary is riddled with injury (Marcus Trufant continues to play with a broken bone in his hand, Kelly Jennings will be returning to action after breaking a rib) and doesn't have the speed to contend should Gilbride send out 3 or 4 receivers - even without Plaxico in the lineup. 

2. Defense: Stop Julius Jones: Steve Spagnola should expect a heavy dose of Orange Julius on Sunday (they're right... NOTHING rhymes with "orange"). He's broken out two straight 100 yard games and is really finding the holes his line creates for him. Despite the expected returns of Deion Branch and Bobby Engram, Aaron Pierce & Co. should be focusing on Jones and stopping the running game. I would expect with the extra week off that Spagnola will start working Kenny Phillips into the starting lineup, and Matt Hasselbeck's been struglging this season (60.1 passer rating) with finding open targets. Seattle will look to neutralize the Giants passing attack by trying to win time of possesion.

3. Special Teams: No "Mc"Quarters: R.W. McQuarters will play Sunday, but New York would be wise to rest him and allow Domenik Hixon to continue returning punts. Let's face it: He's younger and faster, more dynamic. He makes something out of nothing and is a legitimate threat everytime he touches the ball. And anyone can call for a fair catch when there's 20 yards of open field in front of him. Maybe he's the only one who can do it without fumbling?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com