Browsing Posts published in January, 2012

For the first time in his career, Chad Ocho Cinco is not a focal point. Ocho Cinco, who has dealt with a number of issues this season, has only registered 15 catches for 276 yards and 1 TD this season. Ocho Cinco has not caught a pass since Christmas Eve and was not active for the AFC Championship Game. Ocho Cinco, the owner of seven 1,000 yard seasons, has been waiting for his opportunity to play in the Super Bowl. As a Giants fan, the thought of Ocho Cinco suiting up on Sunday does worry me and here’s why—

AP Photo

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Can anyone think of a more unorthodox offense than the 2011 New England Patriots?

Tom Brady threw for 5,325 yards, but no traditional receiver accumulated more than 702 yards. Instead, Brady fed a slot receiver and two tight ends 3,800 yards and 34 TDs. At the forefront of this offense was a 6’6″, 265 behemoth known as ‘The Gronk’, who hauled in 1,327 yards and 17 TDs during the regular season. Rob Gronkowski routinely opened up the middle of the field by running seam routes and preying upon undersized linebackers and safeties. In turn, Gronkowski presence opened up the underneath routes for slot receiver Wes Welker and fellow tight end, Aaron Hernandez, giving the speedy duo one-on-one opportunities. 

Unfortunately for Gronk, he suffered an extremely vicious high ankle sprain late in the third quarter of the AFC Championship and was not a factor for the rest of the game. On the surface, the injury doesn’t seem like a huge deal, given that the Patriots won the game, but after Gronk left the game, the data indicates that the Patriots may have huge issues on Sunday night.

Will Gronk's Injury Cost The Pats?--AP Photo

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The Yankees have had their share of bad contracts. We can start at the very top (AJ Burnett) and go back to the days of Kyle Farnsworth, Jason Giambi, and Roger Clemens (half-season edition). Despite the bad contracts, the Yankees have always had a stable core of veteran leaders and most sizeable free agent moves plugged an obvious hole on the team. After watching the Detroit Tigers give $214 million to Prince Fielder, I’m really having a tough time understanding their reasoning. For me, Fielder-to-Detroit is only good for one party–the Prince himself. This move clearly spells doom to the long-term future of the team, which isn’t so bad for Yankee fans. Here are three reasons why I hate this move for the Tigers..

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When I first contacted the editor of this site, part of my pitch was that I wanted to write about how Eli was going to finish with a better career than Peyton. Since then, the topic has blown up everywhere and I don’t feel it necessary to add much to the now over saturated conversation.

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The best comparison that I’ve heard of the two of them was by Colin Cowherd when he said that Peyton is A-Rod and Eli is Jeter. That holds very true in my eyes, Peyton will have the higher numbers (we’ll see by how much) and overall is the more talented player. But when it comes down to it, crunch time, third down, fourth quarter, final minute of the biggest game in the football world, if your heart hasn’t told you that it’s Eli that you want just yet, your eyes and the statistics are all more than convincing.

Eli Manning 2011 Numbers

During this time that Eli’s play has put him in this Peyton Manning conversation, he’s silently put himself in the room with Tom Brady in two ways. One, he’s carried his team to the wins they need in the big time moments, just as Tom Brady has made his career. At the same time, he earned his first ring against Tom, shutting down his undefeated, record setting season. Keeping his hand from adding a fourth ring and putting him hands down in the top few quarterbacks ever. Again entering his fifth Super Bowl, Brady is looking to add that fourth ring…Or is it going to be Eli adding his second (more than Peyton, now only one behind Brady) and holding Brady back once again from that fourth championship?

It’s not a far reach to see Eli and the Giants heading to another Super Bowl or two in the next 6 years, possibly another against Brady. Putting his appearances and winning percentage in that all-time class. Super Bowl 46 is going to be a great game and a great rematch of the the epic 2008 game and the earlier battle this season. But how about Eli and Coughlin with an experienced receiving corp that’s no longer emerging no-names going for his third ring against Tom Brady and Belichick? Eli 3 for 3 in the Super Bowl (also would be adding at least 3 more playoff wins) matching Brady’s championships in just half the appearances.

That’s the Super Bowl I’m waiting for…

Todd Giannattasio is a guest blogger for New York State Of Sports. Todd runs an online store selling Giants themed apparel, Deja 42. You can follow him on Twitter@Tresnic.

After Eli Manning led the Giants past the San Francisco 49ers, the Eli admiration was at an all-time high. During his five ‘must-win’ games, Eli went 5-0, throwing 12 TD passes to only one interception. Manning was so good in the fourth quarter this season, leading six game winning drives. Eli’s fourth quarter passer rating was also the highest in the league. If Eli is able to defeat Tom Brady, he’ll collect his second Super Bowl, tied for the second most among active quarterbacks. In a league where great QB play is imperative to a team’s success, where does Eli rank in terms of his counterpats?

AP PHOTO

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One word to describe this game:

Exhausting.

Eli Was Eli--AP Photo

In what was a four-hour roller coaster ride, the Giants pulled out an exciting, hard-fought, draining, win over the Niners. In my preview this week, I highlighted how the Niner prided themselves on not turning the ball over. True to form, the Niner offense did not turn the ball over. However, punt returner Kyle Williams fumbled two punts–resulting in ten decisive Giant points. Eli Manning threw for 306 yards, but he earned every single yard. In his 63 dropbacks, Eli was hit 21 times–and got up after every single one. Mario Manningham had his weekly post-season appearance in the end zone and the Giant defense looked awesome–outside of two blown plays to Vernon Davis.

We’ll have more for you in the coming days, but after that game, I think everyone just needs to sleep to start having dreams of February 3, 2008. You know–Super Bowl rings, decking Tom Brady, salsa-ing …

Victor In Cruise Control--AP Photo

If the Giants wanted any bulletin board material, they didn’t have to look too hard. Jerry Rice called Brandon Jacobs soft and Vernon Davis is already planning the NFC Championship post-season celebration party?!?

Like Giant fans needed anymore motivation for today’s NFC Title Game…

The “49ers NFC Championship After Party” is scheduled to be held at Manor West in San Francisco, CA shortly after the NFC Championship game concludes, and tickets are already being sold for little over $21 a pop. Davis himself is slated to host this “championship event.”

Credit: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

I don’t want to say never, but it is EXTREMELY rare for me to boo my own team, which is far from what I could say about most fans in the Garden this season. I believe fans have the right to if they bought their tickets to attend, but it’s just not me (unless it’s for Tiki Barber returning to Giants Stadium for something). That said, I did not boo the Knicks during the Milwaukee game Friday night, I just left at the end of the third quarter.

The expectations of this team were clearly placed too high for the way it is currently constituted. And I’m not referring to the talent on this team. I believe Melo and STAT can play together, I believe Chandler’s defensive prowess should improve their overall team game, especially now with the passionate defense I didn’t see coming from Shumpert (if he can control his shot selection consistently and keep making steals and diving on the floor). It’s almost impossible for me to even fathom how a team of professional players can look this abysmal. They were dominated by a 4 – 7 Bucks team from MILWAUKEE that hasn’t won a road game all season and was without one of their best players in Stephen Jackson (who shoots up strip clubs as much as three pointers). This is New York City! Recognized around the world as the mecca of basketball! And they let a team from Wisconsin come in and handle them like that? It was embarrassing to sit in the crowd and watch.

A clear sign that D’Antoni needs to go, whether replaced with a premium candidate now or just an interim assistant filling in until the offseason, came in the second half last night. Down ten in the third quarter with 6:41 to go they called a time out. When D’Antoni came out to talk to the team they all walked passed and sat on the bench. Then it happened again at the next time out…and again.

I can’t imagine that if you took any ten nab players, even Division I college players, in the off season for a pick up game, those teams would look more organized than this Knicks team. This team looks uninspired, lazy and unorganized. It doesn’t look like there are any plays being run. The players are either standing still or running around aimlessly like a bunch of 14 year old rec league players with low basketball IQs.

One of the first things you learn about basketball is to not catch the ball where you can’t score. Why does Tyson Chandler end up with the ball a foot behind the three point line on every third possession? He’s not an offensive threat by any means and especially not there. They need to keep him in the low post and let Amare run pick and rolls with Anthony so they’re both involved in the offense and can get into a rhythm together. Anthony has been resorting back to his ball stopper days where on some plays he brings the ball up and no one else even touches it before he jacks up a shot. Stoudemire is getting greedy when he does get the ball and is taking poor shots that he’s trying to add to his arsenal, but aren’t quite ready for game time action.

D’Antoni’s system has proven not to work here for sustained success, post-season success or even beating average teams. Now he’s lost the players and it’s showing on the floor, there is no reason for him to still be standing on the sidelines for the Knicks.

Todd Giannattasio is a guest blogger for New York State Of Sports. Todd also contributes simple recipes for guys at Easy Recipes For Beginners. You can follow him on Twitter@Tresnic.

Everyone has been talking about how the Giants won’t be able to run against the 49ers this weekend and it could be a factor in determining the game. The 49ers defense is legit; I’m not taking anything away from them, but they will not be able to hold the Giants to less points than Alex Smith will be able to muster together with the help of David Akers foot.

First of all, the Giants were last in rushing yards per game this year, so I don’t even think an extraordinary running game is a necessary for Eli and the Giants offense to have a big game and come out with a convincing victory. Secondly, when the Giants went out to San Francisco earlier this year, they had 92 rushing yards and 311 passing yards (2 TDs, 2 INTs). Ahmad Bradshaw didn’t play, but Brandon Jacobs had 18 carries for 55 yards and Danny Ware had 9 rushes for 34 yards.

During the regular season, the 49ers gave up 308 total yards per game and 77 rushing yards per game. The Giants took them for more than that on both accounts in their last encounter and that was without Ahmad Bradshaw. The Giants averaged 295 passing yards and 89 rushing yards a game, so not only did they take the Niners defense for more than they usually allowed, but they took them for more than they took the rest of the league on average throughout the regular season.

After looking at the SF defensive dominance last week, the Saints runners are soft and got shook early. Pierre Thomas took a huge hit in the first quarter that set the tone for the rest of the game. You could tell that they were scared to run hard and take those blasts from San Fran’s hard hitting unit, but Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw feed off of hard hitting runs. They’ll both be laying hits just as hard right back at the defenders. It’ll just be a difference if it’s at the line of scrimmage or in the open field where they’ll be plowing over anyone in there way between them and the goal line (ask the Jets).

In the last four games, the Giants have won by a margin of  121 – 50. Dominant on both sides of the ball and convincing me (like I’m a hard sell on the Giants ability) that they are clicking on all cylinders and just have too much going on right now to be stopped.

And by the way, the Giants are undefeated in NFC Championship Games.

Todd Giannattasio is a guest blogger for New York State Of Sports. Todd also contributes simple recipes for guys at Easy Recipes For Beginners. You can follow him on Twitter@Tresnic.

After a perfect week last week, my record improved to 7-1 for the post-season. There are only two games this weekend, but both games will be very, very good…

Sunday, 3:00 PM: Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (-7.5)
Sunday, 6:30 PM: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5)

Ray's Last Stand??--AP Photo