Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Take - NFC Championship

Greetings, G-Force.

My wife, A-Star, is from West Virginia. She was born in Wheeling, WV. She was raised in Wheeling, WV. She went to school at West Virginia University. Her Mountaineer football blood is thick. After all, her roots are "Almost Heaven." This year - West Virginia was one win away from the BCS National Championship game in New Orleans. They had to win 1 game and they were going to the National Championship. We had rented out a hotel room off of Bourbon Street. We were driving from Miami to New Orleans. We were stopping in Kiln, MS to visit a local tavern and to ask the locals for a tale of #4. Yeah, I was going to be that guy! But, I was also going to be rooting for my wife's college football team in the National Championship game. All that they had to do was win ONE game at HOME. We all know how that one ended.

I've learned my lesson. Hence, I pass my education onto you. In this crazy world of football parity, it's one game at a time.

G-Force, we must be prepared. We take no prisoners. If the defense is on the field, elevate. If you have a voice, lose it. Plan on leaving Lambeau with an inability to speak. The NFL has granted us with the MAIN EVENT - the game under the lights...sleep in on Sunday. Rest up. Sleep off the hang over from Saturday. And be prepared to go to battle on Sunday.

The New York Giants are coming to the most magical of stadiums on Sunday. Lambeau Field. Under the Lights. The winner receives a trip to Arizona and a Super Bowl Berth. The temperature is expected to be around 8 degrees with winds of 10 mph. Let's play some football, mates!

The Giants have won 9 straight road games. Their defense stepped up to the challenge of Romo, TO, Barber, and Texas Stadium. The Giants left victorious. They deserve to be applauded for a terrific defensive performance. For much of the game, it looked like the Cowboys were the more physical team, but with the game on the line in the 4th Quarter, the Giants defense dug deep and came up with big plays to get themselves off the field.

Over the past two weeks, Eli Manning has also shown an ability to string together consecutive passes at crucial moments of a playoff game. Since Jeremy Shockey's injury, he has developed a nice chemistry with Amani Toomer and Steve Smith. Toomer has been a big time play maker on third downs in the playoffs. Smith has also proved to be sure handed and deceptively physical over the last two weeks. Smith has been able to get just enough separation and Manning has been accurate enough to put the ball where only Smith could catch it.

Kevin Boss has also developed into a respectable TE. He uses his body well and shields defenders as he runs short curls and down and outs. He's an effective possession TE and will pose a threat to the Packer defense on short yardage passes.

Plaxico Burress has been somewhat quiet in the post season but he is absolutely dangerous and possesses big play potential. It'll be important for Collins and Ras-A-tari to prevent Burress from getting behind them.

While the Giants have some threats on offense, they have "keep-the-chains-moving" guys. The Giants may attempt to find Burress deep down the field, but other than him, I look at the Giants receivers as possession players. Therefore, my biggest concern heading into this Sunday is the Giants running game. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw have turned into their own version of "Thunder and Lightning." Jacobs is a load to bring down and he's surprisingly quick. Bradshaw is a burner who is surprisingly tough to bring down. If the Giants can stuff the ball down our throats on the run, we could be in trouble. We must stop the run. AJ Hawk, Nickie B, and Brady Poppinga must dominate the second tier of the defense and prevent Jacobs and Bradshaw from finding seams in the offensive line. Strong LB play is pivotal towards shutting down the Giants rushing attack. Hawk, Barnett and Poppinga will be challenged from a speed and power perspective this weekend.

The strength of the Giants defense is found in their front 4. Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora make up what is arguably the best pass rushing DE combo in the NFL. Justin Tuck is a solid utility player on the Defensive Line as well. Tuck can rush the passer from both the DE and DT positions. Fred Robbins is an admirable run stopping DT. Hell, Dave Tollefson, the Packers 7th round pick last year, was even found picking up a sack against Tampa Bay in the Wild Card round.

The Giants do a good job of disguising blitzes with their LB's. Kawika Mitchell and Antonio Pierce relish the opportunity to rush the passer. Both have had tremendous post seasons.

I think the Packers will be able to attack the Giants secondary. They are banged up. Their starters - Kevin Dockery and Sam Madison - might not play. Both missed the Giants game. Back-up, 1st round pick, Aaron Ross started last week, but dislocated his shoulder. He claims that he will be able to play this week except the last time I saw him, he was standing on the sidelines with his arm in a sling. Corey Webster has been a ball hawk in the post season. He played very well against Dallas. He also intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble against Tampa Bay. RW McQuarters has been victimized by the Packers before and he will be victimized by the Packers again this week. Gibril Wilson is an above average safety who plays well in coverage, but the Giants other two safeties, Michael Johnson and James Butler, struggle in pass situations.

The best way to slow down a good pass rush is a solid run game. Ryan Grant, stay loose. I expect the Packers to come out and attempt to establish the run on the first possession. Probably in the "Falcon formation." Two TE's. Two FB's. Grant running right at Michael Strahan. In games past, Tauscher has performed very well against Strahan. I foresee a similar result from Tauscher this weekend. Grant running right. Cutting back into the teeth of the Giants defense. 6 yards. 14 yards. 3 yards. 11 yards. 8 yards. 2 yards. 7 yards. Banging away at the New York defense.

Grant slows down the pass rush. Welcome to the play-action pass. If Aaron Ross is on the field, his shoulder will be tested. Favre to Driver. Aaron Ross will not be able to arm tackle Donal Driver. Driver will enjoy yards after the catch. Favre to Franks for 6. Favre to K-Rob for a 1st down. Favre to the touchdown maker, Greg Jennings.

I could not recall the last time that the Packers came out of shotgun...Jones lined up wide right. The slot receiver lined up between Jones and Tauscher. The play was designed to drag James Jones across the middle underneath the slot receiver...putting Jones in space. Twice, last week, the Packers ran this play. Twice James Jones had BIG receptions. I do not remember the Packers running this play since the pre-season when Jones showed that he had the potential to make an impact as a rookie WR. In fact, the last time I recall the play was when Jones caught the ball and fumbled it against J'ville in the third pre-season game this year. Nonetheless, McCarthy impressed me by digging deep into the play book on two plays that led to 1st downs on 3rd down.

The Packers take an early lead. The temperature drops from 6 to 5 degrees. Eli no longer wants to get off the heated bench. Eli, it's OH SO COLD. He has not performed well in cold weather. Eli will not beat us. The pressure from the Packer defense intensifies. Kampman and KGB apply pressure. Jenkins, who played his best game of the year last week, continues to provide an inside push. Pickett plugs run holes. Corey Williams gets in Eli's face on 3rd down.

Chuckie lines up against Toomer as Toomer lines up in the slot. Rasta Al stands man-to-man with Plaxico. T-man Williams scratches and claws with Steve Smith on the outside.

The Giants do keep it close for most of the 1st half. They may even take a lead early in the 2nd Quarter. But, this is day for the G-Force. This is a day for the Packers to return to the Super Bowl. This is a day for McCarthy, Thompson, and Favre to stand at the podium and take back the NFC Championship trophy.

Green Bay 34. New York 20.

G-Force, this game is not about who is better. If the Packers and Giants played at Lambeau 10 times, the Packers would win 9 times. This game comes down to 2 things: Heart and Preparation.

Heart: The Packers must win the battle of the elements. The G-Force must also defeat the elements.

Preparation: I saw the Packers on the NFL Network for the first time this year. It was during the first couple of weeks of Training Camp. The NFL Network was televising the Packers scrimmage at Green Bay East High School. During the show, McCarthy could be heard saying that his motto for the 2007 season was defined by 6 P's: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. G-Force, we must do the same. Be prepared to BRING IT!

Lambeau, here I come!

Feelin' Super,

Talkin' S-Mac.

15 comments:

BlueGuy said...

I thought I would take an opportunity to peacefully give my take:

Giants should be:
-Nervous about Kareem McKenzie vs. Aaron Kampman - McKenzie gave up sacks to both Gaines Adams & Demarcus Ware in the last two weeks and despite all the hype Ware gets, Kampman may even be better (Dallas defense was overhyped all over the place).

-Nervous about the blocking abilities of Kevin Boss (big drop off from Shockey)

-Nervous about the blocking abilities of Ahmad Bradshaw

-Nervous about Woodson/Harris making plays

-Nervous about the G-Force at Lambeau, who dearly and admirably were cheering on a first down run by Grant following his two fumbles - probably would have been sarcastic cheers elsewhere

Giants want to see: S.Smith vs. T Williams. Smith has become a go-to guy for Manning b/c he is getting single coverage over the middle and is showing the ability to make a catch and is not scared to take a hit. He was also born in Alaska (but played HS in Cali).

Giants want to see: the matchup between the Giants two headed running game vs. the GB Linebackers; much like Ryan Grant, one missed tackle and Bradshaw could be gone.

Giants want to see: Domenik Hixon returning kicks...he's only received 8 kickoffs in '07 but has 221 yards and is very capable of making a big impact in this game.

Giants want to see: if Geoff Pope, who is from Detroit and runs a 4.2 in the 40 can come in and make an impact against Driver/Jennings and company...we'll also find out if he can make a living in the NFL.

Giants want to see: Justin Tuck coming into the Tackle position on third downs while bringing Kawika Mitchell from the linebacker position and having four serious pass rushers gunning for #4

Joe Philbin was talking about watching the Week 2 film today...he should know that this is not the same defense over 120 days later.

As for the weather, Marcus Pollard should be able to tell you that it should not affect a team full of Professionals. Mild weather in New York this week (mid 30's pretty much all week).

moneyman82 said...

hello everyone, i'm going to remain anonymous for the purpose of being anonymous but lets just say I'm from the empire state and am looking foward to this game like no other in my short history on this earth. I'm so excited to see a playoff game, nontheless an NFC Championship game played at the historic site of Lambeau Field, just fin great. Lets just say right now for the record, giants 17, packers 13, with a game winning drive in the early 4th quarter, set up by a Dixon return to midfield. I think Brett might have a little too much to deal with when 4 big, angry, black men are running and gunning for him. My concern for the game is the crowd and the noise and also green bay's "magical" season. You guys have had an unbelievalbe season, but so have the giants, they started 0-2 remember?! and now they one win away from playing the Patriots who slipped away with a win in the Meadowlands the last week of the season. The thought of Favre vs. Brady is epic and imagine if Brett announced that he would retire after the season no matter what happens in the super bowl that sounds so sentimental I want to cry, but don't worry guys Brett will be back next year after a bitter home loss to the giants.
I love all of you and this is in the spirit of competition, BUT LETS GO G-MEN

porterbela said...

The Packers will win purely based on McCarthy's ability to use alliteration.

Talkin' S-Mac said...

Ahhh, my friends from the Northeast...making an appearance on the blog. Welcome. Joe, good break down. Enjoyed reading a detailed analysis in the eyes of a Giants fan.

Drew, you are entitled to your opinion. I Grant you that. But, mate, how do you really feel that Eli will perform this weekend? I've heard you speak with frustration while discussing his ability to play in the cold. I heard on the radio that Game Time temperatures could range from minus 1 to minus 4 degrees!

I'll see you both on the corner of Bleeker and McDougal this spring...

BlueGuy said...

I'd like to hear a breakdown of Hawk/Barnett/Poppinga/etc...I've watched about 10 packers games this year (they've covered the spread for me I think in 9 of them) and this is a unit that I can't quite grasp how good they are. As I mentioned at the top, if ABradshaw44 can get through the line, if he makes one of these guys miss he could be off to the races...a play that could change the game. How consistent of tacklers are these guys?

vargas said...

G-Force!... What a crazy season so far..let's not stop now. This past weekend was as intense as anticipated and I am fairly certain Alana has never seen two grown men jump around hugging one another as we were..! But she was also on the computer within minutes of the giant victory booking our flights for WI.. What an awesome wife you have there Mckenna! All part of the G-force team...

What's this I see?..Giant fan on the packer blog?.. Hey guys, great win last week against an badly coached cowboys team. I don't want to take away from the win that I wanted so badly but Wade blows.. Joe you mention bradshaw who has been great the last three games. Against a poor buffalo team, good games in sunny fl and on the turf in Dallas. But whats the rook going to do against an the pack in cold, snowy lambeau? If the d holds their assignments we'll be fine...Jabobs wont get pass jenkins or pickett..If they do get by once Rasta-man will make sure they feel the sting.. Plax has been quiet as mentioned..let's hope he stays that way.. Eli will be eli..the last game when the weather sucked (buffalo) he had five turnovers. We aren't buffalo and we'll cause to's.

Our offense was as explosive as I've seen in sometime last week..I am sure mccarthy will have them ready... And what better veteran to have on the team than Favre! Grant's learned from his mistakes..and James Jones is coming on at the right time..

As we saw last game...we have to expect the unexpected and not take anything for granted.. Be Positive..Be confident..and above all be loud.. From the grace of the lambeau god's...I've been lucky enough to receive the green and gold ticket...and I will make my voice heard.. If you see a crazy mexican w/o his shirt don't get concerned...it's only vargas.


GO PACK GO!....

Stack said...

Guys,

Good gathering of thoughts here. I would say that one of my areas of focus in thinking about this game is the match between the Pack's DL and the Giants' OL. Giants have shown an ability to successfully run-block for a number of their sucka-ass running backs, Jacobs, Bradshaw, Ward, whatever. Their OL gets it done. I thought our DL played well last week, but I have a good sense of respect for the NYG OL. Point is, we need to stop the run untill we can get some points on the board and force them to throw the ball more frequently. This means more snaps on the inside for Jenks, more snaps in general for Pickett, Harrell needs to be consistent, and Cory Williams cannot get moved off the ball, Cory Williams cannot choose a side and go to it unless he can consistently beat his man into the backfield. We cannot allow CW to get washed off the line into our LBs laps. Jacobs is too big to stop in that scenario. We don't want any junk in front of our LBs, we want them coming downhill. Stop Jacobs before he gets going downhill. Not that he's unathletic or slow afoot, but make him shuffle before he gets started and we've already won that battle.

Manning has played well down the stretch. But he's still green in terms of experience. Never been the NFC Championship. Never been to the Super Bowl. We've got Brett, Wood, Rob Davis, veteran leaders who have been there. They know what it's like to win at this stage, they know what its like to lose. Veteran leaders at key positions in numbers that I do not see equally reflected in the NYG.

Charles Woodson has his best single play of the year still in front of him. Mark these words.

Favre will have 4 angry black men chasing him? Yeah, true, for the 275th consecutive time, 4 guys will be chasing Favre. I would think that with a 17 year-long resume, Favre might work the hard count or run some audibles/dummy audibles to throw the G-Men off. For one evening, Favre will even break his subconscious man-crush tendencies by not throwing an interception directly to Michael Strahan.

McK, you're dead on with the score. I'm there. Packers break 30, Giants won't.

Talkin' S-Mac said...

G-Force, represent, represent!!!

Chern & Vargas staking claims! Lovin' it. Beyond excited for a couple of Titletown Johnny The Blood McNally's and a trip to Lambeau.

Joe - with regard to our LB core...when Hawk gets you - you go backwards. Shoulder. Chest. Turf.

Barnett should have been a Pro Bowler. He does not force an abundance of turnovers, but he's been a sure tackler. He plays with a fierce mentality. He's our energy guy at MLB.

Poppinga is frustrating. He cannot move laterally. He'll do well against a guy like Jacobs. Straight ahead - Poppinga wins the battle. Bradshaw is shifty and could juke Poppinga...at that stage, Ras-A-tari and Nickie C will be waiting. Our safeties are very good run defenders...sure tacklers as well.

Chern, I wholeheartedly agree that the Pack must dominate at the DT position. Win the point of attack against a physical NYG OL and the Pack is traveling to Arizona.

BlueGuy said...

Just to add on to my original post, the NY buzz has been chatty about Steve Smith attacking T. WIlliams on Sunday.

Also as an FYI, Ras-Atari in week two took out Steve Smith for 6 weeks with a pretty nasty (yet clean) hit.

moneyman82 said...

scotty, how did you know it was me?? haha, i know you can see the location of where the post was created,,, I actually had a dream/nightmare this morning before I woke up of a 26-7 halftime lead for the pack,,i woke up when the giants started scoring again, so I don't know the final, but I thought i should mention that, showing just how much this game means to all of us,, so much fun!!! yeah it will be tough for Eli, but hopefully he can continue to just manage the game successfully and when he needs to get nasty he will. The giants need to try and somehow eliminate Favre's ability to hit the quick slant and if he does complete one to tackle and tackle well. no big plays on 5 yard slant throws. and no over the top throws of course, either. well anyways I'm off to work, i'm not posting anymore for this is a G-Force blog and I'll let all of you talk game plan.. Good luck, i enjoyed reading everyone's input.

BlueGuy said...

Nahh Andy, this is now a blog about the Giants vs. Packers.

I can talk about this game until the weather is warm in Wisconsin...

...Your point about the slant is right on, however i think that is important for ANY team playing the pack. I am pretty sure they lead the league in Y.A.C. this year and those 10 yard slants to Jennings are dangerous as hell...you HAVE to wrap those up. I get nervous about guys getting too aggressive and going for the ball in taht spot, missing it, and BOOM its an 80 yard TD followed by a Leap...can't have that.

Where is Pat Radzciozwoitsiskivitzowizlski??

A-Star said...

Go Pack Go! I will be holding down the fort in M-I-A, mixing those rasberry vodka bloody mary's, eating some brats, and doing the thang....SO STOKED! Have a great time at the game! Much Love! A*

Stack said...

Ryan Pickett press conference...

Reporter: "What do you have, like 30 pounds on Jacobs...?"

Pickett: "I got a little more on him than that...(laughs)"



Rule for Interior Lineman, as told by Ryan Pickett:
"If you're over 300 pounds, you can't wear sleeves."

How soon can my authentic Pickett jersey make it from the Pro Shop and get on my body...?

bleedin green said...

Feeling good about this week. The Giants have had a good run and definitely turned a tough start around to a great season but I just don't feel like they can match the Packers toe for toe. I think the Packers can turn those blitzes into big gains and welcome pulling cover guys from their original duties to chase the quarterback. Brett is one of the best at reading blitzes and audibling. Favre and his receivers are so in synch this year too.

To dude that posted Favre will "have a little too much to deal with when 4 big, angry, black men are running and gunning for him"...ya seen a Packer game in the last 17 years, man? I know this comment is coming from a good-hearted spirit of the game statement. But ya know brother, I'd bet he's fairly used to it. He's had some of the leagues all-time greats running and gunning for him and sometimes stood them up with a stiff arm. Bring it on, we'll see how it plays out!

Go Pack!
G-Force is strong as ever!
Scotty and Vargas: bring it, rock Lambeau!

Talkin' S-Mac said...

G-Force!

Live from Lambeau where I woke up and experienced -11 degrees. Yes! Minus 11 degrees. You read that right. Seriously, this is a 93 degree difference in temperature within a 24 hour span. Crazy!

The weather stings the teeth. If a portion of your body is exposed - even in the least bit - it is instantly frosty.

Tomorrow will be an experience. The mayor of Green Bay has temporarily changed one of the streets in Green Bay. Originally, it was named New York Ave...but, for the weekend, the New York Ave is crossed out and instead, it has been renamed McCarthy Way. Epic.

The energy in Green Bay is tremendous. Confidence is high. Naturally, people are stoked. The parking lot at Lambeau is PACKED the day before kickoff. Loaded with anxious G-Force rage. Ready to unload on G-Men flavor.

Yes, it is the FROZEN TUNDRA!

Enjoy.

Talkin' S-Mac.