Tag Archives: NFL

A look ahead to week 4: New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles 30th Sept 2012


Following a wild few days of football the Giants are in a strong position.

Cam Newton crosses the goal line to give Carolina their only points of the day

On Thursday night they dismantled a good Panthers team in a game that no-one expected them to win. It was effectively over after the second drive. The rest of the game Eli and his cast of back-ups shone (Dre Brown and Ramses Barden in particular but also in the secondary.) Cam Newton embarrassed himself (a ‘Superman’ celebration after a 1 yard score when his team were trailing by 23 points) and sulked for the rest of the game.


Backup running back Andre Brown dominated the Panthers ‘D’ behind excellent line play.

Following a Redskins loss which drops them to 1-2, an Eagles loss which drops them to 2-1 and a Cowboys win which moved them to 2-1 the Giants are in the mix of the NFC East and currently looking like the strongest team in the division. Only a tie-breaker with Dallas separating them from the division lead.

All three of the Giants NFC East rivals looked sloppy in their games on Sunday. Dallas’ O-line was shocking and Jason Witten has been a non-factor – they were lucky to win. The Redskins sputtered after a strong first two weeks and again their O-line looked shoddy and their Defense porous.

The Eagles struggled to eke out wins in Weeks 1 & 2 (winning each week by 1 point), yesterday they fumbled the game away and let Vick get pounded into the ground (13 hits including 5 sacks) he doesn’t have the build or stamina to take up that pace of a beating and can’t be looking forward to facing the giants D-linemen next week. The Eagles run and pass game looked bad, not as bad as their non-existent pass-rush and run-defence though.

Following the Giants’ win on Thursday they have 10 days to get healthy and prepare for the Eagles and Eli is always excellent on the road in Philly.

Here are my keys to the game:


The Cardinals pass rush left Vick battered and bruised on Sunday.

Giants D-Line against Michael Vick

The Giants need to get pressure up the middle on Vick but maintain their rush lanes and discipline. The Cardinals showed the blueprint for this and you better believe Perry Fewell was watching. Pressure in his face and hard disciplined pursuit by DEs and Linebackers. They can’t give him an escape route to squirt out the pocket like Romo did in week 1. They were great against Cam on Thursday, they need more of the same.

The ends can’t get forced too far up the field or the draw and screen games and quick dump off passes to the running back will hurt them.

Giants LBs against ‘Shady’ McCoy

The Giants linebackers need to be stout in run defence and wrap up on their tackles. McCoy is probably the best cutback runner in the league and makes plays when the play breaks down, often reversing field completely. The linebackers need to know where he is and bring him down. They also need to fill the holes and be alert for screens and swing passes. McCoy in the open field is a nightmare.

Can Boley get his fourth interception in as many games?

Giants Secondary against the Eagles pass game

Jackson and Maclin both have the speed to blow the top off the Giants battered secondary while Avant and Celek can get open behind the linebackers against a zone defence. The Giants need to hold up in coverage long enough to pressure Vick with the front 4. Give him time and there will be plenty of big plays down the field for him to take.

Eli Manning against the Eagles pass rush

The Eagles love rushing from a ‘wide 9’ formation. Eli has to recognise this and exploit it with the run and screen passes when possible and when the Eagles blitz he needs to exploit the one on one match ups with Cruz and Nicks on the outside.

In the redzone look for Bennett and his new best-friend Barden to be the in targets Eli looks to for the TD.

My prediction: 17-10 Giants if they stay healthy and disciplined and the pass rush gets home against Vick.


Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @anthonysavell


‘Manning delivers -with his mouth’ by ESPN’s Ian Connor


A commentary on Thursday night’s Giants @Panthers game.

Manning delivers -with his mouth

For my look ahead to this game see here:

A look ahead to week 3

How did I do?


Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @anthonysavell

Sunburn, Beer pong and a fourth quarter showcase by Manning: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Giants 16th Sept 2012


I’m back from New Jersey and it was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had!

For a look back at the game there is a good article here:

A look back at the Giants’ 41-34 win against the Buccaneers

I got to the tailgate at about 8am and wandered around for an hour or so before approaching a group to see if I could buy a beer. I made the right choice! The guys that I met gave me the beer, and many more and fed me all morning until kickoff. I couldn’t have met a nicer group of fans. They made my trip.

Mike, Joe, Chris & Jaime – the four best people in the world to tailgate with before a game

We played Beer-Pong (a complex game that I won’t go into here) all morning, ate great food and generally laughed away the morning until kickoff:

Joe teaching me the nuances of Beer Pong

Chatting about Giants football and catching the sun

I arrived in the stadium (merry from plenty of lager) in time for the National Anthem. My seat in row 1 was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t have been closer to the field and when the ball was at the far end the HD screens were just like watching on TV so you didn’t miss a moment. They even had NFL Redzone highlights on of other games during the TV timeouts.

A rather sunburnt me in MetLife stadium during the game.

Andre Brown (Running Back) awaits the opening kickoff. After Ahmad Bradshaw’s injury Brown carried the load for the Giants and averaged 5.5yards per carry and a TD.

The view from my seat as Brown celebrates his TD late in the 4th to give the Giants their lead.

A professional photo of the same celebration

The Giants celebrate another TD

The Giants D gets to work in the 4th quarter after tying the game

Eli throws a toss to rookie first round pick David Wilson in the 3rd quarter.

The next day’s New York Post celebrating Eli’s record breaking day

One final word on the replacement referees; there seemed to be a lot of contact and holding by Corner-backs on receivers down the field and very few flags. At least one of these led to an interception and others led to big missed plays. The NFL needs to get it together and get a deal done to get the real refs back on the field – and they need it done quickly.

Fumbles, flags and corners. Thoughts following the Giants’ loss to the Cowboys

I won’t re-hash the whole game Notorious-Ohm has done a great job of capturing the five key factors that led to the Giants’ loss here:

5 plays that shaped the game.

My thoughts are this:

We desperately need depth at the centre of the D-line. By the end of the 3rd quarter the Defensive tackles looked done in.

The defence looked strong against the run in the first half and whiffed badly on a few plays in the second half – notably the 48 yard run that should have been a 4 yard loss. Murray evaded tackles by Kiwi and Tuck in the backfield, got some blockers and almost went the distance. The running style and broken tackles was what my friend Danny would describe as “slippery business”. The Giants need to wrap up on tackles and stay with the play.

For a deep and vaunted linebacking corps we looked slow at times flowing left and right against slant routes and slow later in the game to step up and plug the A & B gaps.

The secondary was already in tatters, Corey Webster (1st string) and Micheal Coe (4th string) starting on either side at cornerback. This often meant the 3rd receiver (Kevin Ogletree) was lined up against a special teamer or a Safety (usually Rolle) – as a result he had a big night. The situation got worse in the 3rd quarter when Coe went down with a hamstring injury meaning Justin Tryon would be matched up against Ogletree & Miles Austin (a huge mismatch which led to two key plays – a 34 yard TD to Austin on a first and 30 and a completion to lose out the game on a third and 10 to Ogletree). There was no excuse for Webster – who is our best corner- to miss badly on a 40 yard TD from a double move by Ogletree or a big play for 40 yards by Dez Bryant either.

The Pass Rush looked strong, but if you are banged up in the secondary the rush has no time to get home. Romo was looking for short slants and swings and connecting on them all night. In fairness to him he played a great game and was phenomenal at improvising when a play broke down and he escaped the pocket. We have to face Freeman, Newton and Vick in the next few weeks who are also excellent out of the pocket – this will be a real test of rush lane and assignment responsibility of the D-line.

Offensively we struggled and sputtered. The line needs to shore up in pass protection and get downhill and violent in run blocking. They didn’t open any holes for Bradshaw all night he was running into a wall of bodies all game long – they need to get more ‘push’

The pass game struggled a bit. Nicks looked rusty and maybe a tad slow in his first action since breaking his foot, Cruz looked distracted and made one key drops – he acknowledged it was a poor game for him – albeit he would have had a TD but for a non-call by the refs on a clear pass interference on a 3rd and goal. Domenik Hixon however looked strong and made the catch of the game in double coverage to set up a TD. If he had arms an inch or two longer then he’d have had a touch down of his own earlier in the game on a slightly over-thrown ball from Manning.

The run game struggled behind poor offensive line play and 1st round draft pick David Wilson fumbled on his second carry – a toss play on the Dallas 29 (within field goal range) it didn’t lead to Dallas points but it was critical. Wilson seemed to take it hard – this is good in one way: he cares about his mistakes, but he needs to have a short memory and not dwell on mistakes – just get out and correct them. He ruled himself out of the game with how he responded.

So the ‘champs’ came back to earth with a bump, they have 10 days to put it right before a home game against the Buccaneers. They need to win their next one as going 0-2 will put them well behind the 8-ball in a division with (what appears to be) a much improved Dallas team and a dangerous Redskins and Eagles in it. They have the toughest schedule in the league this year and they need to play with more intensity and less mistakes – most of all they badly need help at cornerback!

One last thing; the replacement referees looked shoddy and out of their depth – hopefully this situation gets sorted soon. Kiwanuka reportedly said ‘I haven’t been held this much since I was a baby’



NY Daily News Game Report Cowboys @ Giants 5th Sept 2012

Season Opening Game Report by Ebenezer Samuel & Kristie Ackert

I’ll blog my thoughts later in the week when I recover from being so tired and disappointed. Still, next time the Giants take the field I can show my support for them in person.

Thoughts from the Hall of Fame Game: Saints @ Cardinals 5th August 2012


Saints Offense

The Saints offensively haven’t missed a beat despite their tumultuous off-season. 10 of their 11 starting players returned from 2011. The first (and only) drive by Drew Brees was a clinic. Good quick ball control passes, screens, swing passes and short hooks.

I don’t think I’ve seen a team with better depth at running back, they all looked hellishly fast and they are stacked with at least four runners who could be classed as starters.

Backup Chase Daniels looked solid at QB leading the Saints. You could tell he’s been learning from Brees. He knew when to scramble, when to stand ‘tall’ (he’s only 6-foot) in the pocket and made good decisions including switching to a ‘smoke’ play (changing a run to a quick pass after the snap).

Saints Defense

The unit which was missing its captain in Jonathan Vilma looked solid and well coached (Steve Spagnulo knows what he’s doing). Against the abysmal Kolb-led offense though it is hard to tell whether the ‘D’ were playing well or the Cardinals were sputtering.

Cardinals Offense

Kolb looked to be uncomfortable, his line didn’t afford him much protection (eventually resulting in an injury that ended his day), but he looked like he wanted to roll-out and leave the pocket before any pressure was close. The injury has to be a concern – he seems to pick them up easily. I also didn’t like his attitude, clearly frustrated and in pain but he refused to shake John Skelton’s hand when he came onto the field.

Skelton looked like the better QB (once he got into a rhythm). He had ‘zip’ on the ball, made good decisions (for the most part) and good throws. The TD drive he led looked impressive.


In conclusion though the QBs ranked in order for the day were really:


I’d have thought that with a strong pre-season Daniels won’t do his chances of a good contract any harm at all. Very impressive- certainly I’m sure the Cards may be interested in a trade for him next season if they don’t sort their issues out at signal caller!


New York Giants Training Camp Report 4th August 2012

Training camp update from Mike Garafolo of NJ.com