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Sunday, November 30, 2008

NY Giants 23 Redskins 7

1) Another great win by this team, thoroughly dismantling the Skins. The score is not even doing it justice. But no complaints, a nice quality win.

2) There were so many reasons to lose this game for the Giants. All the distractions, no Burress, Pierce caught up in the criminal activity (Burress will be charged with felony possession tomorrow). No Robbins. No Bradshaw. Redskins emotional pregame honors for Sean Taylor. Redskins NEED this game. Hixon not 100%. To come ready to play, to be so professional, to play and match that intensity early and finish this game with a solid win, what more is there to say?

3) No Giants team has ever been 11-1. We have been saying all season that this is not your father's Giants offense- this offense is loaded. And the record is part of that proof.

4) The Redskins said 'we are going to put 8 men in the box to stop your run game' and Gilbride/Manning answered by passing successfully. That was the main reason why this Giants offense got it done.

5) The Giants defense was excellent. Phil Simms nailed it once again, remarking that the Redskins offense was not getting it done and would not get it done today. He was correct. The Giants defense stopped their run, stopped Portis and ...

6) COREY WEBSTER stopped Santana Moss. What can you say about Webster? He is a rising star. The refs (browning brown) had a terrible call on him to take away his INT. Joke. Even Daryl Johnston and Howie Long (addendum: and Bob Costas on the NBC pregame!) criticized the call, which means it was HORRIBLE. Webster had a few more plays defensed, and his play to breakup (and almost intercept) the bubble screen to Moss in Q4 was just awesome.

7) Kevin Gilbride did really well, mixing up the playcalling, not using too many runs when the skins showed so much loaded box. Two slip screens to Ward, that is a great playcall vs the 8 men in the box. After the Ross INT, it is 1st and 10 and everyone on the planet is thinking run from your own 3 yard line, out of a run formation they throw a quick slant to Hixon for 18 yards. FANTASTIC. That is what you see from Walsh, attacking with Montana to Taylor or Rice when everyone is thinking run. We criticize Gilbride for his predictable playcalling, and while he was not perfect today (running plays in H1 not needed at all!), he was very good and answered with the pass playcalls.

8) Manning said it was a lot of 8-9 men in the box, so he threw the ball well too in order to get it done. 305 yards in the air. Manning remarked that his receivers juked the DBs because of the slick surface, that they had the advantage. There were a lot of dropped balls on both sides, but nonetheless Toomer, Hixon, Ward all had 5 receptions, they got it done.

9) Giants OL gets it done yet again. Nothing on them in the run game, too many bodies to block. And in pass coverage they gave Manning plenty of time to throw. The two sacks were caused by (a) Boss and (b) Manning holding the ball too long.. it will get charged to Seubert but it was not on Seubert.

10) Carney is a machine on FGs, but our kickoff coverage and nets are terrible.

11) Aaron Ross with an important INT. That was a point in the game when the Skins were moving the ball, and even though it was like a long punt to the 3 yard line, it was an important turnover, derailing and demoralizing the Redskins offense.

12) Fundamentally, the Giants made the tackles. No excessive yards after the catch, exception being the one TD play which was a reverse, taking advantage of the overpursuit. Spags/Pierce fingerprints were all over the place, in proper coverages so often.

Summary: This Giants team is playing as consistently and at as high a level as I have seen in a long time. The score did not reflect how well the Giants played. The Giants win vs winning teams, at home, on the road, with subs, with distractions. There is nothing that I can see that can derail the offense except not adapting to other teams trying to overload run, and lately the Giants are adapting just fine. Eli Manning did it all on offense and Corey Webster is making a big difference to the team on defense. The silence from his receiver (Santana Moss), yet again deafening.

NYG-WASH intragame commentary, note Bradshaw and Robbins out

K Lawrence Tynes
WR Plaxico Burress
CB Sam Madison
RB Ahmad Bradshaw
LB Jonathan Goff
T Adam Koets
DE Jerome McDougle
DT Fred Robbins

Hixon is gimpy, he is certainly going to be an integral part of this game. Moss and Manningham better be ready, they will see playing time too. Surprised McDougle was deactivated when Robbins was unable to go. That early Bradshaw injury vs Ariz was more significant than we thought, hope is it precautionary. Ware/Droughns could see some action depending on how healthy Jacobs is. Ward can handle most of the load, as was done last week. Marvelous: "If we win today w/o all of these players, with Hixon less than 100%, my hat's off to the Giants, it would be a tremendous win."

Two Year Anniversary of Ultimatenyg NY Giants Blog

Today is the two year anniversary of the Ultimatenyg NY Giants blog. No cake or candles, but something better... the Giants vs the Redskins today at 1PM. We'll do some Simms recap later this morning (note, posted behind this post, see below), but first some Burress circus.

There is a great deal of speculation swirling around #17. Some believe he has already played his last game as a NY Giant. There are a myriad number of possibilities, ranging from criminal charges, NFL suspension, contract nullification, or something much less. With Goodell attempting to take a firm stance on these types of matters, and with NY Giants team disciplinary history already there, do not expect the Giants to offer Burress protection. They are an organization who not only plays by the rules, they do not like it when others try to skirt them. So I look for the Giants to seek redress at some point on his bonus and look to trade/cut him.

As we await more details of the incident, I find it at the very least alarming and at worst damning that his wife would not allow the police into their house for questioning.

"We are not in the business of well-adjusted human beings:" Let's put ourselves in the shoes of the Giants administration. They have dealt with him holding out of minicamp, a training camp slowdown, missed meetings, one game suspension, domestic disturbances, disciplinary benching for first quarter of a game. The Seinfeld yada yada yada. Now guns and gunshots. At some point they have to cut the cord. Time to move on without anymore sideshow distractions than necessary. Would you have someone working for YOU with this track record?

The Giants organization has the most patience of ANY TEAM in the entire league. I do not want to hear it for one second from anyone that the Giants were wrong in parting ways if and when they do. The gmen are saints for all I am concerned; they gave this man way many more chances than he deserved BEFORE AND BECAUSE he helped them win a championship. All they have to show for their noble efforts is an employee who continues to disrespect them and himself. Next.

Oh, one last thing to all other teams in the NFL- if you think you are going to do something better by bottomfeeding a la Jones for Pacman, think again. There isn't an organization who could have done it any better than the Giants. Drew Rosenhaus calling Al Davis, come in Al Davis.

ADDENDUM 8:30AM- waking up to hear that Pierce was involved. Anyone with any legal expertise please comment on whether his attorney will be able to 'stave off criminal charges' for being an accessory. Ugly, all of this.

Phil Simms Week 13

1) Burress fiasco- It will impact Giants in as much as they will miss Plax, but not past him. Plax won games for them. The team will be strong. It can hurt the team because there was an extra guy who was staying deep instead of worrying about the run. How many times did Plax make the key catch at the key time? MANY times. Separately, the Giants offense better than the Cowboys offense, but they will still miss Burress.

2) QB Matt Stafford from Georgia will likely be the #1 pick in the draft, QB Sam Bradford from Oklahoma will likely be #2. This is good news for the Lions, as they have 3 picks in the top 33, and everyone who is a JR will be jumping for the 2009 draft because they are afraid of the rookie salary clause changing in 2010.

3) Jets - Denver. Both QBs will handle the rain. Jets will not just line up and shut down the Denver passing game. (Raiders pass defense can do that to the Broncos, but the problem with the Raiders was the run defense.) Broncos/Cutler very good passing game, the Jets will not stop them, but they need to get a credible pass rush in order to slow them down. Hard to attack the Jets offense, great running game, formations, movement, the sheer # of plays, Favre is an unbelievable short thrower, all meshing together. Singled out Leon Washington and Dustin Keller.

4) Steelers at NE- The extra days for the Jets, fresher legs helped them vs the Titans, the Steelers have the extra days for this game. Pitt defense can cover WRs, what sets apart the pitt defense is their LBs (Woodley and Harrison). Moss buried the Dolphins last week when they singled him. Moss is still one of the best, he gets it done 1 on 1. NE can play 10 on 9 when Moss is doubled. Do it all game. Casell is now a better runner, he goes straight up the middle because of Moss being doubled. NE cannot cover in the red zone. Cannot pressure the QB consistently.

5) Re last weeks's Colts-Chargers game...that timeout call by Norv Turner to decide whether to go for FG or TD was a disaster. In the pros, you cannot mismanage the clock like that, that is what you are paid to do in those moments. (Recapping, with 1:30 left, instead of letting the clock go down to 1:00 and kicking FG, the chargers call a TO, and then go for the FG, which gives Manning plenty of time to go down the field and kick the FG for the win, which is exactly what they did.Either kick the FG at 1:00 or go for it on 4th and 1 with 1:30.)

6) CLE-IND. Cleveland is a mess, they do not get it done in crunch time. Colts without Saturday and Sanders, but Phil still not ready to say that Colts can't get it done because he has such a low opinion of Cleveland.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Plaxico Burress Shot, John Clayton ESPN reports

Not a life-threatening injury. First things first, we all hope the man is okay, which is what it sounds like. A distant second, for the Giants, the Burress circus side show continues.

Showtime Phil Simms Week 13

Phil Simms, one of our NFL gurus on Ultimatenyg NY Giants Blog, has had the best won-loss record on Showtime's Inside the NFL program (link highly recommended) for 5 consecutive weeks and has the best record for the season. "I'm shocked, shocked.." NOT!

1) PIT vs NE- Pittsburgh has good defensive matchups vs the Patriots. NE has one of the worst defenses in the red zone this year.

2) NYG vs WASH- "The Redskins are having trouble moving the football against everybody. The Giants have one of the best defenses in the NFL. That's going to be good enough for the Giants to win."

3) NO vs TB. Simms takes Tampa Bay.

4) CAR at GB. After (ugly) performance on Monday night, emotion, GB to win.

5) CHI at MINN. Simms takes MINN.

6) DEN at NYJ. Jets are running the ball extraordinarily well, did it against Tenn Titans, will do it against Denver.

McConkey and Bavaro

Good stuff from McConkey and Bavaro that will put a smile on your face and remind us that it is all about championships.

Part 1

Part 2

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Eagles

Behind enemy lines in Philly, spoke with a family friend who is a lifelong Eagles fan. He knows the Eagles inside out, goes to all the games. This is what he said:

1) After 10 years of Reid, he has to be removed.

2) Reid as head coach AND General Manager is not a good combination.

3) Eagles have never had a FB, it kills their short ground game. Reid is the GM, the blame goes back to him for never having one.

4) Yes, Jackson is good, but opposing defenses are going over the top (cover2) now to limit him. He has ONE TD all season, the Giants end-around, so as good an impact as he has made, he is still a rookie and is now reaching a ceiling. Lack of WR is going to be traced back to Reid as GM.

5) Short yardage a killer for the Eagles all season, Bears, Giants, Ravens games only a few examples. The reason why is that their Center and Guard (Jackson and Herremans) are bad, Andrews is terrific but he has been in and out of the lineup due to injury (only 2 starts this season). Andrews can cover up for them when he is in, but only so much. These guys are better in pass protect, but cannot run block to save themselves. Pretty nasty derogatory remarks about Herremans in particular.

6) Reid has lost his mind. When McNabb came into the league, Reid orchestrated McNabb's introduction very carefully, picking the week after a bye when the opponent was a weak Redskins team. Contrast that with how he now put in Kolb... against a stronger Ravens defense at halftime! Not helping the rookie one bit with that move.

7) Eagles fans unfortunately may have to see McNabb go somewhere else (Vikings?) and then watch as he becomes successful there, the same way Cunningham became successful with Carter and Moss. This is not preferred to see McNabb leave.. keep him for another coach and see how he does.

8) The moves by the Eagles to trade their first round pick down to the second round are very good, but the problem is that the Eagles are still poor evaluators of talent and the draft is not benefitting them nearly enough. And since Reid is the GM too, the blame once again goes right back to him. Add the fact that he is a terrible in-game manager and the worst clock manager, and his time is up. You spend 10 years as a head coach and you do not win a title, time to move on.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sacks allowed

One of the reasons why the Giants offensive line is being lauded is obviously because the Giants are the #1 rushing team in the NFL. But the second reason is that Manning is getting protected week in, week out. In 2007 the Giants offensive line allowed 29 sacks in 16 games. This year, after 11 games, they have allowed 13 sacks, which is on pace for 19 sacks for the season. This is such an impressive stat. (Separately, if you want perspective on what they put David Carr through in his rookie season, click on his name. Talk about damaging a guy's career.)

Some of it is being a veteran QB. We noted on Sunday evening's recap how well Manning was stepping into the pocket, buying an extra precious second or two to find his receiver downfield. Veteran QBs like Marino, Elway, Brady and Peyton Manning have always been artful at sensing the rush and getting rid of the ball. There is NO DOUBT that Eli has gotten better this season at sensing the pass rush. So to ignore this and give all the credit to the OL is an error. But nonetheless, the OL is certainly getting the job done. When you consider that David Diehl had 13.5 sacks allowed by himself in 16 games last year, he has obviously made tremendous improvement. He deserves to be singled out, especially after this blog's criticism of him last year. The Giants scheme to give Diehl help (especially against the faster edge rushers), but clearly he is getting it done.

Another perspective on the performance of the OL is penalties. Anecdotally (in the absence of granular OL statistics) the amount of holding penalties we have seen from the offensive line has been pretty low too. Certainly the number of Petitbrown false starts is way down last year and this year.

Summary: the OL is doing it in the run game (#1), sacks allowed (#6), penalties. The only thing we could do better is see them in more of the time at the end WINNING the game for the team. When the play calling (ie 4:02 left in Q4 of AZ game) is varied, they can do that ably.

ps please email or comment if you are able to supply us with a site that has individual (not team) penalty statistics and/or individual sacks allowed statistics.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bradshawlic's Anonymous Meeting #2

Bradshaw Math: 44-52=77

My name is Andy and I am a Bradshawlic. It has been many weeks since my last Bradshaw TD. When he got a few carries against the Ravens, then proceeded to fake Ray Lewis out of his jock strap on his way to that 77 yard carry, it was sweet music. Two more yards and the world would have known what we already KNOW. 4 more yards for the day and he would have had 100, a noteworthy accomplishment. Instead he once again was buried in the back of a 200 yard performance. Yes, there is no "I" in "TEAM." And the Giants are 10-1, so I am not going to be a LenDale White and cry about the carries when my team has won 91% of its games.

But I can be a Bradshawlic!

It is bad enough that Bradshaw gets so few carries. Check out this little ditty- Bradshaw has 3 pass catches this season (1 of which is for a TD, a coincidence?!)... and Ward has (gulp) 31 pass catches! Whatthebrown! 3? 31? What is going on around here? And just to make me not commit myself to Bradshawlic Rehab, Ralph Vacchiano (Bullet 2)has given us a reality check for wondering aloud, is there a Bradshaw conspiracy when Jacobs goes down and Bradshaw still only gets 4 carries?



Hand the ball off to Bradshaw. Throw the ball to Bradshaw. Bring in Bradshaw in short yardage. Bring in Bradshaw in the red zone. I keep saying there is no reason we can't score 40 points per game with this offense. If Bradshaw were playing the sane minutes he deserves, this offense could score 50 points per game. You think I'm nuts, right? I do not kid about these things, Giants fans. Dead serious. START YOUR BEST BACK ALREADY. His name is Ahmad Bradshaw.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An interesting perspective

The last three teams that have repeated as Super Bowl champions the next season.

The 1988 49ers 9-2 after 11 games.

The 1998 Broncos 11-0 after 11 games.

The 2004 Patriots 10-1 after 11 games.

If this is any indication, the Giants are on track, right where they should be.

Re the Super Bowl, Giants are 1.6/1 favorites according to one site with updated odds. Those prices are "asking," not midpoint. So you have to figure that the Giants are about a 30% chance for winning the Super Bowl. And that implies they are a ~46% shot for making the Super Bowl. Figure the Jets to be an underdog against the Giants in the Super Bowl if they make it, implying a ~22% chance to be in the game. That means a 10% chance at a NY Super Bowl, a ~42% chance neither are there, and a 48% chance one of them is there. Still way too many games to be played... just trying to be a little more analytical and quantitative, using the betting money's objectivity.

addendum: the site with the odds updated after post... new odds reflected above.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New York Giants vs New York Jets in Super Bowl XLIII?!

NY Jets vs NY Giants in Super Bowl XLIII? Are you kidding me?! No we are not. In fact, we will remind you where you read about it first.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

NYGiants 37 Arizona 29


2) We said it all week, the Giants OFFENSE needed to step up and score 40 points to win this game... they did and the team won.

3) Eli Manning was outstanding. Akin to the Bengals game, the AZ defense gave the Giants a lot of 8 man fronts. The Giants were not going to run for 200 yards today, so Manning and the passing game had to answer. He answered emphatically. End of midseason malaise. The stats will not do Manning justice. He managed every single phase of the offense beautifully. He was 26/33, but of 7 incompletions at least 3 or 4 were dropped by his receivers. One of the things that is always there in Eli's game is his control over everything. He knows exactly what he wants. Granted he had problems with crowd noise early, but he managed that too. And then there is the way he steps into the pocket when the pass rush is coming. It buys him that extra split second and that means the difference between winning and losing in the NFL.

4) The officiating was horrendous. This is such an old story in the NFL this season. The point here is this is why the Giants need to strive to eliminate ALL mistakes... because these refs are so terrible that you do not want to let their arbitrary decisions cost you the game. So the Giants won despite more than a few bad calls. Good for the Giants.

5) Manning took a beating on a handful of plays. There were a few times where he got driven into the ground WORSE than the horrendous call when Tuck was flagged for a personal foul (against Dallas 3 weeks ago). The hypocrisy is incredible.

6) The Giants run defense was never challenged.

7) Carney is gin on the short FGs, but his lack of leg is hurting the Giants' kickoff coverage.

8) Before anyone gets too excited about this Giants win, please remember that the Giants got TWO turnovers from Kurt Warner (resulting in +10 points for the gmen) PLUS one failed onside kick attempt (+3 points) PLUS two fantastic Hixon kickoff returns of 68 and 83 yards (+10 points). So those little nuggets added up to 23 points of the Giants 37 total scored. Yes, they all count, but the message is that down the road the offense is going to need to keep scoring on offense because opponents like the Cardinals (and other teams with good QBs) will score. CONTINUE TO USE THAT OFFENSE TO WIN GAMES.

9) Lots of players need to be singled out in the game. Of course Hixon pulled another performance like that against Seattle. Give him the minutes (on the offense AND on kickoffs) and he is an impact player, period. Phillips looked very good out there today. His speed in the secondary allows him to cover a lot of ground, and you see that when he closes in on plays, either stopping a TD (Fitzgerald, Q1) or containing plays and eliminating yards after catch. (Daryl Johnston did a good job of pointing out how the Giants defense did a great job of containing YAC.) And then there are the players you simply do not hear from, like Corey Webster. The silence is deafening. He is anchoring the entire secondary right now because he is quietly shutting it down. Against the best. Of course there is Pierce, who as traffic cop, according to Goose, was calling Arizona's run and pass plays before the snap, as well as (according to Johnston) calling for Thomas to move over to a certain position before the snap, which led to his INT.

10) Gilbride. He still is predictable in the second down and 10 yards or less after a first down pass play... you know a run is coming. But that said, he called a very good game because (a) he went away from the run when the Cardinals were loading up at the line and (b) he did NOT go into the prevent offense with 4:02 left. Excellent. He and Coughlin respected Arizona's offense enough to know that they had to demand enough of their offense to WIN the game instead of asking the defense not to lose it. And win it they did, by driving 30 yards to the AZ 16 yard line for the FG.

11) It is almost not worth noting, but I will post the obvious. Everyone in tomorrow's media will be glowing about how the Giants won without Jacobs and Burress. For many on this blog, we know that the success of the Giants and the offense in particular this season has not been about those two players. So when one or both were a threat not to be in the game today, there was EXACTLY ZERO alarm this week from this corner because the Giants are so browning loaded at RB and WR that this team was not going to miss ANYTHING. I for one was actually salivating at the thought of guys like Hixon and Bradshaw getting more minutes. These guys are not only ready for primetime, they ARE primetime. So let the media fawn over the Giants winning on the road w/o the "name" stars of Jacobs and Burress... the real name stars who are indispensable are Diehl, Seubert, O'Hara, Snee, McKenzie and Manning. When the Giants win without those 6 guys, we can gush.

Intragame Commentary ARIZ-NYG

No Jacobs = more Ward and a lot more #44, go Jints.

Phil Simms Week 12

1) Jets- Titans. Tough to get to Kerry Collins, Mawae leads that protection. Titans can win football games many ways. No, Jets will not get to Collins. Jets will need to score points and shut down running game of Tennessee. Tony Brown, Albert Haynesworth, rotate all 7 DL, can all rush QB. They get in face of QB, make it harder to see downfield. Jets do so many things on offense, so many different runs and different short passes. Harder to prepare for Jets as season wears on because they are always adding new plays and have such a lengthy list of plays in playbook. Collins has had three runs with three teams now, pretty exceptional. Has proven he can win.

2) Pats-Dolphins. Still question marks about the New England defense, Miami faster, Miami wins a squeaker.

This was a disappointing round for Simms, as he did not even hint at who would win the Jets game, and did not even speak a syllable about the Giants. See remarks made by Simms in the Friday post.

We are going to learn a lot about a lot of teams this weekend. (a) Just like we learned a lot about the Giants running game vs the Ravens, we will get more information about the Giants' defense (1 sack in last two games) vs a high powered passing game. (b) We will learn a lot about the Cardinals, as Whisenhunt himself admits that today is a test to see where his team is. (c) We will see today whether the Eagles' season is over should they lose to the Ravens. (d) We will see who blinks in the above games with the Titans, Jets, Dolphins and Pats. (e) Panthers-Falcons, good test for both teams. (f) Packers-Saints Mon night. While a loss by the Packers will not end their season, a loss by the Saints has to put their season on life support.

Latest guess from Francesa is that Burress won't play and that Jacobs will play.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Giants vs Arizona Preview

Giants.com Preview

Simms: "Picking the Giants. (The Giants OL is) So big and strong, they run on everybody."

Wonder: "Lay the -3x. Jints on a mission. CANNOT PROTECT KURT."

This is the kind of team where YOU NEED THAT PASS RUSH. If Warner is comfortable back there with those excellent receivers, he will make our secondary look very mediocre at best. PRESSURE. I expect #23 to get more single assignments, so this will be the biggest test of the season for him. If the pass rush is there, he will win that battle.

The Cardinals are a better team at home than on the road. That is the only reason why this game is competitive. If the Cards are on the road vs a good team, they are not ready for that kind of primetime. The Cards secondary has a few injuries, so yet another reason to feel that the Giants offense should have its way.

MESSAGE TO GILBRIDE: SCORE LOTS OF POINTS. If the pass rush is not there, there is still no reason to lose the game, because our defense is better than their defense and YOUR OFFENSE is better than theirs. If the Giants offense plays for 60 minutes, we win this game, end of story. Score 40 points. See if they can score more than 40. I doubt it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Showtime Phil

Ultimatenyg NY Giants blog features a recap of Phil Simms' commentary (on WFAN.com live ~945AM with Mike Francesa) every Sunday morning. But on Wednesday nights, Phil Simms also appears on Showtime, and his picks of selected games are online. No point spreads, but he is out there, on the record.

Simms' comments from this week's broadcast:

1) Not a believer in Dallas yet. Poked fun at Collinsworth for jumping on the Dallas train after one win, arguing that you can't get bullish a team with Romo when it tanked without him. Phil (and Warren Sapp) felt that good teams rally around the second stringer and lift him up, that those three games without Romo were evidence of the problems, so he is looking for more before believing.

2) The biggest matchup Simms is eagerly awaiting (coincidentally, the game he is covering) is Kevin Mawae vs Kris Jenkins in the Jets-Titans game. Since Simms is covering the game, he won't directly come out and pick a team, but he (or his ventriloquist dummy Collinsworth) does imply the Jets are 'live.'

3) Likes the Gmen this weekend..."So big and strong, (they) run on everybody."

4) Likes Miami this weekend over the NE Patriots. Pointed out that they have the least turnovers in the NFL this season. "They are younger and faster."

5) Colts over Chargers, because Sanders is back, and "yes, he means THAT much to them." Without Sanders, 20 yard runs, with him, 4 yard runs.

6) Saints over Pack. GB will play man to man, and Brees will dial it up for the win.

7) PLAYOFF CHANCES ALIVE: Broncos, Skins, Colts


Separately, the panel wondered aloud if 3rd and 15 for the Jets to Keller becomes their 4th and 17 to Bobby Johnson. I've seen teams galvanize around a play like that before. I've also (lol) seen the Jets fold with stronger hands than this. Like I have said, I have more confidence in the Jets players than I do in their coach.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brandon Jacobs

Eyes were certainly raised on Sunday night when Jacobs was howling about the money coming for him and Derrick Ward as both contracts expire after this season.

Wonder will probably disagree with me on this... he thinks you simply lock in players because the way the NFL works is to the advantage of the teams, they cut the player if they don't want to keep you... but I felt it was correct to let Jacobs go into the last year of his contract w/o reupping the deal. Why? Because if the team got the kind of productivity (read: HEALTH) from this RB, great for him in 2009+ and great for the team in 2008. If we did NOT have 2 other backs, the thinking would have to be different.

Time for ultimatenyg to get a rise out of the peanut gallery- Jacobs is not going to necessarily do so well in free agency, even if he makes it out of the season in good health. Why? Because even though he is a very good running back, he has help from that OL. Don't confuse the tone... He will do well, and after the season is over (assuming the money is not over the top) the Giants will be CORRECT to re-sign him. But if the money Ward and Jacobs will command is high, the Giants will clearly only look to retain one of them. Remember, they let Ward hit the free agent market, and there was essentially no outside interest. I suspect that that will not be the case the second time around. Either way, the Giants will have enough cap room to go after at least one. And if they get neither, well break my heart, I guess we'll have to take a chance with that 3rd string guy, Ahmad something-or-other. Yours truly will not be losing a single night's sleep about those offseason RB negotiations, no sirree bob. Please don't throw me into THAT briar patch!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reverse Engineering: Finding the team with the kryptonite to defeat the gmen

A few days ago the NY Times Fifth Down asked the question- which team/s have the ability to beat the Giants. Let’s analyze which kinds of matchups would give the Giants the biggest problems, and then see if there are any teams out there that possess those qualities.

Versus the Giants Defense

Steve Spagnuolo has been adept at covering up weaknesses with other defensive strengths. None of the Giants cornerbacks are considered cover corners, but they are big enough and physical enough to play bump and run. When given enough time, our LBers (versus the TE) and/or secondary are as vulnerable as anyone else in coverage. We have seen good Tight Ends gash this team. To me, that is the secret sauce... good protection for a good QB who will then find that TE..that is where we are vulnerable. Summary: a strong OL which can pass protect combined with a good QB can have success against the Giants. When healthy, Dallas has that.

Versus the Giants Offense

Sorry, not to sound too arrogant (when have I ever been arrogant?) but this Offense's only weakness is their conservatism. We have discussed ad nauseum about reaching their potential with #44. The Giants offense does not have any real weakness. All defenses like to rattle the opposing QB, but Eli has such a good OL that he simply does not get the kind of consistent pressure to make that a factor. We have seen Manning get careless with the ball, but that was almost as a direct result of having such supreme confidence in his OL that he forgets that he does have to get rid of the ball eventually(!). Summary: none.

We posed the same question to Wonder:

think NYG wins SB....in order to beat jints:

1. MUST control NY running game..if it means run blitzes, 8 in the box, etc..so be it...which means a GREAT one on one secondary..

2. MUST be able to RUN and then PASS (play action, etc.) so that:
a. DL just can't "tee off" on QB...; and
b. QB/WR's must have a GAME PLAN to take advantage of NY weak secondary...their TE must be effective

As for the team to do that ?? you would need a combo of TN,BALT, NYJ for Run D..some great DB's, great LB's from Oak, TN ...as for their OFFENSE....would need TN's physical OL and running game, IND/NE wr's, and a Peyton Manning control the field/clock kind of QB...does any ONE team have ALL that ?? NOOOOOO!!!!!!

closest team ?? IF, IF, IF they can "get in", I think the Cowboys are still a threat...I don't think Ariz or Caro have enough...and as for TN, I just think if you shut down their run game, they can be beat..I know I'm biased, but actually NYJ IF they shore up their pass D, is exactly the type of team to beat NYG- great run D with Jenkins, etc.(assuming Harris gets back), developing Offense with TIME CONSUMING drives (again, assumes no bad INT's), great, scary return specialist...and a good, if not spectular OL with a GREAT TE and TOUGH RB who can not only gain tough yds, but pick up rushers..but JETS achilles heel is DEF coord. and pathetic secondary "bend/don't break" play.

Ultimatenyg here... the bottomline is that no single team has all the parts to make it happen. If the Giants stay healthy they have the inside track.

The Carom

Everyone knows this. I do not like to forget.

The score is 20-10, the Giants have not scored in a bit, and Flacco is getting comfortable back there because there is no pass rush and the Ravens have figured out that to move the ball you need to sit back and pass (more). So what do they do? They pass again to Mason. On the left side. Carom. Jack-Tatum-esque-bounce-oh-look-what-I-found-Ross-TD.

Game over.

It was not Gilbride's fault that Manning threw the pick near the end of the H1. So this game could have easily been 23-10 or 27-10 at that point. The point here is that it WAS 20-3, then 20-10, then 20-10 with Flacco moving that team, and somewhere the URGENCY was lost in the offense. The Ravens were hanging around.

The defense has been doing a great job on run defense in almost all situations this season. But even when the DL can pin its ears back and gear up for pass rush, there have been more than a few games this season where we have not seen it from the DL. Robbins (hand) has been playing hurt. Tuck gets doubled.

When Robbins gets healthy and this DL can impose its will on teams with 4 pass rushers consistently again, then we can argue about which unit on the team is better. But right now, it is not even close. Not by a country mile. The OFFENSE is the most dominant unit on the team, it is the best offense in the league (I do not care what the Gilbrown-impaired stats say about New Orleans or whoever) and it needs to put away opponents with the same urgency at 20-3 that it does when it is behind the Bengals at 20-16 or when it kicking Seahawk brown.

I've said it here before, 40 points per game. There is no reason this offense cannot score 40 points a game. We just played the Steelers, Eagles and Ravens and this offense (read: OL) imposed its will on ALL OF THEM. Take responsibility for 60 minutes and blow out the score. EVERY GAME. EVERY OPPONENT. Why leave anything for chance with your DL's inconsistent pass rush? I have not begun to look at the Cardinals (last time I saw them was small vs the 49ers and vs the Jets), but that game could be a shootout. If the NY Giants offense plays 60 minutes, it can outscore anyone. You may or may not like it because it is not "old time Giants football," but that is the hand you have been dealt. This Giants OL is unlike anything I for one have ever seen, so have no mercy on opponents and go for the jugular EVERY possession, annihilate these teams, put them ALL away ALL the time. Skill players everywhere at every offensive position. That offensive line is a royal flush, play it for what it is.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NY Giants 30 Baltimore Ravens 10


1) Ward had a very nice blitz pickup of Ray Lewis on 3rd and 15 which enables a key 21 yard pass catch to Burress, giving a key first down in the first drive of the game and the tempo to be established for the Giants.

2)The Ravens simply made a cardinal sin, you cannot tackle Jacobs high. High they went, and loss they got.

2) Giants vs Ravens... 207 yards rushing against a team that was allowing 56 yards/game. This Ravens defense had not given up 100 yards rushing in 27 games. This was the first 200 yard running game given up vs this defense in 11 years. THE POINT- this Giants OL did it again. During the week, Lewis asked aloud, those holes the Giants OL created, c'mon, the RBs are not doing a lot, and he implied by it that the Ravens would not be handing the Giants those running lanes. Well, Jacobs, Ward and Bradshaw ALL had 20+ yard runs.

3) Robbins blocked a 33 yard FG. It will be nice when this guy's hand/s are healed, because he'll be resuming his pass rish too when that happens.

4) Aaron Ross had two picks, 1 for an TD. That TD was the killer of the game, effectively ending the game there assuming no craziness.

5) The Giants did not get a pass rush until late in the game.

6) Manning pick to Lewis was about the only real negative. Stop the telegraphing. (see #12 addendum at bottom)

7) Bradshaw had a 77 yard run, is he the best back on this team or what?!! Jacobs and Ward did great, but you have to ask yourself what would #44 be doing with the same opportunities. Ward had a big run for 22 yards early in Q2... you have to ask, would #44 have gone the distance on that same play?

8) Injuries? Ross, McKenzie, Jacobs?

9) Flacco (who was probably off their run radar) killed the Giants with those scrambles, but there was not enough around him to make them come together for the points to make a difference. Correctable mistake that Spags will clean up by getting more pocket discipline on those scrambling QBs.

10) Giants run defense continues to stuff the opponent.

11) Ravens only success came in trying to slow down the Giants successful D with those pesky reverses and screens to stop Giants overpursuit. That is not a big issue, it is correctable, and even by Q4 it was abandoned by the Ravens.

12) (addendum, added 10PM) Manning got a beating today. We saw him get hit on more than a few plays, but someone who was at the game and did not have to look through the camera's eyes said that Manning took a lot of punishment. I want to point this out because when I mention the telegraphing, it is not to take away from a really good game that Manning played. His QB rating is a browning joke, the stat is so bogus at times, and this is certainly one of them. Besides, when there is that much wind, who gives a rat's Brown about the surface. He uses that hard count, he deals with Gilbrown's playcalling, he makes the decisions, he hits his receivers, he gets a tremendous amount of credit in this win.

Giants Ravens Intragame Comments

Tynes will start, probably wind-related.

Phil Simms Week 11

Simms on the NFL and the Gmen this weekend...

1) The Tennessee-Bears game last week illustrates what a team has to do when the opponent loads up to stop your running game... it is radical... it is novel... are you sitting down?... answer: you have to pass the ball! The Bears committed to stopping the Tenn running game, they did, and then Collins started to pass the ball and he beat them that way. He was accurate, his WRs beat single coverage, ~280 yards of passing later the Titans had dismantled the Bears. Next. (This Gilbrown public service warning advisory was brought to you by Ultimatenyg.)

2) Jets-Pats, Casell was spectacular on that last drive. Only a few QBs in the league can make that throw to Moss at the end of regulation, he did. Moss catch brilliant too. Re Jets, the Jets offense is designed well. Favre gets rid of the football, quick 6-7 yd passes, screens... "Brett Favre is one of the best (at those types of passes) I've ever seen." Can the Jets take a run at everything (AFC, Super Bowl)? YES THEY CAN. They can stop the run, they have that good short passing game. Their schedule is easy/manageable. They even can give Tenn lots of problems next week because they match up well against them (run defense in particular vs the Tenn run, but alos their offense vs Tenn too).

3) Giants-Eagles, the Eagles are so far behind the Giants from a talent perspective. Westbrook is their guy and he was not 100%. The Eagles coaches get ripped but it is not fair or accurate, because the Eagles coaches did a masterful job of keeping their team in the game with this Giants team... the Eagles coaches got more out of their players.

4) Giants-Ravens, Francesa made good note of the wind that Flacco will be introduced to today. Back to Simms, with the exception of Ed Reed, the Ravens secondary is (paraphrased) mediocre, nothing particularly good. McAllister is not the same anymore, he can be had. With the Ravens' words, they say they are committed to stopping the run today. But you can throw the ball down the field against this team. Even against Houston last week, the Ravens still gave 3-4 big pass plays. The Ravens can and will be had on the pass. As for the Giants running the ball, there will be some moments during the game that the Giants will be able to run the ball. Why? Because the Giants running game "is just that good." (Summary: Simms implied that if the Giants offense does what it needs to do, it will come out on top.)

5) Arizona WRs are excellent.

6) Larry Johnson, Jeremy Shockey, these players find out that if they mouth off, the team will simply move on without them, they'll find someone else to get the touches and get it done. The team marches on.

7) Boys-Skins, Romo will be able to counter some of the Skins' novel pass coverages used in their first meeting earlier this year, but Simms believes the Skins will nonetheless come out on top in this game.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Wonder: "Must use BOTH Jacobs and Ward in beginning of game to set up their MOST IMP weapon this game- play action pass...screens and dumpoffs not real good against Balt...much better to use misdirection and hit Boss or WR's crossing behind the LB's...play action will buy just enough time for that as well as suck the LB's up...provided you BEGIN with Jacobs AND Ward...look for Plax and Toom and Smith to have BIG games."

Some great quotes from Ray Lewis a few days ago:

"Not to take no credit away from these backs," Lewis said, "but they're running through holes so big you're sitting there saying 'What in the world?' "

"You can get into any (QB's) head if you get after him and really start confusing him and start hitting him the way they don't want to get hit," Lewis said. "I don't care if you're a rookie or a veteran. If you let any defense get after you the way our defense is predicated on getting after people, it can be a frustrating day."

Ray Lewis is going to the Hall of Fame for a reason- he understands the game and he makes an impact on the field. Thank goodness he's 33 and can move on sooner than later. Do you think that Lewis and the Ravens are going to allow for huge holes this Sunday? This is why I prefer Ward to get the bulk of the carries. He'll hit these smaller holes faster (of course I want #44, let's see if he gets playing time) and that will be important. Me? I use Jacobs as the human decoy and see him in play action stoning some poor blitzing soul.

As for the Giants defense, they have a challenge too. This is not the Ravens offense of the beginning of the season- Flacco gets better every game. But notice who the Ravens offense is dominating the past four games: the 18th, 25th, 27th and 19th ranked defenses. The Giants have the 3rd ranked defense and they will certainly not let this rookie QB and his offense put up 30 points. If Derrick Mason (leading receiver, game time decision) does not play, this is going to be a long day for the Ravens offense. Spags will stack the run and Flacco will not have the kind of receivers to take the pressure off.

Even though it is the 1PM game, I have to believe that Simms is doing this one. I want to hear his 945AM commentary on Sunday, that will tell us a lot.

In case you missed it from yesterday afternoon, Kareem McKenzie was arrested for DUI. Also, Webster practiced and he will (likely) play.

Friday, November 14, 2008

NY Jets 34 NE Patriots 31

This was not supposed to be the Friday Post for a NY Giants blog. But there was simply too much to comment on here. Eric Mangini is a browning moron, and if he ever coached my team I would need to keep a full supply of barf bags handy. I may never have seen a game that was a more glowing example of the insanities of the Prevent Offense and Prevent Defense. This Jets team broke Rules 15 and 16 so many times, I lost track.

The Jets go up 24-6 late in Q2 and Bob Popa and Cris Collinsworth are anointing the Jets for having completely dismantled this Patriots team. And rightly so. But they are forgetting one thing. Manidiot.

Rule # 17: Players are told to play for 60 minutes. Yet who benches the head coach when he only coaches for 50? In this case, if the Jets coaches had coached for 50, that would have been radical. By this count, it was more like 36 minutes. Disgraceful.

1) Forget benching the coach, how about firing him. The Jets defense goes soft, into Prevent Defense1. Belichick has decided to go for it on 4th and 3 (which I believe is a mistake, take the FG) at the 23 with 2:40 left Q2. Sack for change of possession. So now you REALLY think that the Jets will go into the half up 24-6. But there is more.

2) Now the Jets have the Ball and go into the Prevent Offense1. It may not look like it in the stat sheet, but the Jets were doing the coronation, happy and fat.

3) The Jets go into the Prevent Defense2, and with the Patriots in no huddle, they march all the way down the field in ~1:30 and score to make it 24-13 at the half. SINFUL. Terrible.

4) The Potent Jets offense, which put up a zillion yards in H1, went into hibernation, Prevent Offense2. There was NO ATTACK in it. The dial was set to SLEEP.

5) Naturally the Patriots keep chipping away, until they score with 10:16 left in Q4 to tie the game 24-24. Remarkable. Effectively, the Jets coaching staff took off from 2:40 in Q2 to 10:16 in Q4, about 22 minutes. Very nice.

6) Wait a second, the game is tied? Okay, Okay, say the coaches. Time to wake up and play again. So the Jets drive down into the red zone, get a questionable holding call on Vrabel (breaks my heart) and a few plays later score the TD to go up 31-24 with 3:10 left.

7) Kris Jenkins makes a key sack on 2nd down and when the Pats miss on 3rd down, they actually have to kick (2:24 left), hoping and praying that they can somehow get another chance to get their hands on the ball.

8) Their prayers are answered! They are playing against Manidiot and the prevent Offense! I'll give you a hint, where have we seen this before? EXACTLY LIKE THE GIANTS EAGLES GAME FOUR DAYS AGO. Prevent Offense3. RRRK special. Just like the Giants with 5:30 left, the Jets run three plays in a row and ... I am shocked, shocked.... they don't move the chains! Well blow me down!

9) So now the Patriots get the ball back with 1:04 left and no timeouts. Time for Manidiot to roll out Prevent Defense3. The old 3 man rush technique. The Pats move down the field like a hot knife through butter and get a TD to tie the game with 0:01 left. You should have seen the look of #4 when they scored... Favre is thinking, what do I have to do, coach the team too? He knows his coaches killed this effort.

10) Then a miracle occurred for the Jets. They won the coin toss. Time to turn the offense back on. On a key 3rd and 15 from the Jets 15, Favre hit Keller for 16 and a first down. Favre led the team all the way down field, and Feely nailed the 34 yarder.

Had it all the way. If Manidiot does not win the coin toss his team loses that game, and it goes down as one of the ugliest collapses in Franchise history. And the Jets know collapses. Let's quote Cris Collinsworth: "The only thing the Prevent Defense (/Offense) prevents you from doing is winning the game." Shameful.

Btw, Brett Favre was fantastic. (Jenkins, Keller, Washington were also excellent.)

For any Jets fans out there, your last 5 games are very winnable, your team can easily be 12-4. Incredible. Despite the horridness of the Prevent, that the Jets were lucky enough to manage to hold on (thanks to the coin flip) can portend good things for them now. This is a tremendous win for that franchise. It was only a few weeks ago that this team lost to the Raiders and then barely escaped vs KC. But like we saw last year in Washington Week 3, all it takes is one special game to turn an entire franchise around. The Jets got some special mettle out of this victory over the Patriots. If only they had a head coach with half a clue, they'd be dangerous.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Manning, Jacobs and the Ravens

Ultimatenyg comments in red

Out of Blue, Eli Manning hits a slump (where have we seen this topic before?)

Tuesday, November 11th 2008, 8:50 PM

For 23 remarkable minutes Sunday night, Eli Manning was putting on a quarterback clinic. He had recovered beautifully from his opening-drive interception, which was batted at the line of scrimmage. He was right on the mark on almost every pass after that.

Then, suddenly, it all disappeared. He went from a brilliant, 13-for-17, 143-yard performance in the first 23 minutes against the Eagles to 4-for-14 for 48 yards over the final 37 minutes. Sure, the Giants won, 36-31, but the drop-off in the passing game was pretty dramatic. To be fair, he had a few dropped passes, but it is the "Old Eli" who would not be able to play 4 quarters with the same consistency and urgency.

Still, while Tom Coughlin admitted he'd prefer to see Manning "statistically being a little more proficient," he didn't sound concerned about what appears to be a quarterback slump. Manning may have failed to top 200 passing yards in any of the last five games, but the Giants (8-1) have won four of those. Maybe, just maybe, it is the job of Gilbrown to put Manning in play action for his pass atempts when the run is so effective, and NOT have Manning in shotgun? Ya think?

"We still had a lot of production," Coughlin said. "And we would prefer to have pretty much a mix (of the run and the pass). You'd like to come off the field with an explosive team like Philadelphia and have the ball for 39-plus minutes. That's the way you would want the game to come out. Gilbrown has the best OL in football. This was a game when punching Jacobs was more than adequate. To be fair, it was not Gilbrown's fault that Jacobs decided to do his Olympic hurdles imitation.

"If you could sit and design something where everything was perfect, that would be fine. But it's not going to be that way."

The Giants did hold the ball for 39:10 against the Eagles, and their powerful rushing attack had its fourth 200-yard game of the season (219). Add in a stifling (huh? what DL non-existent pass rush were you watching?) defense that held the dangerous Brian Westbrook to just 59 total yards, and it's clear the Giants don't need big numbers from Manning to win.

The problem is that eventually they will need more from him - maybe even this Sunday when they host the Baltimore Ravens (YES, correct, Ralph... Ray Lewis and company will be waiting to tackle the behemoth and they will not be nearly as charitable as the Eagles), who have the best rushing defense in the NFL (65.4 yards per game). Through the first four games of the season, when Manning was completing 63.6% of his passes (84 for 132) for 1,032 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception, nobody doubted his ability to deliver. But starting with the Giants' lone loss in Cleveland on Oct. 13, Manning's numbers have dipped. (Manning Malaise, ahem.) His completion percentage in those games is at 57.7 (86 for 149) and he has thrown five interceptions to go with his eight touchdown passes. His yardage total in those five is 894, with a high (at Pittsburgh) of just 199.

Is it a slump? Is it a product of playing tougher defenses? Is it just because the Giants are content to rely on the run? And how can the Giants explain his dramatic in-game decline in Philadelphia, which seemed to start the moment Brandon Jacobs lost a second-quarter fumble? Until the Giants pulled in the reins in the fourth quarter and ran on their final 13 plays, they were a perfectly balanced team - 32 runs and 32 passes. (Gilbrown wuz here.)

But after his hot start, Manning went 1-for-5 for just six yards in the final 6-1/2 minutes of the first half, and was 3-for-9 for 42yards in the second half.

"I don't know what exactly the reason would be," Coughlin said. "There are always things as you look at a play you go hindsight. Sometimes there is a balance issue, there is a set issue or whether the quarterback is rushed or whether he just makes an inaccurate throw, or whether the receiver wasn't on the same page with the quarterback and that type of thing, or a Gilbrown in shotgun."

Those issues are part of the reason why the Giants' once-dangerous passing game is now ranked just 16th in the NFL (205.8yards per game). And those are issues Manning needs to work out down the stretch, against a difficult schedule. A powerful defense and running game could carry the Giants to another Super Bowl championship.

But at some point they're going to need their quarterback, too.

This was a fantastic article by Ralph Vacchiano. He nailed it. This Sunday we will need to pass against what Wonder refers to as a suspect group of DBs for the Ravens. Yes, we have to run vs the Ravens to keep them honest. But Manning is going to have to deliver. Hixon and Burress need to stretch the field, because if this team cannot go vertical, that just means the Reed and Lewis poaching will get ever more pronounced. The Giants like to punch, and that can work against an undersized Eagle DL, but against the front 7 of the Ravens, punching with Jacobs will not be as effective as BOXING with a mix of passing, passing deep, running with Ward and running with Jacobs. DO ALL 4, and don't be utterly anal in your attempt to be balanced. Jacobs does not need 20 touches this game for us to win, spread it around, keep this defense off-balance, Lewis knows tendency better than anyone. I may be wrong, but I fear that Jacobs' lack of speed will be a tremendous liability against this run defense.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

All things Giant

1) I fear Bradshaw has been sent to the fumbler's doghouse. Not that it is not deserved. If he gets one CARRY this Sunday that will be a major victory for the Bradshawlics. This team needs his speed, he stretches the field and causes a great deal of trouble for defenses.

2) Adalius Thomas out for the year. That guy still gives me nightmares, glad he can't possibly meet us in Super Bowl XLIII.

3) Shockey is an even smaller pea brain than I thought. Brees won't take his Brown (here is a link to a Monday article in case you missed it), he needs an intervention and fast. But for our sake, we hope he will continue to cause as many problems as possible for another 7 games because...

4) ...that set of draft picks the Giants get from the Saints just keeps on getting better and better. Based on their schedule, looks like they will finish ~8-8, but that assumes they win at home vs GB and ATL, so perhaps it can get a little uglier for them. They will not lose to KC or DET, but those are desperate teams and anything is possible.

5) The Giants need to respect the fact that they are only 1 game ahead of the Panthers, and they play them later this season. Get the bye AND the homefield advantage. No let up. This team needs every game.

6) If you think the nitpicking that goes on here is a lot, just go down to Philly. If they could run Reid out of town, they'd do it in a heartbeat.

7) Buy low. Purchased #44 jersey (25% off, see link ad to the right) AFTER the fumble. He may go to the doghouse, but I am loyal.

8) I guess Serby voted for "Block 'N' Blue."

9) The league's second- and third-highest scoring teams play in the same New Jersey stadium: the Giants (262 points) and Jets (255).

10) Everyone was talking about the Eli heel that kept him behind the line of scrimmage. But last week's move by leon Washington, who grabbed a kickoff while standing out of bounds, was even better. How many of you knew that instead of the Jets getting the ball at the spot of the touch, the ball goes to the 40 yard line?!!!

11) The Giants are -6.5 vs Baltimore.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Beautiful Game: Prevent Offense

On Saturday we did a little soul searching for why Ultimatenyg came to be, what drives this site. I take it all back, it was all a crock of Brown*, the real reason why Ultimatenyg exists is to preach one message above all else:


What is so pathetic is that I have become so anesthetized to the prevalence of the Prevent, that when it occurs I shake my head in dismay and take it up the Brown like the Brown that I am. I have been beaten into submission. I am carrying a glass of water thinking this will be my vessel to hydrate the desert. I am fighting with sticks against tanks. It got to be so bad Sunday night that all I could think was- well at least it isn't TWO possessions of nausea like in Dallas last January.

If I could rid this planet of the scourge that is the Prevent Offense, I would gladly consider my life complete. James Allen so eloquently asks aloud, "why is it noble to trust the defense to end the game but not the offense?"

FACT: the Giants OL was dominant Sunday night

FACT: the Giants DL could NOT get pressure on McNabb

So why try to win the game with the defense when the OL can get it done ALL game except with RRRK? The prevent offense is horseBrown. The coaching staff did a great job, this was a great win that we are entitled to celebrate, but we want to know: Why can't they have a little more respect for themselves and their opponent by playing 60 minutes instead of 54:30?

* Dave "Brown" has been chosen as the Official curse word of Ultimatenyg 2008 NY Giants season. (For 2009, we'll put it to a vote, but I think "Handley" has the inside track. Other candidates include Dayne and Rust.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

NY Giants 36 Philadelphia Eagles 31

very nice td grab by Boss

1) GREAT WIN despite a few intragame nightmares.

2) If the Giants can cut down on these turnovers/fumbles, this team will be hard to beat, because the only team out there that can beat the NY Giants is themselves.

3) PROTECT THE BALL. Repeat after me, I will not carry the ball like a pineapple at the fruit stand. Didn't Tom Coughlin teach Tiki to carry the ball high and SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE HIS FUMBLES? So why do we keep seeing these balls squirt loose? There are 11 people on the other side of the ball who want to strip the ball EVERY PLAY. This is known. What is not known is why the Giants RBs are not carrying the ball high, and why they are not putting two hands on the ball when contact/tackle is upon them.

4) Bradshaw is the best back on this team, but he does not deserve more playing time until he can demonstrate that he can protect the ball. He and the Giants are very lucky that that ball skips out of bounds. At least he caused a fumble on specials. The Giants coaches must correct the way he carries the ball so that he can gash defenses. He ran wide and completely exposed the Eagles defense.

5) On the Jacobs NIGHTMARE fumble, we were not so lucky, and it cost the team so much that the Giants might have won the game by 20 points if he does not cough up the ball there. The crowd was out of it, the Giants were driving the ball, they could not be stopped, the team was up by 10 on its way to be up by 13-17 points and Jacobs fumbles away almost everything.

6) Was this a football game or the Olympic 100M Hurdles?

7) Great call by Coughlin to challenge the Manning pass over the line of scrimmage.

8) THE GIANTS OFFENSIVE LINE IS DOMINANT. THE GIANTS OFFENSIVE LINE IS DOMINANT. The only thing the Giants needed to do more of this game was use more play action when they were passing. The run was SO GOOD that it (and the play action) would work all game.

9) After the beginning of the game, the Giants DL did not get the pressure on McNabb. As the DL goes, so goes our defense. The offense must take responsibility and carry the load when the Giants pass rush is not there. It did that up until 5:30 mins left. (see #13 below)

10) The Giants were lucky that Andy Reid and the Eagles went to run on 3rd and 4th down. MISTAKE, ERROR! These two playcalls cost them a realistic shot at the game. The Giants DL could not pressure McNabb, so why are you running it? Even Madden nailed it, he said he keeps the ball in McNabb's hands, but he did not articulate why. The reason is that the OL of the Eagles was giving McNabb so much time that he had (a) all day to find a receiver (b) even more success given the Giants pass rush springing a leak and not containing the pocket. That was a gift. Thank you Eagles.

11) Madison Hedgecock's pass catching is deteriorating. Good blocker. But lately he is killing drives with his drops.

12) Gilbride found his TE! Overall a very good game plan, pounding that small Eagles DL repeatedly. 45 carries, 39 mins possession. The gmen should have won by more if not for the errors, but if you clean them up this team/offense is unstoppable.

13) The only thing the Prevent Offense prevents you from doing is winning the game. 5:30 left. RRRK. Barf. On third down, the Eagles had 8 men in the box and by the time the ball was snapped they had TEN men in the box. Ya think the Eagles knew what was coming? To make matters worse, the play is a big loss, and if it was still near the line of scrimmage, the next play (offsides, 5 yards on Eagles on the punt snap) gives us the first down. Instead we have to give them the ball and decline the penalty because we had more than 5 yards for a first.

14) We have said this before, but it will get repeated- the Giants need to have Manning and their RBs practice the swing pass/check down out of the backfield. It can be far more lethal if executed better.

15) I know Webster got beat on one play late, but I really like the way he is playing.

16) This was a very good team the Giants beat on the road. Despite the turnovers, the team held on, it deserves tremendous praise.

17) I love the smell of roasted Eagles fans in the evening.

18) 8-1. 3-0 in the division. 1 win vs all three divisional opponents. The Giants are nearly a lock for making the playoffs, they are in tremendous position for the division and they are in very good position for a bye/homefield thru the playoffs. This team knows how to win games, and (repeating) the only team out there that can beat them is themselves.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Intragame NYG-PHL Commentary, moderated by Nature

Keep the language clean. Pound the Eagles DL w/ Jacobs, but if they give us a lot of 8 men in the box, we have to be ready to throw the ball too. SCREEN PASS PLS.

RB Droughns
RB Ware
CB Dockery
S Butler
LB Wilkinson
T Koets
WR Manningham
DE McDougle

Tynes and Carney both activated... I bet Coughlin is going with Carney on FGs and Tynes on long FGs and kickoffs. That is what I would do. Not having both Droughns and Ware for specials coverage is a risk.

Phil Simms and Wonder in total agreement on Game Plan for Sunday

Giants-Eagles. Simms harped on the same thing that Wonder said Friday night (which I will paste below)- the most important thing Simms wants to see is how the smaller/faster DL of the Eagles (as compared to prev years) deals with the Giants OL. Can they stand up to the Giants running game? Is there enough size and strength? (The Skins wore them down, remember?!) Does the Giants OL have the power to do that? The Giants are the better team, but Simms implied that the Eagles were very good, very close. Simms separately notes that both QBs handle the blitz well and showered the Giants front four with the typical praise we understand. Simms would NOT make a call on the game- he was not specifically asked, but that does not stop him from laying it out there, so this tells us what we already know- a tight game. (Simms laid it out there two weeks ago and told us he felt the Giants would win vs the Steelers under similar circumstances, as road +3 dogs.)

Wonder from Friday night email: "ANDY... game plan on sun. should be ...RUN JACOBS...with the intent that the o-line and having to tackle that load will take its toll on their d-line so that they don't have anything left in the tank to rush Eli later in the game..then go play-action.. Phil. is more "quick" than powerful...so Bradshaw not good option early on (other than screens, flares, etc...)...I also think it will have extra bonus of keeping OUR D off the field and fresh to KILL McNabb...and when we have the chance, MUST TACKLE him..no "escape" plays down the field !! we MUST win Time of Poss battle..and Jacobs is the key...if he runs for 90+ yds on about 18-20 carries, mail it in...Jints win...their strength is pass rush and secondary...make those little f***s have to TACKLE Jacobs a few times...they won't like it...will also "shorten" the game and keep the crowd out of the game as McN won't have that many poss to dev a rhythm...trust me on this one !!"

Just like Rob was quick to point out that you have to pass vs the Dallas secondary, Simms and Wonder are clear that there is an oppty (NEED for RUN!) vs the smaller Eagles DL. I still want to see some Ward mixed in too (we'll never get Bradshaw in for the screens, where his speed will certainly be necessary for this group), but yes Wonder, okay, we hear you, more Jacobs this game is fine because of MATCHUPS. Generally I feel Jacobs gets too much of the offense, but tonight I can easily understand why you want to out-physical that DL. The Skins did it, and so can we.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What is the Ultimatenyg NY Giants Blog?

What is the driving force of Ultimatenyg? What makes this wacko blogger post nearly every single day? It certainly isn't the money! This isn't my day job. So what drives this?

1) Like all of you who have visited the site, we all share the same passion for the Giants. I tell people all the time, I'll trade 162 Yankee wins for ONE Giants win. I'll trade 16 Jets wins for one Giants win (sorry, Wonder).

2) >Championship or bust. Any franchise can get a Schottenheimer or Fassel or Denny Green and make their franchise get some wins and restore credibility. F credibility. I root for championships, for titles, that is why the title bar has three Super Bowl victories up there.

3) The (sometimes not so pretty) truth about this team. I do not care if this team is 16-0 or 0-16, if there is something that is wrong about the team I am going to mention it. Some people call that nitpicking after a win. What they do not understand is that I call that consistent objectivity. If there is a problem that could have cost us dearly (turning a win into a loss), it gets mentioned in a loss AND A WIN because it is hypocritical to ignore the same problem just because we got more points that day. As an example, shutting down the offense with 9:27 left in Q4 vs Dallas last January was a cardinal sin that EASILY could have cost us that game and (obviously) a Super Bowl title. The fact that it did not end up costing us the title does not pardon the error, and if you think otherwise you are wrong. (Wouldn't it be nice if every time OUR OPPONENT was up by 4 points that they went into the Prevent Offense and gave us one or two extra chances per game?! Why can't OUR team get THAT charity?)

4) Education. Everyone in this forum gets to learn from others what is going on, what is driving what, what is happening. Other sites, books. What Phil Simms is seeing. What's the latest psycho rant from Wonder.

5) Community. This internet thing is amazing. I've made Giants friends all over the country, and they are grateful to find a home away from home with the same passion in the Giants that they used to have when they lived in the NY area. This is only a side benefit though... truth be told, I'd trade every last one of you for another Giants championship. (Hey, I had the Giants written into my Ketubah. I'm not going to let a marriage get between me and the Giants.)

6) THE GOSPEL. This blog started in Nov 2006 when the team was going nowhere. 16 years without a title. This is not a bandwagon blog. Do not mistake criticism for lack of loyalty. Do not mistake momentary emotional despair for lack of support of the team. In 2002 I wrote a letter to Accorsi, the response for which leaves no doubt that our voice is heard.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Manning Malaise

We are witnessing the efficiency of Eli Manning drop off in 2008 as this season progresses, and some of have wondered aloud whether there is anything to that observation. I have made the same anecdotal observation over the past few seasons, so I decided to grab some numbers. Even though the passer rating is not a great statistic, I am not about to invest the time in something better, so we will use that metric from 2005-2008 to see what is there. We normalized the data from 2008 vs the first three full seasons and threw out those last ~6 games* from 2004 when he was a rookie in an incomplete year.

From week 1 to Week 17, here are the ratings:

80, 99, 82, 93, 102, 70, 76, 63, 84, 47, 94, 57, 66, 83, 63, 48, 94.
( i.e. Week 1= average 80 passer rating, Week 2= 100 etc..)

You can slice and dice these numbers anyway you like, but obvly you have to be careful and consistent in not doing any curve fitting. Whatever tranches you use, there is clearly a rolling moving average that TRENDS DOWN FROM THE BEGINNING TO THE END OF THE SEASON. Essentially, Manning peaks in his first 5 games and then slides thereafter, leveling off after Week 10. Remember that this data has 56 observations, a fairly decent set which satisfies my criteria (should be between 30 to 100 datapoints) for relevance.

Average Weeks 1-5: 91
Average Weeks 6-10: 68
Average Weeks 11-17: 71

A dropoff of 21 points in the passer rating is significant, especially when considering this is based on a total of 56 games spread out over 3-4 seasons. I'd rather have the next 8 datapoints for 2008 before using this, but keep in mind that if you just use 2005-2007 you get the same results (yes, the dropoff is actually a little worse).

Why the dropoff?

Lack of urgency? Tiring? Defenses catching up to Manning's/offensive tendencies? Maybe after Manning gets out of the box really well in each season, the coaches ask more of him and he cannot handle the broader role. In any event, the simple observation is pretty relevant and any QBs coach has to know these things about his player/s.

* 2004 would have only skewed it worse than it already is.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

more Hall ideas

Wonder: If D.Hall goes to Pats, I'm going to barf...he's not a press cover kind of guy, but he's excellent in Zone and understands how to play Pats' scheme....so I PRAY jints grab him as he'd be PERFECT for their system as they hardly ever leave their corners on an island..and when they do, the QB usually doesn't have time to go deep. In any event, I'm not sure he could get totally acclimated by time of Jet game...but he would def bolster a pathetic secondary of the pats.

Ultimatenyg: Hall could take the corner and Ross takes the nickel slot.

Wonder: Totally agree...and IF moron Hall is smart, he'll go to Jints as they will 'protect' him the best..would be real smart for NYG as they are "strong" enough in the locker room to keep him in line with team goals...

Ultimatenyg: Re him being smart to go to the Giants, he has a reputation, deserved (Atl) or not (Oak). This could be a very good move for him to go to the Giants, leverage his skills behind that DL, get a ring, and re-establish his value/career in the league. Could you imagine this lucky peckerwood, making $8M, getting released, going to the SB champs, putting them over the top and helping them win ANOTHER ring? Others would be dismayed (understatement) to believe this guy's good 'luck.' All he has to have is the slightest bit of intelligence and it is all his (and the Giants).

Wonder: All true..but I'm betting on Pats getting Hall...2nd- Cowboys.

Ultimatenyg: I am counting on Reese's interest from last Feb still being there.. if he was interested with a #2 being asked, he has to have interest for him as a free agent. If Reese gets outbid, so be it, but he kills two birds w one stone if Dallas is interested. And why even give NE any help either?! They're in the other conference but w Brady around, no need to help them.

Addendum: video on Hall added. He cleared waivers earlier this evening. Get him please.

The Giants, the Eagles and the secondary

1) Hall was cut. Everyone with half a brain will wait for him to clear waivers and become a free agent before talking to him. After that it could get a little interesting. If the Giants could do an Arrington-type of contract which is heavy on the incentives and light on the commitment, it would make sense. Remember that (a) with nickel and dime packages on the field so often, you can never have enough good corners (b) Dockery (nickel) and Butler (S) got hurt this past weekend.

Just got off the phone with Wonder, and he is outspoken as ever...

2) Wonder: Cowboys or Pats will end up with Hall. Giants should go for him. They need A LOT of help at Secondary. "THE GIANTS SECONDARY S***S." We saw from Cleveland that when the pass rush is not there, the Giants secondary gets abused by any reasonable QB. Aaron Ross is woeful. (I got Wonder to concede that..) Webster is playing ok. I think that Hall will end up in New England.

3) Wonder on the Giants: Because the Giants secondary is bad, the way to beat their defense is you have to max protect and give a few of your options the oppty to challenge them. You must negate that Giants DL in order to have a chance. Run flares, screens, play action. Despite this weakness in their secondary, the Giants are still the most well-balanced team and they will be favored in a Tenn-Giants Super Bowl because even if the good Tenn OL thwarted the pass rush, they don't have the passing options (only Mason) to hurt the Giants. The Eagles (on the other hand) have Curtis back, DeSean Jackson and Westbrook out of the backfield, that is a problem for the Giants. This is why the Eagles are my #2 NFC team next to the Giants. Even if the Eagles lose to the Giants they are definitely making the playoffs. McNabb is playing well, you better rush him, hit him and disrupt him or else he is going to do well Sun night. (The Skins would be nowhere except for the weak second half schedule they have.)

4) The Eagles know the gmen well. They will run blitz, they will pass blitz, they will force Eli to beat them. Eli will have receivers singled up and will have to find them. If the Eagles have 8 men in the box it will be up to the Giants to throw first and run second. This is NOT the Bengals where you can run against 8 men in the box, wake up with 5 mins left and charge down the field to get a score for a win.

5) What works really well against run blitz and pass blitz? SCREEN PASS TO WARD AND BRADSHAW. It won't be Bradshaw because Gilbride has him buried in the depth chart, but Ward has improved a lot in his pass catching (still not as good or as fast as #44) to be a threat.

6) Tyree was put on season-ending IR.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

DeAngelo Hall etc..

1) This past February/March the Falcons decided to move DeAngelo Hall. He was looked at by a few teams, including the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins. The Raiders traded a #2 draft pick for him and picked up a huge salary. ...Now he quite possibly could get cut by the Raiders. The Giants showed some interest in him before, but NOW I suspect they will let him go through waivers so they don't have to eat that salary... if they are even at all interested. How desperate is Jerry Jones for another malcontent in that loonie tunes locker room? Dallas was also rumored to be interested in Hall before he went to the Raiders.

2) We better win the SB this season because Spags is going to be ultra-hot and ultra-gone in 2009. All the nightmare teams with interim coaches et al. Lions, Raiders, 49ers, Rams, Bengals, Chiefs have to be looking at him. Maybe all you Gilbride-lovers can explain to me why your boy was not sought after last season and will likely not get any interest yet again for a head coaching job.

3) A win by the Giants on Sunday night would assure the Giants of at least a split vs all division rivals and essentially put us ~3 games in the loss column over all of them, since Dal-Wash the following week will generate another loss. The bottom line on that one is that beating Dallas this past weekend was a tremendous tonic for the end of season scenarios and another win over Philly is going to make it really tough for all of them to have any serious division chances. And considering what is happening in the NFC South, the wildcard is no picnic either.

4) Garafolo makes a "bold" midseason call about the gmen vs the Cardinals in the NFC Championship, but where did you hear that first? Try Wonder, 3 WEEKS AGO!

5) Let's look at the Eagles' 3 losses. Cowboys Week 2, 41-37 shootout. Bears w/o Westbrook. Redskins without Westbrook after early injury in Game when they were leading comfortably 14-0. In other words, with Westbrook playing, this will be a very good game.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Flag Football

Roger Goodell has a very big problem. Football is a contact sport, in case any of you did not notice. I just reviewed the tape of that Tuck hit on Bollinger. (Q3 5:55 left, incomplete pass, 15 yard personal foul.) It is a sad state of affairs for the league when a referee can even THINK of calling a penalty on that play. Tuck's hit and subsequent penalty are part of a much bigger trend (CAMPAIGN?) in trying to rein in hits and injuries. You might as well whip out another 94 flags and place one on each player's hip so we can remove hitting altogether. This is quite simply madness and someone somewhere needs a wakeup call.

Rumors and theories are circulating more violently than any of these hits. Allegedly the league is trying to protect players as it expands the regular season to 17 games and reduces preseason to 3. If this is the cost, then someone needs to realize quickly that this is 6% forward to go -106% back.

Football is a violent sport. I grew up watching Dick Butkus and Deacon Jones. I just checked their weights, and the Sports Encyclopedia lists them as 245 lbs. and 272 lbs. respectively. Is the game bigger and faster? Yes, certainly at the line of scrimmage. But Strahan was slimmed down to 255 lbs. in his last year as a pro. He played most of his career at 275 lbs., but the point is that the game has not gotten that much bigger and faster. Tuck's hit on Bollinger looked softer than garden variety LT. Granted that no one ever saw anyone with the size and speed of Taylor when he came into the league, but the point here is that if the league is so worried about preserving the health of players, then DON'T have a 17th game!

The economy is in a recession. Television networks are releasing earnings- ad revenue is dropping. If the NFL teams and players experience a reduction in their revenue and salaries too, well, welcome to the rest of the world. Please don't become like baseball and manufacture synthetic growth at the cost of the product. The NFL is so much better than this. Or is it?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

NYG 35 Dallas 14

Boss TD in Q1 was a great playcall, a great pass, a nice catch and nice feet for the TD.

Thanks everyone for the color. I just got in, saw around 25 mins of clock time in the airport, it was 28-7 when I boarded the plane and nice that it pretty much ended that way. I may not have a chance to watch the rest of the (videotaped) game, the sports bar I was at was noisy and we intermittently lost the feed too. But here are the takeaways at first blush:

1) Above all else, the Giants got their business done against a weak opponent. The most important thing you do to weak opponents is remind them who they are- the drive near the end of H1 to make the score 21-7 was fantastic because you cannot dominate the half with only a 7 pt lead to show for it. Do not give weak opponents hope! (See Bengals game)

2) Yes, kudos to Gilbride. Just because we trash the guy for being the loser he is when he makes egregious mistakes does not mean he is incapable of change and getting it right. He did more than a few things this game which he simply did NOT do last game:

a) He was much more willing to pass, especially against this defense (which was extremely depleted in the secondary). Rob emphasized this in Saturday's post, and Gilbride had the correct game plan. (ESPN's Tom Jackson was lauding the Giants in the red zone for being 5-5, for running the ball into the end zone, but the last time I checked, they scored their first THREE TDs on this defense by THROWING IT INTO THE END ZONE. The answer is to try to do BOTH.)
b) He used Ward much more in (H1) the red zone.
c) He broke tendency. After a first down pass, Dallas was playing run, they bit on play action perfectly and Manning had all day to connect. The pass sailed high, but I DO NOT CARE- it put the Giants in a great position to succeed AND makes the RUN NEXT TIME LESS STACKED TOO.

3) This was a complete win in all categories.

4) If and when Dallas gets healthy again, which we assume will be for the second game in Dallas, the tone of this game will be entirely different. The Dallas offense today was ugly, and the Giants defense did just about everything right. Romo was sorely missed. When Romo comes back, many things change instantly. Simms has said in the past that he is continually amazed at how many times Romo single-handedly makes plays for the entire team. So to see the Dallas OL become very average is not surprising in this light. Romo has tremendous pocket presence and leverages what he has in his OL to extract whatever advantage he possibly can. He adlibs very well. Johnson and Bollinger cannot do that, so the warts become visible quickly. My hope is that Romo has some rust when he first comes back, digging as deep a hole for that franchise as possible. That team is not dead with a QB like that. Some have pointed out that Romo may yet be fatally flawed, that he will crumble when the going gets very tough, but in the meantime w/o him the Cowboys are simply awful.

a) Even if it is for only a few days or their entire bye week, at least '5-4' will put a nice smile on our faces. How 'bout 'dem cowboys, Jerry?!

5) Winning without the consistent and strong contributions of Burress is certainly possible, but all things being equal is not desirable. Manning and Burress must get on the same page. I read after the game that they say that pick was Manning's fault, but it does not matter- it is both of their faults. If we can get the two of them clicking again, my goodness it will be frightening. Gaudy upside riches possible here.

6) Yes, the kickoff field position was nauseating. Carney is going to be on social security soon, but if he makes all of his FGs I guess you make that deal. As soon as he starts missing then you have (the) Tynes (accuracy) and Tynes gets the nod because Tynes is deeper on kickoffs. Between both of these guys, at least we have some overall credibility, unlike in other years when our FG kicking parade of new contestants was worse than Murphy Brown's weekly search for a secretary.

7) The 4 sacks that the OL gave up were were much more about Manning holding onto the ball too long than the OL getting beat. I think at least three sacks were excursions of Manning into the town of Moonachie. LOL, who does he think he is, Tony Romo? (Now if we could only convince him to run ONCE per game.)

8) Quietly all year Webster has done a great job at corner. Those two INTs were not so quiet. He has given up some plays some of the time, but most of the time the silence you hear is him quietly shutting down yet another good WR.

9) TURNOVERS! Pierce's strip was fantastic. We mentioned the two from Webster above, the Butler pick. Awesome way to play. This is what was missing earlier this year. VERY ENCOURAGING.

10) LB is a our weakest unit on the team, but w/o a Dallas QB it was certainly easier for Clark to focus on Barber. Nice job. Suffocating these players and plays is what games like these are all about- not letting them get in a rhythm.

11) At the end of the game, there was Coughlin being the nitpicker. "The only thing that is the real negative for me right now is the turnovers. The turnovers kind of take the heart right out of the game so to speak. The timing of those things were very bad and we haven’t been doing that, so it is something we do have to improve upon. We are very, very thankful for the win, excited about that, we are 7-1, and I think we can play better." This is the magic recipe for winning a title. Win a big game and emphasize how the team can still get better for next week's game. All good.

12) I read how some were praising Jacobs. Yes, he played well, but even Jacobs is smart enough to praise the real guys who are getting it done EVERY WEEK, that OL: "Our offensive line did a great job of knocking them off the ball."

13) Justin Tuck is outstanding.

14) Giants are +3 vs PHL. While I think realistically that you have to expect a split vs PHL this season (which implies the more realistic loss in PHL), I would not bet against the Giants in either game. With Westbrook playing, the Eagles are a formidable team, and the line should be respected. But so should the gmen.

Summary: Great win all around. It is not who you play, but when you play them. The Giants played a weaker team but they still had to go out there and get it done. Nice quality win. Nothing left to chance.

Insert comments here for Dallas-Giants game

I'm at the airport in Austin TX right now (probably watching the beginning of the game at a bar with a bunch of Dallas fans before I board my flight). Won't be back until midnight. Please supply any and all color to the group.

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