KC Joyner compares Giants to Zenyatta

December, 10, 2010
12/10/10
11:00
AM ET
KC Joyner aka the Football Scientist believes the New York Giants are in position to make another run at the Super Bowl. He sees this team getting hot at the right time and closing quickly, like the great Zenyatta. Only ESPN Insiders are able to view this column in its entirety, but I'm going to share my account with you guys in order to reveal a key portion of Joyner's piece.

Joyner, one of the masters of modern-day metrics, says the most impressive thing about the Giants this season is their ability to stay afloat when so many players have been injured. Here's a portion of his column, which is entitled: "The Giants are a Super Bowl sleeper." He's particularly impressed with the work of Mario Manningham:

"The Giants haven't been in much better shape at the wide receiver position," writes Joyner. "Up and coming star Hakeem Nicks has missed two games with a leg injury and was slowed with the injury in a third contest. Steve Smith, the other starter, has been out for four games with a pectoral injury.

"Despite missing these core elements to their passing game, New York hasn't missed much of a beat. A lot of the credit has to go to backup wideout Mario Manningham. Manningham has gained 643 receiving/penalty yards this year on 68 targets for an impressive 9.5 yards per attempt (YPA). Of those passes, 30 have been vertical in nature (meaning they were thrown at least 11 yards downfield), and Manningham has an equally impressive 14.3 YPA on those aerials."

That 14.3 YPA on 30 targets is pretty impressive for both Eli Manning and Manningham. And you can see where Joyner's coming from in this column. Last season, the Giants cratered when they had key injuries at safety and linebacker. Now, they are tied for the division lead, with help on the way.

We'll obviously find out a lot more when the Giants and Eagles meet in the Meadowlands next week, but I don't think picking New York as a sleeper to reach the Super Bowl in Arlington is a bad call. I remember someone picking them to reach the Super Bowl before the season ...

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