Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Do the Giants have a chance?
Our experts offer insight on the Giants' chances, Randy Moss' production and Brett Favre's future.
Do the Giants have a chance?
Sean Salisbury: It's difficult to doubt a team that is playing as well as the Giants currently are playing. They are on a roll and look as confident and intense as any team in the league every time they line up on the field. Not only do the Giants have a chance of pulling the upset, but I think this Super Bowl will be much closer than most think it will be. The Giants lost by only three points the last time these two teams met in a game that both wanted very badly. Don't get so caught up in the greatness of the Patriots that you discount the Giants.
Mark Schlereth: This is an outstanding football team that can play with any team in the league as it has shown in the past few games. The Giants are able to get an excellent rush from their front four, while doing a great job in coverage. That will pose problems for the Patriots, and while it's extremely difficult to stop this Pats team consistently from scoring, the Giants can force Tom Brady into making mistakes.
Offensively, the Giants are getting great quarterback play from Eli Manning and the running backs are playing fantastic football. This is a team that thrives when the running game is clicking and right now the Giants are dangerous at almost any down and distance.
Why has Randy Moss' production tailed off?
Salisbury: Teams are playing smart football and recognizing how dangerous he is downfield. They are making sure he's seeing a lot of double coverage with the safety over the top. Also, he's seeing a lot of aggressive press coverage, which is limiting his opportunities to go over the top and make the big plays we're used to seeing.
Of course, the biggest reason that Moss' production has slipped is because he's playing much better teams. Not to say that he didn't have great games against great teams, but he's playing the best defenses in the league every week now and they are keying on stopping him. That would limit any player no matter how great.
Schlereth:During the course of the playoffs we've seen teams decide to play more coverage schemes and play fewer blitzes against the Patriots. The Patriots have played teams with excellent, physical cornerbacks who have done an amazing job of limiting Moss' ability to quickly get off the line of scrimmage.
These teams have also been smart in how they've played their schemes by being very physical at the line of scrimmage and then playing a Cover 2 shell on Moss' side of the field to take away that deep threat.
Will Brett Favre return for another season?
Salisbury: In my wildest dreams, I don't see Favre walking away from the team after this season. I'm sure he has some regrets about his performance in the NFC Championship Game, but he's a great competitor who will bounce back from that loss. This is one of the youngest teams in the NFL and it was only one step away from the Super Bowl in a game that went to overtime. He has to believe he can get them over the hump next season and possibly get a real going away present.
Schlereth: I can't imagine him not coming back for two reasons. One, no one wants to end a Hall of Fame career on an interception, especially one that pretty much costs your team a Super Bowl berth. He had a great season and knows he can take this team to the next level.
The second reason is that even though he's older than Methuselah, he hasn't lost any skills. He still has very good mobility and one of the best arms in the game. By the way, he plays every game. This isn't the case of a guy playing out the string with a diminishing skill set. He's still one of the top quarterbacks in the league and I look forward to watching him play next season.