Final Thoughts Before the NFC Championship

WHEN SF HAS THE BALL

8 man box.  Put pressure on Alex Smith to beat you.  Where?  On the outside.  He is most comfortable with the inside passes, ie a crossing route or seam pass.  Make him make the harder and more precise throw to the edge of the field.  If he is able to make a perfect throw deep and out, it may be a big play, but make him earn that.  New Orleans gave him inside throws and Smith had a good day. 

It is the reverse for the SF running game.  Take away the edge and maintain the lane discipline.  Iupati likes to pull to spring those edge runs.

Who is the one player that is dynamic in the offense?  Vernon Davis.  Bracket him.  I’ll take my chances with Webster in 1 on 1 vs Crabtree.  And as noted this week, without Braylon Edwards, I am comfortable with Ross in 1 on 1 also, with maybe some deep help from Phillips if required.  After reviewing more film from the Packers game last week, I was impressed with how well Ross did vs Jordy Nelson.  Everyone saw the play where Ross got beat on the slugo where Osi had the sack strip, but Ross held his own against a quality WR, owing more to the simplified man coverage assignments he is getting.  Ginn is questionable, but even if he plays he is a step down from Edwards.  Once again, there is nothing that can consistently roast this Giants defense except TE Davis.  That doesn’t mean that Hunter or a guy like Walker can’t beat you for a nice 15 yd gain to move the sticks, but that is the battle.  The war is Vernon Davis.

Also, Wonder says the NY Giants should target Anthony Davis in the pass rush.        

WHEN NY HAS THE BALL

With a strong chance of rain, a sloppy field and wind, this dynamic may very well put the CB at a disadvantage.  Considering that Eli has the better WRs, this could/should help the Giants more than it will hurt the Giants CBs.  Imagine the slippery Cruz on a slippery field!  As Coughlin has noted, Cruz will make you pay if you take the wrong angle, and we could have some wrong angles and slips by defenders.  Nicks is crafty with a nose for the endzone too.  And Manningham has some of the quickest breaks in his route of anyone in the NFL, so he can lose a defender too.

The strength of the 49ers is their inside game.  Willis.  Justin Smith.  Bowman.  Don’t bother trying to go crazy running in between the tackles.  Use Bradshaw on the edge with flares and screens (although I have completely given up w Gilbride on the screen).  Use Bradshaw on the checkdown.  (Interesting stat: the Giants are 10-4 with Bradshaw, who did not play in the last meeting.)  Eli should have success with max protect plays because if he has 7 men blocking and his 3 WRs out there with defenders slipping, he should be able to find someone.  If Ballard is at all effective, use him on delayed routes outside (not inside where the LBers are).

LOOSE ENDS/SPECIALS

Protect the ball.  Keep penalties to a minimum.  Sure hands and fair catches on punts will win the war.  Watch out for the fake punt or fake FG.  Don’t hold the ball like a pineapple, Bradshaw!

SUMMARY

This is the Giants’ game to win.  On defense, the Giants should defend the inside of the field on passes and the outside on runs.  Load the box against Smith and make him beat you.  Focus on Vernon Davis, as I do not believe the WRs/QB of SF are good enough to beat the Giants.  On offense, a slippery field should give Nicks, Manningham and Cruz an advantage.  Get Bradshaw open in space.  Use Pascoe and Beckum in the red zone.  If the Gmen take care of the ball and play 60 minutes they will win this game. 

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