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Advanced scouting report: Giants

I watched the Giants/Falcons game and here is an advanced preview of the Giants.

The Giants running attack is very basic and highly effective. They drilled Atlanta with the same plays over and over. They had a tendency to run towards their left and this is where they found most of their rushing yards through the first three quarters. They ran basic plays where the left side of the line blocks down with the tackle/or tight end sealing the edge, they pull the right guard to kick-out the linebacker, and Tiki Barber follows Jim Finn right through the hole. And the holes where huge. The Giants collapsed the Falcons right side of the line repeatedly. Parcells wasn't lying in his press conference when he said Tiki had 12 runs straight into the second level untouched. They ran the same variation of plays to the right side, but only found success much later in the game and they were pretty weak when running up the middle.

I'm guessing they prefer running behind the left side of their line, so Chris Canty, DeMarcus Ware and to a lesser extent Anthony Henry need to come up big. Canty has to stand up the edge of the line and force the play wide. Ware needs to beat the pulling guard or the fullback to turn the play back in and Henry needs to be last line of defense outside. Bradie James and Akin Ayodele have to be quick to fill the hole. From what I saw, we should be cheating our run defense towards the edges; the Giants didn't have a lot of success moving the middle of the Falcons line. Jason Ferguson and the backside linebacker have to stay at home and guard against Tiki cutting back.

As for Eli, the Falcons didn't get much pressure in the second half and Manning picked them apart. We can't let him sit back there unmolested; the Cowboys defense has to generate a pass rush Monday.

On defense, the big question was how they got to Michael Vick for seven sacks. Well, they blitzed, and they did it from the outside. Corners, safeties and linebackers coming off the edge. They were not going to let Vick roll out of the pocket for big runs. The front four were very disciplined and stayed in there lanes. Eventually, the Falcons just couldn't block the blitzes, Vick couldn't roll out of the pocket because that was where the pressure was coming from, and the middle was clogged by the linemen. They used some of this same strategy to contain his designed runs and options, the defensive end, linebacker or safety was very good about staying at home.

Having said all that, I don't think they'll attack Bledsoe in quite the same way. They'll blitz, but we should see more balance between inside and outside blitzes. The Giants ran some inside blitzes on the Falcons, but they were more run blitzes, with a linebacker or two shooting the gaps in running situations. Now here's the flip-side, the Giants secondary wasn't all that great in covering the Falcons receivers, but Vick was pretty good about missing them. Occasionally the line will give Bledsoe time, and he should have opportunities in the Giants secondary.

The Giants run defense is most vulnerable in the middle. The Falcons had some success running the ball right at them or cutting back on an outside run to the middle. In fact, I have no idea why they didn't run Warrick Dunn more in the game. Even when you take away his 90-yard TD, which came right up the gut before he broke it outside, he was averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Yet the Falcons only gave him the ball 14 times, and they were only losing by three entering the fourth quarter. So there was no need to give up on the run. If I was Dallas, I would probe the middle of the Giants line early and often with JJ and MB3.

My early game plan:

*    OLB and DE have to be very aware of the off-tackle play and its variations. They have to stand up the blocks and keep outside contain. Beware of the tendency to run left.
*    We need to gamble a little on defense and generate a pass rush on Manning, blitz a little more than usual and send Ware on speed rushes, Abraham and Kearney both got around the edges of the Giants line.
*    Run the ball right at the Giants middle, it looks softer than trying to get around the edges regularly.
*    As always, pick up the blitz, because the Giants secondary can be beaten.
*    Final one, start fast. The Giants are making a habit out of playing bad in the first half only to roar back in the second half. Dallas needs to jump on them early and keep them down.

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