Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gameday: New York Giants

A stadium in a different state than the team is named for
Radio: WDVE and other affiliates

What To Watch For

1. Eli vs Ben

This sounds like it could be a showdown between two of the better-known men of Israel in the Old Testament, and it may very well carry similar epic proportions. Amongst active quarterbacks, Eli is 3rd in 4th Quarter Comebacks (24) and Ben is 4th (21). Both are credited with 28 career Game Winning Drives (tied for 5th amongst active QBs). The announcers will probably talk ad nauseum about the "Class of 2004" quarterbacks during the game, and Eli and Ben are certainly the cream of the crop. This game figures to be an aerial show, and the quarterback that gets the ball last will probably win.

2. By the numbers

The Steelers struggles on the road this season have been well-documented and all 3 of their road losses have come outside the Eastern Time Zone, which I've talked about in the past. Interestingly, the Steelers are one of the best teams in the NFL on the road in the Eastern Time Zone with a 72% winning percentage in the last 5 years, trailing only the Giants (75%). However, over the same time frame, the Giants have only the 17th best home record in the league (58.7%). The Giants are clearly a better team on the road than they are at home.

3. The Front Four

This isn't even really an accurate term because the Giants will shuffle 6 or 7 guys through their defensive line. Whenever you talk about "best position groups in the league" the Giants D-Line has to be at or near the top of your list. Their defense is predicated on getting pressure with just 4 rushers, but the guys they have can all bring it. The Steelers O-line certainly has their work cut out for them, but if Ben gets the time to make plays, there will be receivers open. The Giants have the 4th worst pass defense in the league.

4. Getting There

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and half of New York City being without power and a host of other problems in the New York/Newark/New Jersey metro area, the NFL decided nothing about the start of the game and have it continue on as usual. Even though the hotel where the Steelers intended to stay does not have any power, the game will go on. The Steelers altered their travel plans to fly to New York the morning of the game. Hopefully this doesn't cause any problems, but for anyone who has ever flown before, it can't be easy to play a professional football game just hours after getting off a plane. No doubt we'll all hear about this if the Steelers struggle at all during the early stages of the game.

5. The First Aid Kit

The Steelers just can't seem to beat the injury bug this season. Rashard Mendenhall is still down after injuring his Achilles after returning from a torn ACL last year. Jonathan Dwyer is unlikely to play with a quad injury and it seems as if Isaac Redman, who was nursing an ankle injury the last few weeks, will be the starting back. Troy Polamalu and Marcus Gilbert are still out, but it looks like Ryan Clark (concussion) and LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) will be able to play. The linebacking unit is thin as backups Stevenson Sylvester and Brandon Johnson have nursed on-again-off-again injuries. Hopefully we can get through this one unscathed, but the Mike Tomlin philosophy of "starters in waiting" is certainly being tested this season. The secondary without Polamalu is shaky at best and will be tested by Eli and the Giants receivers.

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