Super Bowl Preview Part 2; Nfc Champions in Review

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2011 Regular Season

The New York Giants really had an up and down regular season. In fact, they barely won their division, which allowed them to make the playoffs. They had a record of only 9-7. With their last victory in week 17 over the Cowboys securing them a divisional title with a record of 1 win over .500.

They did hand their upcoming Super Bowl opponent their only home loss of the regular season. That victory also snapped the Patriots 23 game home winning streak at Gillette Stadium over the past 4 seasons.

The Giants were ranked 8th in total offense in 2011. They racked up a total of 6,161 yards of total offense during the regular season.

They passed for 4,933 yards through the air behind the direction of Eli Manning . Manning threw for 29 touchdowns and added 16 interceptions. His quarterback passer rating was 92.9. His touchdown to interception ratio was 1.81 to 1 or 29/16. He averaged 296 yards per game through the air.

As a team the Giants rushed for 1,427 yards. They ran for 17 touchdowns. Like, New England, they split time with a few different backs. Their leading rusher, Ahmad Brooks, ran for 659 yards and 9 scores, which was very similar to New England’s leading rusher stat line.Their running backs fumbled the ball 6 times during the regular season.

Their top three receivers were Victor Cruz, veteran Hakeem Nicks, and tight end Jake Ballard. They combined for almost 200 receptions, over 3,300 yards, and 20 touchdowns during the regular season.

Victor Cruz was a pleasant surprise to many Giants fans this season, becoming their top receiver. Cruz hauled in 82 balls. He scored 9 times and caught for 1,536 yards. Again, a very similar stat line to New England’s top wide out, Wes Welker, minus the receptions of course. However, his yards per catch were much higher than Welkers with an eye popping 18.6 yard per catch average.

Hakeem Nicks continued to shine in 2011. He hauled in 76 balls for 1,192 yards. Nicks added 7 touchdowns on the season. His yards per catch average was 15.6, a very solid number.

Tight end Jake Ballard, emerged as Eli’s favorite target in the middle of the field. While his statistics were not as eye popping as either of New England’s tight ends, he did manage to haul in 38 catches for 602 yards and 4 scores. He did his best to make New York fans forget about David Boss who went to the Raiders.

The Giants defense was much maligned during the regular season, as were the Patriots, but for different reasons. The Giants ranked 26th in points allowed. This is probably a much more important stat than total yards as teams win and lose based on point totals.

The Giants still had no problem sacking opposing quarterbacks though. They racked up 48 sacks during the regular season. They were led by rookie stand out Jason Pierre-Paul who lead the team with 16.5 sacks. Defensive veteran Osi Uminyiora added 9 sacks.

The team’s top tackler was defensive back Antrel Rolle. He racked up 96 tackles including 82 solo tackles. He also added 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble.

The team’s top defensive back was Corey Webster. Webster hauled in 6 interceptions on the season, one behind the league lead. Webster added 51 tackles to his stat line. He had no forced fumbles during the regular season.

The Giants won their final two games of the season including wins over their instate rival N.Y. Jets and their divisional rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. With their win on the final week of the regular season, they secured the NFC East divisional title.

2012 Post Season

With a regular season record of 9-7, the Giants secured a divisonal title. This gave them the #4 seed in the NFC, which meant that they would get to host one home game. After that all other games would be on the road in hostile territory.

Wild Card Round

The #4 Seeded New York Giants hosted the # 5 seeded Atlanta Falcons at Met Life Stadium on Sunday January 8, 2012. The Giants were a higher seed despite the fact that the Falcons had a better record due to the Giants winning their division.The game was never even close. The Giants completely dominated the Falcons in that contest with a final score of 24-2 with Atlanta’s only points coming off a safety.

In that contest, Eli Manning threw for 277 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His counterpart, Matt Ryan, was held to just 199 yards and no touchdowns.

The Giants also dominated on the ground. They rushed for 172 yards mostly on the backs of rushers Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Jacobs led the team with 92 yards on 14 carries.

The Giants defense dominated, although not statistically. They did not allow any points, but only racked up 2 sacks with no interceptions and no forced fumbles. The only points in the contest came off of a safety by Atlanta’s defense while New York’s defense was on the sideline.

Divisional Round

The divisional round game was played in Green Bay on Sunday January 15, 2012. The Green Bay packers were the #1 seed and came in with a record of 15-1. They seemed like they could not be beaten. Yet, like in 2008, it seemed Eli Manning didn’t get the memo.

The Giants were in a tight game until right before the half, when Eli Manning heaved an unexpected Hail Mary pass that was hauled in by reciever Hakeem Nicks for a touchdown to the shock and surprise of the Packers.

After that deflation, the Packers never seemed to recover. New York got a turnover in the second half and never looked back. The final score wasn’t even close. The Giants were victorious by a score of 37-20. The Giants had once again shocked the world and were headed on to meet the #2 seeded San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game in San Francisco, another rematch of a regular season game from 2011.

NFC Championship

The #2 seeded San Francisco 49ers hosted the #4 seeded New York Giants on Sunday January 22, 2012 at Candlestick Park. The game was a very low scoring game through the first three quarters with the 49ers leading 14-10. Then in the fourth quarter, the Giants scored on a Mario Manningham touchdown toss from Eli Manning. That made it 17-14.The 49ers eventually scored a 25 yard field goal to send it into overtime.

In overtime the Giants received the ball. However, they did nothing with it and were forced to punt. When the 49ers got the ball back, their offense could not score either. It was then kicked back to the Giants who were again stopped and forced to punt.

On the ensuing punt, the Niner’s return man Kyle Wiliams, who had already fumbled once before setting up a Giants touchdown, fumbled again and New York recovered in field goal territory. This allowed kicker Lawrence Tynes to kick a game winning 31 yard field goal in sudden death.

FINAL TOTAL NFC PLAYOFF STAT LINES

Games Played: 3

Offense: first downs 58 third down conversions 23/52 yards total 1,214 rushing yards352 passing yards 862 completions 76/123–61% touchdowns 9 field goals 6/8 total points 81

Defense: first downs allowed 54 third down conversions against 11/39 offensive yards allowed 963 rushing yards 361 passing yards 602 completions against 62/113–55% sacks 9 interceptions 1

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