ATS Super Bowl Breakdown

ATS Consultants
Posted Feb 5, 2012

Selections, picks, and predictions on every NFL game.

FREE NFL PLAYOFF SELECTIONS New York Giants vs. New England(-3/55); Sunday, Feb. 5, 6:30pmET) , Indianapolis

Key Trends: NY Giants are 8-2 ATS playing against a team with a winning record this season. New England is 26-9 OVER L35.

How They Got Here:
The New York Giants (12-7 SU, 11-8 ATS) faced New England on Nov. 6 and defeated them, 24-20 as a 9.5 point underdog. In that game. QB Eli Manning was 20-of-39 for 250 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. The Giants won the turnover battle as the Patriots turned it over four times and the Giants had two. Tom Brady threw for 342 yards, while WR Wes Welker led the Pats with 9 catches for 136 yards. Victor Cruz led the Giants with 6 catches for 91 yards. The Giants had 361 total yards, while the Patriots amassed 438 yards. In the 2011 postseason, the Giants defeated Green Bay on the road, 37-20 after losing a few weeks earlier at home.

The NFC East champion opened the playoffs with a blowout win over Atlanta, 24-2 as a 3-point favorite. The Big Blue defense took away the Falcons' running game allowing just 64 yards on 21 carries. In the NFC Championship game, the Giants got some revenge on San Francisco, as they edged the 49ers, 20-17 in overtime. They forced a fumble on a punt return and Lawrence Tynes kicked the game-winner. Manning threw for 316 yards and two TDs with no picks. They had two sacks and allowed 328 total yards.

New England (15-3 SU, 10-8 ATS)
You could almost say this is double-revenge for the Patriots, who lost in Super Bowl 42, in 2008, 17-14 to the Giants. That Giants' performance turned out to be one of the greatest defensive performances in the history of the Super Bowl as New York stopped the Patriots from becoming the first 19-0 team. In that contest, ,Eli Manning (255yds, 2TDs, 1TD) was named MVP and David Tyree caught an amazing 33-yard pass on the game-winning drive, which ended in a 25-yard TD pass to Plaxico Burress. But it was the Giants' ability to pressure Tom Brady that was a huge key (5 sacks).

In the postseason, the Pats had home field advantage and opened with Denver, destroying them, 45-10. Tom Brady threw for 363 yards and a record 6 TDs with just one pick. They held Denver to just 252 total yards and completely shut down Tim Tebow, who ran for 13 yards and threw for 136 (9-of-26). This one was over at the half as the Patriots were up a commanding 34-7. TE Rob Gronkowski caught 10 passes for 145 yards to lead the offense They followed that with a much more difficult game against Baltimore. New England edged the Ravens 23-20 as Baltimore's Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard FG that would have probably sent the game to overtime with 11 secs left. Brady struggled throwing for 239 yards but no TD passes and 2 picks. The defense played decently, allowing 398 total yards and got stronger in the red zone.

Personnel Matchups
The New York Giants (12-7 SU, 11-8 ATS) are on a similar path as Green Bay in 2010. The Packers had a good but not great regular season and just exploded in the postseason. The Giants' offense hasn't exactly exploded in the playoffs, scoring 24, 20 and 37 points. They did put up those 37 against Green Bay, a defense that's similar to New England's (31st-ranked).

Manning has thrown for 8 TDs and 1 pick in the postseason (61.8%) but has been sacked 8 times. He was sacked 5 times vs. the 49ers in the NFC Championship game. In the regular season, he threw for 29 TDs, 16 picks and 4,933 yds in 2011. He has several solid targets including Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, the electrifying second-year man from UMass, who leads the team with 82 catches and 1,536 yds (18.7ypc) and 9 TDs.

Nicks leads in the post season with 18 catches for 335 yards and 4 TDs. TE Jake Ballard has been quiet with just 3 catches and he had 38 for 604 yards (15.9ypc) in the regular season. Despite their problems in the running game, the Giants manage to finish 8th overall (385.1ypg) in the NFL during the regular season. They averaged just 89.2 ypg on the ground but that's partially due to injuries. They are healthy now. Brandon Jacobs (571yds, 3.8ypc this year) has 127 yards (4.5ypc) and Ahmad Bradshaw has 200 yards in postseason so they have some balance. The offensive line is aging, but they are still an elite line.

C David Baas and RG Chris Snee are Pro Bowl-caliber players as is RT Kareem McKenzie. LT David Diehl is good but not elite. The key will be protecting Manning because New England can't afford to let Manning sit back there and pick apart their shaky secondary. Defensively, this can be a very good unit when healthy.

They ranked 27th overall and are 29th against the pass but that's a little misleading due to injuries up front. The key is their pass rush led by Jason Pierre-Paul, who has 16.5 sacks. He was on the field due to injuries and flourished. In the postseason, he has just a 1/2 a sack but veteran Osi Umenyiora has 3.5 sacks while DE Justin Tuck has 1.5. In the regular season, Tuck had just 5 sacks but was hampered by injuries Umenyiora is one of the best pass rushers in the game, who had 9 sacks, despite playing just 9 games due to knee and ankle injuries.

LB Michael Boley is second on the team with 93 tackles and had 2 sacks vs. Packers. Boley missed two games due to injuries and he's another key performer. LB Chase Blackburn has stepped up in the postseason with 20 tackles after recording just 26 in the regular season. The linebackers (and safeties) will be busy against two great tight ends for the Patriots.

Expect S Kenny Phillips (82 tackles, 4 picks) to get tested as well against the tight ends. He has 10 tackles in the postseason. S Antrell Rolle led the team in tackles with 96 in the regular season and 21 in the postseason. At corner, Corey Webster led the team in interceptions with 6.

CB Aaron Ross added 8 tackles in the postseason and 69 tackles and 4 picks in the regular season. On special teams, the Giants lack a dynamic return game but are pretty good on coverage and forced two big fumbles last week on punt returns.

PK Lawrence Tynes has made 19 of 24 with a long of 50 and is 6 of 8 in the postseason. P Steve Weatherford averages 45.7yds/punt and was 46.4yds/punt in the postseason. Ross and Will Blackmon have been returning punts with Jerrel Jernigan (22ypr) leading the way.

New England (15-3 SU, 10-8 ATS) is back in the Super Bowl for the seventh time overall and first since 2008. Their last Super Bowl win took place in 2005 (24-21 over Philadelphia). Since 2002, New England has been in the big dance five times. Brady leads the number two offense against a defense that was suspect during the regular season but with an outstanding pass rush, could pose a lot of problems. Brady completed 65.6% of his passes for 5,235 yards, 39 TDs and 12 picks in the regular season. In the postseason, Brady has completed 69% with 602 yards, 6TDs and 3 picks. He struggled last week against a Baltimore Ravens' defense that played mainly coverage and sent very few blitzers. It would help if New England's 20th rushing offense. plays well.

RB BenJarvus Ellis (667yds, 3.7ypc, 11 TDs) is a solid but unspectacular back who has 96 yards (3.4ypc) in the postseason. Danny Woodhead is third in rushing in the postseason with 43 yards and is third overall in the regular season with 351 yards (4.6ypc). He can be a dangerous receiver as well. New England lacks a vertical receiver like a Randy Moss but they do have a great possession receiver in Wes Welker, who has 122 catches for 1569 yds and 9 TDs in the regular season. Welker has 12 catches in the postseason for 108 yds (9ypc) and one TD.

Brady also has two outstanding threats in TEs RB Gronkowski (90 for 1327yds, 17 TDs) and Aaron Hernandez (79 for 910yds). Hernandez also lines up in the backfield occasionally and has 8 carries for 70 yards in the postseason. Gronkowski leads with 15 catches for 232 yards and 3 TDs in the postseason but suffered a high ankle sprain against Baltimore and may not be 100%. Hernandez is second with 11 catches for 121 yards and one TD. Deion Branch has done it in the past, having won the Super Bowl MVP in XXXIX. At 32, he caught 51 for 702 yds in the regular season with just five catches in the postseason.

The offensive line is similar to the New York Giants in their experience, especially on the left side with Pro Bowlers LT Matt Light and LG Logan Mankins. The Giants will try to take advantage of Light (did in their last SB) and rookie RT Nate Solder. On defense, New England ranks 31st against the pass and 17th against the run (4.6ypc allowed). They have played better in the postseason, especially against Baltimore as they allowed just 20 points.

LB Jerrod May leads the team with 95 tackles and also has 2 picks and leads in the postseason with 17 tackles. LB Brandon Spikes adds 15 tackles and came up with a huge pick against Baltimore. OLB Rob Ninkovich adds 6.5 sacks in the regular season and has 1.5 sacks in the postseason. Up front, DE Andre Carter (10 sacks) is out with an quad injury. DE Mark Anderson now leads the pass rush with 10 sacks. NT Vince Wilfork (6-2, 325) is a monster up the middle and leads the run stoppers. He had 52 tackles and 3.5 sacks in the regular season and has 2.5 sacks in the postseason. The secondary is very shaky though CB Kyle Arrington does have 88 tackles and 7 picks. He's a sure tackler who led the team against Denver with 10 tackles and then was injured against Baltimore with an eye injury. He should be ready for this game. They have been so desperate back there, they've even used WR/PR Julian Edelman at cornerback. Devin McCourty (87 tackles, 2 picks) is the other corner.

At safety. Patrick Chung (62 tackles, 1 pick) is their best player in the secondary when healthy. As for special teams, the return game is ordinary though Edelman is dangerous as a punt returner (10.7ypr) because he has no fear. Woodhead averaged 21.9ypr during the season and 32.3ypr in the postseason but did lose a fumble. PK Stephen Gostkowski has made 28 off 33 kicks with a long of 50, (4 of 4 postseason