The matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI will feature the Patriots attack no-huddle offense, which the team didn't really employ in the Week 9 match up until there was nearly two minutes left in the game. Since that game, the no-huddle has become a staple in the Patriots offense and it can present matchup nightmares with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, while putting pressure on defensive packages. Pat Kirwin of NFL.com spoke with Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett about that very issue.
With the personnel group they put on the field for first down, the Patriots are basically going to make New York play second- and third-down defense. I asked Washington Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett about this issue. His team lost a tight game to the Patriots in Week 14 and defeated the Giants twice during the season. Haslett said New England can force you to limit your substitutions and possibly your defensive calls because of the no-huddle, especially when the Pats are in hurry-up mode.
As for the Giants offense much has been put at the feet of Eli Manning, rightfully so, but the Giants running game has played a big part in the team's post season success. In their three playoff games this season, the Giants have rushed the ball 84 times for 351 yards, running the ball at least 26 times in each game. Kirwin spoke with one NFL defensive coordinator who explained the running game is a big catalyst for the Giants offense.
As one defensive coordinator with personal experience against both teams said, "The Giants need the running game more than the Patriots do if they want to win this game." To me, that means neutralizing Wilfork, who now plays on about 75 percent of the defensive snaps. That's a lot for a guy his size. Maybe the Giants should use counter with some no-huddle of their own early on to wear the big man down.
The Patriots run defense has been surprisingly good in the playoffs, limiting Ricky Williams and Ray Rice to just 89 yards on 27 carries in the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens. In the Week 9 match up, the Giants ran the ball 29 times for 111 yards, but that was without running back Ahmad Bradshaw.