Usually the quarterback on defense is the Middle Linebacker. The middle linebacker is the Mike linebacker in the 4-3 defense. In Sunday’s contest, the quarterbacks on defense will be the right outside linebackers. The right outside linebackers are usually referred to as the Will linebacker. Enough football terminology, its time to break down Giants right outside linebacker Michael Boley and Patriots right outside linebacker Jerod Mayo.
Michael Boley is great with play recognition. The Giants linebacking core was lost at times until Boley showed up late in the year. Once Boley returned, the Giants linebackers started playing better at the right time.
The New York Giants linebacking core consists of Michael Boley at right outside linebacker, Chase Blackburn at middle linebacker, and Mathias Kiwanuka at left outside linebacker.
The Giants outside linebackers can blitz Tom Brady or stop the run. The Giants outside linebackers biggest weakness seems to be covering receivers. Medium passes to the outside may be the best way to exploit this defense.
Chase Blackburn is mainly a run stuffer at middle linebacker. Blackburn could struggle in coverage and he may not get to the quarterback. Blackburn may be the least effective linebacker of the 3.
New England’s linebackers feature Jerod Mayo at right outside linebacker, Brandon Spikes at middle linebacker, and Rob Ninkovich at left outside linebacker.
Mayo can blitz, stop the run, or cover. Spikes can do the same things as Mayo in the middle. Spikes has trouble staying healthy sometimes which is my biggest issue with Spikes. Rob Ninkovich can stop the run and record interceptions. Not the best coverage linebacker. Ninkovich helps the younger players with his veteran presence on the strong side.
I think New England’s linebackers will have more success because I believe, A. Mayo is the best linebacker among the 6 playing, and B. I like New England’s overall core of linebackers better than the New York Giants.