The New England Patriots at the New York Giants: A Highly Biased Game Preview
In what could be the NFL’s premier Week 10 matchup, the New England Patriots will travel to swamps of New Jersey to meet the New York Giants. For how long both the Patriots and the Giants have been in existence, this will be only the 11th time, including postseason play, which these teams have faced off in meaningful games. The Giants hold the edge in the series 6-5 including two Super Bowl wins following the 2007 and 2011 seasons.
Both teams lead their divisions and are jockeying for playoff position in their respective conferences. For the Giants, they currently hold the #4 seed in the NFL but are only one game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots, on the other hand, have left their division rivals in the dust and are trying to keep pace with the Bengals and Broncos for one of the top seeds in the AFC.
So in yet another futile attempt to be non-bias and analytical, both teams were broken down in key areas to see how they will match up against each other and which one may have the key to a victory.
Quarterback – Patriots: Both quarterbacks are having good seasons but Tom Brady is on a historic pace for quarterback efficiency and has shown week after week his ability to quickly adjust during a game to whatever opposing defenses are trying to do.
Running Backs – Giants: Neither the Giants or the Patriots have been lighting the league on fire with their ability to run. The Giants have the 24th ranked rushing attack while the Patriots are a few spots behind them at 26th. The duo of Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen get the edge over the Patriots who will be trying to find a replacement for Dion Jordan’s production.
Wide Receivers – Giants: Though the statistics for the two wide receiving corps are similar, Odell Beckham Jr is a game changing player that cannot over looked. Add in Rueben Randle and Dwayne Harris and the Giants have the edge in this area.
Tight Ends – Patriots: The Giants have four 250lbs+ tight ends on their roster but their combine efforts do not match the offensive output of Rob Gronkowski.
Offensive Line – Push: Both teams have had injuries to their offensive lines and neither team have been dominating opponents in pass or run blocking.
Defensive Front Seven – Patriots: Ironically, the Patriots go into this game with a much stouter run defense and one of the better pass rushes in the NFL. This appears to be a complete role reversal than what has been the case in previous matchups. The return of Jason Pierre-Paul can only help the Giants pass rush which has been awful at best.
Secondary – Patriots: Either due to poor pass rush, injury, or scheme, the Giants have one of the worst secondary units in the NFL. The 2015 Patriots secondary will never be confused with their 2014 Super Bowl winning squad but they have done an adequate job of playing complementary defense with the front seven.
Special Teams – Push: If this game comes down to the kickers, both Stephen Gostkowski and Josh Brown lead their respective Conferences in kicking and have the ability to win the game if needed.
Coaching – Push: There are not very many circumstances where an opposing NFL coach would compare with Bill Belichick. However, in a very little known stat, Tom Coughlin is 5-1 against Belichick coached teams. Coughlin’s Jaguars were 2-0 against Belichick’s Browns and, after Coughlin took over the Giants, has gone 3-1 against the Patriots. Though the previous games have very little impact, the history of the two coaches can’t be totally ignored.
If we assign 2 points for every category (1 point per team for draws) this is how it lines up:
Key’s to a Patriots Victory:
1) Don’t Ignore the Obvious: Odell Beckham Jr and Shane Vereen are the main offensive weapons at Eli Manning’s disposal. The Patriots defense must focus on these two players and make the Giants find someone else to go to.
2) Take Advantage of Scoring Opportunities: The recent games between the Giants and Patriots have come down to the smallest of margins of victory. Kicking field goals vs. desperate attempts at 4th down would be the smart strategy.
3) Forget Past Demons: There are a lot of bad memories for Tom Brady and the Patriots when it comes to Giants. The reality is that those previous games have no bearing on the outcome of Sunday’s matchup and the Patriots should not get caught up in past events.
There is no team in the NFC that has given the Patriots more trouble that the Giants. New York’s ability to get pressure on Tom Brady buy using only their defensive line has allowed them to take away New England’s passing lanes especially on the shorter routes. This defensive plan, much to the dismay of Patriots fans, has resulted in devastating losses on the biggest of NFL stages.
This year’s Giants have many offensive weapons which has given them a top 10 offense. Defensively, New York’s team is not as stout as we have seen them in recent years. On paper, the Patriots enter this game with one of the better defensive squads that they have fielded in the past decade but they need to prove their worth against a quality opponent.
The last four games that these teams have played, where the Giants are 3-1, were decided by a combine 14 points. Expect a close game in the swamps of New Jersey.
The Knuckles Prediction: Patriots 27 – Giants 24