By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants (2-3) travel to face the New England Patriots (5-0) on a short week (Thursday night) after being beaten soundly by the Minnesota Vikings 28-10. The Patriots have started 5-0 four times during the Belichick era and their +121 point differential is the most through five games since the 1999 St. Louis Rams (+123). Aside from their offensive performance, the most impressive stat is that the Patriots are only allowing 6.8 points per game thus far.
Tom Brady continues to defy father time with his production this season as he needs only 18 yards to surpass Peyton Manning for 2nd place in passing yards. The Giants are limping into Foxboro with news that wide receiver Sterling Shepard (2nd concussion) will not play and the jury’s still out if running back Saquon Barkley will be activated. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones got a taste of what a real defense looks like against the Vikings and expect to see the same from the Patriots and the defensive mind of Belichick.
Every aspect points to the Giants suffering their fourth loss of the season, but if they have any chance of winning; they need to do these four things:
- Time of Possession: This has been one of the most lopsided category for the Giants to win throughout the last few seasons. The best way to accomplish this is by having a well balanced offensive attack and keeping the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands. Obviously; this is easily said than done and the Giants would need a whole bunch of breaks along the way. Daniel Jones needs to throw for at least 300 yards and Giants must have a minimum of 100 yards on the ground.
- Turnovers: This is another category that the Giants haven’t done well as they are currently at -5 on the year in turnover ratio; as the Patriots are at +7. The Giants can’t afford to turn the ball over and they must create turnovers on the defensive side of the ball.
- Big Plays: The Giants certainly need to stretch the field against the Patriots and look to make some big plays. They have a few weapons capable of getting behind the secondary or creating mismatches in rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton and tight end Evan Engram who leads the Giants in receptions/yards and touchdowns.
- Red Zone Efficiency: Not only were the Giants horrible in the red zone against the Vikings (0-2), but they only managed to get there twice. This can’t be the case against the Patriots or it’s going to be a very long night.
Final Thoughts: The Patriots are undefeated at home against rookie quarterbacks since 2000 and were last beaten by a rookie quarterback on the road against Geno Smith (New York Jets in 2013).
The Giants defense is so inconsistent and not to mention banged up that it’s hard to imagine them having a strong game from start to finish. The Patriots are such a well run machine and whenever you have a healthy and productive Tom Brady leading the way; it’s hard to beat against him.
Final Score: Patriots-35 Giants-10