New England Patriots (8-0, 1st AFC East) at New York Giants (5-4, 1st NFC East), Sunday 1pm at MetLife Stadium
Over the next 48 hours, MetLife Stadium will switch from Green to Blue, while the CBS broadcast team of Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, and Tracy Wolfson get ready for a weekend “double header” with the NY football teams. This New York Football Giant game will be a 4:25pm, late afternoon, Sunday start, televised across the country on CBS.
The Patriots are undefeated, 8-0 for the first time since 2007 – and getting ready to play a Giant team with skill position talent, but who has played up-and-down most of the year. Where have we heard this before? Of course, we know that the Giants and Patriots have a lot of recent history, with Giant victories over New England in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. But, the comparison should stop there. This Giant team does not have the defensive talent those Super Bowl teams possessed, and has only 9 sacks in 9 games so far in 2015. The current Giants also do not have the powerful offensive line that could control tempo and clock with the running game. The 2015 Giants do have an improving offensive line with young players (LT Ereck Flowers, OG Justin Pugh, and C Weston Richburg) and a defensive line that welcomed back DE Jason-Pierre Paul (hand) against Tampa Bay last weekend.
In the Giants’ 32-18 win over the Buccaneers, JPP impressed with his conditioning. In his first game of any kind this season, he played on an amazing 73% of the defensive snaps, and was effective in placing pressure on Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston. He’ll need to do the same this week, if the Giants have any hope of holding down New England’s high powered offense, led by future Hall of Famer, QB Tom Brady. The Patriots do have challenges on their Offensive Line, as injuries have them down to third-team LT Cameron Fleming, and second-team RT Bryan Stork. But, that said, the Patriots did not allow any sacks to Washington last week.
Nonetheless, this should be a fun matchup of good offenses. The Giants are averaging 27.4 pts/game, 5th in the NFL, while the Patriots are 1st in the NFL, at 34.5 pts/game. Brady is averaging 338.6 passing yards per game (2,709 yards overall), and has 22 TDs and only 2 INTs through the first half of the season – he is the consensus mid-season pick for league MVP, with a 113.5 passer rating. Eli Manning is doing very well in his own right — #10 has thrown for 2,339 yards, with 19 TDs and 6 INTs; he is completing 65.9% of his passes with a 96.9 passer rating.
The Giants have a very tough second half slate ahead. After the game vs. the Patriots, the Giants will take a well-deserved Bye in Week 11. Upon their return, they have games against the Jets (home), undefeated Carolina Panthers (home), first-place Minnesota Vikings (away), and in Week 17, division-rival Philadelphia Eagles (home). That game could very well be for the NFC East title.
On the injury front, The Giants need CB Prince Amukamara (pectoral) back soon; he is doubtful to play this week against New England, but will be vital for the stretch run. TE Larry Donnell (neck) is also out.
Tom Coughlin is 5-1 lifetime vs. Bill Belichick. The Giants have a history of playing well against the Patriots. Expect them to play well, but New England’s high powered offense with Brady, TE Rob Gronkowski, and WR Julian Edelman will be too much for a defense that is allowing 25.1 pts/game (19th in the NFL) and allowed 7 Drew Brees TD passes in New Orleans, only two weeks ago. New England pulls away in the second half, winning 38-34.
Mike Lalor can be heard talking New York sports on the Spadora on Sports radio program. His blog can be found at SpadoraOnSports.com.