The last two times the New England Patriots and the New York Giants met in the regular season, both teams would go on to appear in the Super Bowl. As you may have heard, the Giants would win both of those match-ups and the last three games between the two teams overall. That being said, these two teams appear to be on a different level in 2015. The Patriots are a perfect 8-0. They are firing on all cylinders on offense, and have quietly developed an elite defense to go with it. The Giants can score the football at will, but have been terribly inconsistent, although opportunistic defensively. The Giants want to use this game as a barometer to see if their football team is a true contender. The Patriots just want to win, although deep down you have to think they want revenge for those Super Bowl losses (they would never admit this). Let’s get to the details:
How The Giants Rank:
Total Offense: 349.7 YPG (21st)
Rush Offense: 96.7 YPG (24th)
Pass Offense: 253.0 (14th)
3rd Down Offense: 40.8% (13th)
Points Per Game: 27.4 PPG (5th)
Total Defense: 422.8 YPG (32nd)
Rush Defense: 114.8 YPG (22nd)
Pass Defense: 308.0 (31st)
3rd Down Defense: 47.6% (31st)
Points Allowed/Game: 25.1 PPG (19th)
Turnover Ratio: +12 (1st)
Three Storylines to Watch:
Patriots struggles with the Giants:
Yes, yes, yes. We get it. Many of us are still sickened by it. The Giants "have the Patriots number." Tom Coughlin can outcoach Bill Belichick. They beat New England in two Super Bowls. David Tyree can come from the edge of hell itself to overcome demonic possession and catch footballs on his head. We’re going to hear a lot about New England’s 1-3 record against New York since 2007. While it may give Tom Brady an extra chip on his shoulder, he’s one of just two players on the Patriots roster from that first Super Bowl match-up. These are completely different teams, with completely different stakes. That won’t stop people from talking about the past.
Litmus test for the Giants:
The Giants have been a bit of a challenge to qualify in 2015. They lead the NFC East division over the Eagles by half a game, but they really have not faced a huge challenge. Their signature win of the year thus far has been a 24-10 road win at Buffalo. Their other wins have come against sub-.500 teams: the Cowboys, Redskins, 49ers, and Buccaneers. Starting with this week against the Patriots, their schedule gets significantly more challenging. As Big Blue View writes, this will be a litmus test for this team:
The Giants come in at 5-4, also leading their division, but the team has played inconsistently throughout the year, especially struggling in the fourth quarter of games. But the Giants, who are no stranger to beating the Patriots when New England is at its best, have won as the underdog before against Bill Belichick and company. And if they can win again on Sunday against New England, it could solidify their status as a playoff threat in the NFC.
New York has an offense that is capable of putting points up in a hurry with an improved offensive line, but has been inconsistent on that side. Defensively, they are not producing the pressure that we’re used to seeing from Tom Coughlin coached teams (just nine sacks) and that has led to a terrible 3rd down rate. However, they have been opportunistic with turning turnovers into touchdowns (four on the year).
The league will know a lot more about where the Giants stand following Sunday’s game.
Covering Odell Beckham Jr:
The New England Patriots historically do a very good job taking away their opponent’s best player. And there’s no doubt about it, Odell Beckham Jr. is that player for the New York Giants. While he’s not quite on the same pace that he was in his unprecedented rookie season, he’s still a dynamic playmaking threat. In nine games, he’s caught 59 passes for 759 yards and seven touchdowns – all while defenses have been much more focused on him. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots attempt to limit Beckham. In week one, when the Patriots played against the Steelers, they often used Malcolm Butler on an island against elite receiver Antonio Brown. Brown generally got the better of Butler in that match-up, but he was fantastic against another deep threat in DeSean Jackson week nine. Beckham proved he can be a valuable underneath player against the Bucaneers last week, so this match-up will certainly be one to watch. The Patriots will likely turn to Devin McCourty for a lot of safety help. Even if the Patriots do manage to slow Beckham Jr. down, the Giants do have other strong weapons. The receiver who is opposite Beckham, Rueben Randle, has caught 70% of the passes thrown his way from Eli Manning this year.
What are your thoughts early thoughts on the match-up? For everything Giants-related, head on over to Big Blue View.