The Patriots and the Giants will square off on Sunday. The Giants are looking to separate themselves in the NFC East race while the Patriots are trying to stay undefeated for another week and move closer towards Home Field Advantage. Both teams have suffered devastating injuries in the past week with the Patriots losing Dion Lewis and the Giants losing Jonathan Hankins. The Patriots will be dealing with a patchwork OL for this week with Marcus Cannon and Sebastian Vollmer's availability very doubtful. The Patriots do have an open roster spot, so they could try to patch up some OL depth behind Cameron Fleming and Bryan Stork at OT.
Get LeGarrette Blount Running Early: The best way to utilize a banged up offensive line is to run the football. You have Fleming at LT, Shaq Mason at LG, David Andrews at C, Josh Kline at RG, and Stork at RT, which means you have two guys playing positions they haven't done before. Fleming, Mason, and Stork are all terrific run blockers, which means you can still have the power running game between the tackles. The only threat I'd be concerned with is speed rushers, which the Giants don't have. At the same time, the best way to keep a pass rush honest is to establish said running game with LeGarrette Blount. The Giants don't have a lot of talent in their Front 7, which could mean a big game for Blount. Even though subbing in Blount can telegraph the Patriots intent at times, if the Giants can think run every time Blount is on the field, that opens up the passing game off play action.
Isolate Match-Ups on the Perimeter: The Giants secondary isn't very good either, which means the Patriots will have matchup advantages on the perimeter on any given play. Whether that's Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, or even Brandon Bolden, there are yards to be had on the outside. There are opportunities for Brady to read the defense in the pre-snap phrase and find the off coverage. Tom shouldn't have issues trying to find matchups and probably doesn't need a lot of time to find his guy.
Bracket Odell Beckham Jr. with a CB and Safety: The Giants top threat is their superstar receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ has had a Gronk-like pace with 19 TDs in 21 games and is the fastest receiver to get to 150 receptions. So that's how the Patriots need to scheme out. Behind Beckham is a rather average cast of receivers, with Rueben Randle as the #2 WR and Shane vereen, who we know is capable of. In terms of assigning coverage, I would like to see the Patriots put safety Patrick Chung on Vereen because he's a more important player than Larry Donnell, who I know Chung can cover easily.
Patriots Defensive Backs Need to Be Physical on Giants Receivers: The Giants run a West Coast style of offense that relies on the precision of routes by their receivers, so the Patriots coverage players need to jam their receivers and affect the timing of the releases to disrupt the play. If the Patriots can impede the progress of the Giants routes without drawing penalties, that split second of time could be the difference between a catch for a 1st down and an interception. That means the onus is on Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, and Justin Coleman to attack the receivers they cover and not allow them to roam freely downfield. I'm not sure how effective the Giants receivers will be if the Patriots can limit Odell Beckham, but I believe that this group of corners can play well against the Giants receivers.
For a final prediction, I'm going Patriots 38, Giants 27. The Giants offense is very potent when it's playing well but the Patriots offense is on a different level. Then when you factor the defenses, the Patriots are a Top 10 defense while the Giants rank below average. The Giants can have a very potent offense when everything is clicking, but they've underperformed as a unit compared to their talent. Even though the game is in New Jersey, the Patriots should have little trouble against the Giants.
"Games aren't played on paper, but they aren't played in the past." - Javon Stokes