Pregame Thoughts: Patriots Travel to Face Giants in Tough Road Test
The New England Patriots travel to face the New York Giants Sunday afternoon. Here’s a few thoughts on the upcoming contest. —
– The Patriots enter this game 8-0, now heading to East Rutherford in week 10. New England has yet to lose a game this season, rolling through their schedule with relative ease. There have been some challenges, but New York’s offense should give the Pats defense a tough test.
– The Giants are a tough team to figure out this season. At a 5-4 record, New York is leading the NFC East by a slim margin. While the offense has been productive, averaging 27.4 points-per-game, the defense ranks in multiple categories as one of the league’s worst.
– A lot of people will make this game about the history of these two teams, mostly in the last seven-eight years. But both teams are very different. Two similarities for each? The coaches and quarterbacks.
Tom Coughlin has a 5-1 record against Bill Belichick and the Giants have won the last three games versus New England. In fact, New York is the only team the Patriots have not defeated in the NFL since 2008.
Three Keys to Victory:
Win the Turnover Battle: The Giants have the best turnover margin in the NFL, currently plus-12. For some perspective, the Patriots are second in the league with plus-7. Five times this season new York has finished a game with a turnover margin 3-plus or better. It sounds cliche, but the Patriots have to win the turnover battle on the road, especially facing an offense that could give you problems. You don’t want to give them extra opportunities.
Win on Third Down: One area the Giants have struggled this season, third down defense. They have not been able to get off the field, allowing opposing offenses to sustain drives. The Patriots have been able to matriculate the ball down the field and score at will throughout the season, if they can continue that trend this week at MetLife Stadium, they’ll walk out with a victory.
Contain Beckham: You’ve seen the highlight reel catches, Odell Beckham, Jr. is one of the best young playmakers in the NFL. The second-year receiver is having a strong sophomore campaign, hauling in 59 catches for 759 yards and 7 touchdowns so far in 2015.
The Patriots will be challenged defensively Sunday, but the first priority must be to contain Beckham and not let him take over the contest. Malcolm Butler will likely get the call defending OBJ, but expect a lot of help over the top. He’s the gasoline that gets the Giants offensive motor running.
Patriots 31, Giants 24
New England has a tough test ahead Sunday, but are the better team. While New York could give them problems early on, I expect the Patriots to pull away and get the job done. The Patriots will be able to put up points, but this game will be decided on if the defense can get off the field and not let Eli Manning elevate his team like he’s done in the past.
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