The 8-0 New England Patriots visit the 5-4 New York Giants in a battle between the division leaders of the AFC East and NFC East on Sunday. The Giants lead the all-time series 6-5, including wins in the last three meetings – which, as every football fan has already been reminded of this last week, includes victories in the 2007 and 2011 super bowls. Prior to that the Patriots had won four straight; all but two games (in 1970 and 2003) have been one possession affairs, decided by eight points or less.
When: Sunday, November 15 at 4:25 pm ET
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford NJ
Television: CBS; announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Weather: Forecast is for a sunny day with clear skies and temperature at kickoff of 56°; zero percent chance of precipitation and a slight breeze with winds of 8-9 mph.
Odds: The Patriots opened as 6½ point favorites a week ago Thursday, prior to last weekend’s games. By Sunday night following the Giants 32-18 win at Tampa Bay and New England’s 27-10 victory over Washington the line inched up to 7 points in most venues, with several at 7½. The 7/7½ point spread has remained , with two exceptions: 5Dimes and SportBet.com both list the Patriots as 9 point favorites as of Saturday morning.
The over/under is 54½, with quite a few places a half point lower. Typical money lines have the Patriots at -350 and the Giants at +290.
Head-to-Head Series Record: New England leads the regular season 5-4, but New York leads overall 6-5. In five games during the Bill Belichick era the Patriots have outscored the Giants by three, but New York has won the last three of those games.
Here is a look at how the two teams compare statistically; the numbers reflect an average per game (or per play), rather than aggregate totals. Per-game and play stats are used rather than gross totals because that makes the rankings more meaningful, considering other NFL teams have played a different number of games thus far due to bye weeks, and because they provide a better context in what to expect in a game.
New England Patriots Offense versus New York Giants Defense
Scoring: Patriots 34.5 (1st); Giants 25.1 (19th)
Yardage: Patriots 420 (2nd); Giants 423 (32nd)
First Downs: Patriots 25.2 (1st); Giants 23.9 (32nd)
Yards per Play: Patriots 6.3 (2nd); Giants 6.1 (30th)
Yards per Drive: Patriots 39.6 (3rd); Giants 38.8 (32nd)
Points per Drive: Patriots 3.22 (1st); Giants 2.16 (23rd)
Drive Success Rate: Patriots .788 (1st); Giants .741 (30th)
Points per Play: Patriots .514 (2nd); Giants .365 (16th)
Touchdowns: Patriots 3.9 (1st); Giants 2.6 (19th)
Red Zone Touchdowns: Patriots 3.2 (1st); Giants 1.7 (15th)
Red Zone TD Percentage: Patriots 68.4% (3rd); Giants 53.6% (12th)
Plays per Game: Patriots 67.1 (8th); Giants 68.9 (29th)
Third Down Conversions: Patriots 6.1 (8th); Giants 6.6 (31st)
Third Down Percentage: Patriots 48.5% (1st); Giants 47.6% (31st)
Punts per Score: Patriots 0.5 (1st); Giants 0.7 (30th)
Rushing Yards: Patriots 94.8 (26th); Giants 114.8 (22nd)
Yards per Rush: Patriots 3.97 (20th); Giants 4.25 (21st)
Passing Yards: Patriots 326 (3rd); Giants 308 (31st)
Yards per Pass Attempt: Patriots 8.3 (3rd); Giants 7.7 (23rd)
Completion Percentage: Patriots 68.6% (5th); Giants 66.8% (27th)
Passer Rating: Patriots 113.5 (1st); Giants 90.5 (17th)
TD Passes/Picks: Patriots +20 (1st), 22/2; Giants -4 (10th), 17/13
Complete Passes: Patriots 28.1 (3rd); Giants 27.3 (31st)
Incomplete Passes: Patriots 12.9 (14th); Giants 13.6 (11th)
Quarterback Sacks: Patriots 2.2 (18th); Giants 1.0 (32nd)
Sack Yardage Lost: Patriots 13.1 (15th); Giants 7.5 (31st)
New York Giants Offense versus New England Patriots Defense
Scoring: Giants 27.4 (5th); Patriots 17.9 (5th)
Yardage: Giants 350 (20th); Patriots 334 (8th)
First Downs: Giants 20.9 (13th); Patriots 20.2 (12th)
Yards per Play: Giants 5.4 (19th); Patriots 5.2 (7th)
Yards per Drive: Giants 34.6 (8th); Patriots 29.3 (9th)
Points per Drive: Giants 2.22 (7th); Patriots 1.58 (6th)
Drive Success Rate: Giants .720 (8th); Patriots .692 (12th)
Points per Play: Giants .425 (5th); Patriots .278 (2nd)
Touchdowns: Giants 2.4 (12th); Patriots 2.0 (7th)
Red Zone Touchdowns: Giants 1.7 (18th); Patriots 1.6 (8th)
Red Zone TD Percentage: Giants 48.4% (24th); Patriots 61.9% (22nd)
Plays per Game: Giants 64.6 (14th); Patriots 64.4 (14th)
Third Down Conversions: Giants 5.4 (13th); Patriots 5.6 (22nd)
Third Down Percentage: Giants 40.8% (13th); Patriots 41.3% (24th)
Punts per Score: Giants 0.9 (5th); Patriots 1.5 (3rd)
Rushing Yards: Giants 96.7 (24th); Patriots 89.3 (3rd)
Yards per Rush: Giants 3.80 (25th); Patriots 4.08 (17th)
Passing Yards: Giants 253 (14th); Patriots 245 (16th)
Yards per Pass Attempt: Giants 6.9 (23rd); Patriots 6.9 (10th)
Completion Percentage: Giants 65.9% (10th); Patriots 62.0% (10th)
Passer Rating: Giants 96.9 (9th); Patriots 83.1 (8th)
TD Passes/Picks: Giants +13 (6th), 19/6; Patriots -3 (9th), 12/9
Complete Passes: Giants 24.9 (9th); Patriots 24.2 (24th)
Incomplete Passes: Giants 12.9 (16th); Patriots 14.9 (7th)
Quarterback Sacks: Giants 1.3 (4th); Patriots 3.4 (2nd)
Sack Yardage Lost: Giants 7.8 (5th); Patriots 23.5 (2nd)
Patriot Giveaways: 0.6 (1st); Giants Takeaways: 2.3 (2nd)
Giants Giveaways: 1.0 (3rd); Patriot Takeaways: 1.5 (13th)
Penalties: Patriots 7.1 (15th); Giants 7.0 (12th)
Penalty Yards: Patriots 62.5 (22nd); Giants 55.9 (10th)
Opponent Penalties: Patriots 7.8 (8th); Giants 8.2 (4th)
Opponent Penalty Yards: Patriots 72.5 (7th); Giants 67.9 (8th)
Football Outsiders Statistics and Rankings
Team Efficiency: Weighted DVOA: Patriots 39.7% (1st); Giants 0.6% (15th)
Team Efficiency: Offense DVOA: Patriots 25.2% (1st); Giants -1.9% (17th)
Team Efficiency: Defense DVOA: Patriots -7.3% (8th); Giants 4.6% (20th)
Special Teams DVOA: Patriots 7.5% (1st); Giants 7.0% (2nd)
Defensively the Patriots game plan to take away an opponent’s strength, and dare that opponent to beat the Pats elsewhere. It would not surprise me if New England did something similar to week one when they provided extra coverage against the Pittsburgh receivers, and made DeAngelo Williams a low priority running the ball. The Giants do not run the ball effectively (25th in yards per carry, 24th in rushing yards per game); other than Shane Vereen (34 receptions, 483 yards from scrimmage, 3 TD) catching passes out of the backfield, the Giants’ running backs are not an area of concern for the Patriots. Rashad Jennings leads the Giants in rushing but is averaging just 40.4 yards per game; collectively the team has run for just three touchdowns this year.
So how will the Patriots plan to limit WR Odell Beckham (59 receptions, 759 yards, 7 TD)? Presumably Malcolm Butler will cover the elite second year pro out of LSU, but he will need help. If the Pats shade Devin McCourty to his side in double coverage, that leaves Reuben Randle (36 receptions, 424 yards, 3 TD) alone on Logan Ryan, perhaps with help from Duron Harmon. Getting pressure on Eli Manning (66% completions; 19 TD, 6 INT) prior to the routes being completed would help, but the Giants have been very good in pass protection. Football Outsiders ranks the New York offensive line 11th in pass protection, and the Giants have given up the fifth fewest yards due to sacks in the NFL this year – even though they have dropped back to pass the sixth most times. TE Larry Donnell (29 receptions, 223 yards, 2 TD) is out with a neck injury, so Manning will rely heavily on Beckham, Randle, and return specialist Dwayne Harris (19/222/3), who has taken over in the slot with Victor Cruz (calf) still out.
As you can see from the statistics above, the New England offense has a very decided advantage over the New York defense. Although that is tempered a bit by the loss of RB Dion Lewis and the return of Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, the Patriots should be able to move the ball effectively. Although the Giants give up lots of yards (and points), their defense has been productive in forcing turnovers; the G-Men lead the league with thirteen interceptions. As long as the Pats can limit their turnovers then they should be fine. The Giants have no answer for Rob Gronkowski, and with CB Prince Amukamara out for the fifth straight game with a partially torn pectoral muscle, Jayron Hosley will once again get the start at corner. Opponents have had plenty of success this season against Hosley, so one or all of Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola should be in position for a very big game Sunday.
Prediction: Patriots 27, Giants 20
New York’s defense – as we saw against New Orleans – is nowhere near the same one it was in their Super Bowl years. For the sake of comparison the Giants’ defense is inferior to that of last week’s opponent, Washington; the Pats should win this game. Despite that I just can’t fully back a team – even one as good as the Patriots – when they are on the road, with all their injuries, against a winning team while giving up a full touchdown. If I absolutely had to lay some money down I would use one of those two outlets that has the Pats minus-9 and take the Giants plus the points, thinking that this will be at the most a 7 or 8 point ball game.
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
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