2007. 2011. Eli Manning. Tom Coughlin. “The Catch”. 18-1. Just typing these fragments make me cringe. The New York Football Giants have effectively been Superman’s kryptonite during the Belichick/Brady era. While most things have changed, some of the big names remain the same, including the head coaches and quarterbacks. Unfortunately for the Giants, their defense does not resemble those of years past that gave TB12 and company all sorts of issues. To quote Brady himself, “I don’t care about three years ago. I don’t care about two years ago. I don’t care about last year. The only thing I care about is this week.” Let’s rid the demons and keep this train rolling, baby…
Should be a good one on Sunday, let’s see what the BBS Staff thinks…
Tom Brady: over/under 300 yards passing?
Niko: To put it kindly, the Giants safeties are TERRIBLE in coverage. Remember Brandon Meriweather? The former Patriot hard-hitter starts for NY now, and the knock on him remains the same. Bites on fakes, lapses in assignments. Play action should open up the field. OVER.
Pete: The Giants have probably the worst secondary/pass rushing combo in the entire NFL. To put it in perspective, their best pass rusher plays with a friggen' SKI GLOVE. If they gave up 52 points to a fading Drew Brees, imagine what Touchdown Tommy will do...OVER.
Matt: Way over, the Giants defense is not very good. Even with the addition of JPP and his 1.5 hands, Tom Brady should have ample time to deliver the football against a mediocre Giants secondary.
LeGarrette Blount: over/under 72 yards rushing?
Niko: With the unknown state of the offensive line (easier to run block than pass protect), and the weather turning, it seems like it’s officially Blount time. Coming off a 29 rush, 129-yard performance last week I expect Blount to be involved early and often to keep the Giants defense on their toes, opening up the aforementioned play-action. Also, Giants best D-lineman Johnathan Hankins is out for the season after an injury last weekend, leaving a gaping whole in the middle of the D. OVER.
Pete: Many people have said that Blount is a good "clean-up back." Meaning, when the Pats are up 20 in the second half, just feed Blount the ball because no one wants to talk a 250 pound back in December. However, last week he ran throughout the game, having a career-high 29 rushes. It may take a little while for him to get going, but when he does, watch out. Its going to be an offensive explosion come Sunday. Blount will be a part of that. OVER.
Matt: Under, the Patriots will keep their passing attack in mind. They will want james White to get some reps as the featured third down / passing back. I believe Blount will get some touches for good gains, but he will not totally be the featured back. Also, Shane Vereen is on the Giants and Bill Belichick might want to show that he made the right decision by letting Vereen walk in free agency.Look for White to get a lot of oppertunities.
James White OR Brandon Bolden: over/under 55 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: White is going to get the first crack at Dion’s role. He looked very promising in the preseason, but didn’t do all that much against the Jets earlier this year when Lewis was out. Practice time with the first unit and mindset will make the difference for James this time around. I’m going to go OVER. I’m excited to see what he can do.
Pete: Like Niko said, White is going to get the first crack with Tom Brady and company. He has looked decent at times, but White didn't do much against the Jets and his confidence has to be at an all-time low. Nevertheless, I don't think that the Pats are going to shy away from these guys. They aren't going to change their entire offensive scheme just because a guy went down. Next man up. OVER.
Matt: Similar to what I said above, I think James White will have a big game because the team will be trying to get him acclimated to the new role.
Rob Gronkowski: over/under 5.5 catches, 85 receiving yards?
Niko: Just UNDER on catches, OVER on yards. Gronk will break one and find the end zone Sunday. The Giants just don’t have an answer in coverage.
Pete: Like most teams, the Giants don't have an answer for Gronk. Unfortunately, after Nate Solder went down for the year, Gronk's numbers have gone down as he has spent more time pass blocking on that left side. Nevertheless, he's Gronk. He's the best tight end in the league. OVER on both.
Matt: Gronk is the most underrated blocker on the team so he might be game planned to help with pass protection on the offensive line. I still think he will catch a touchdown pass and shred the Giants defensive backs and linebackers, over on both.
Julian Edelman: over/under 6.5 catches, 75 receiving yards?
Niko: OVER on catches, just UNDER on yards. Edelman will move the chains as usual, but I expect Brady to spread the ball around and get a few others (Amendola, Chandler, White…) involved to expose New York’s lack of depth at linebacker/in the secondary.
Pete: Edelman has had a hell of a year, as always. He will be OVER on catches, as he is Brady's top target, but probably UNDER on receiving yards. The Giants have to focus in on one guy to try to contain, and my guess is it will be Edelman. Fortunately, that should open up the rest of the field for other guys.
Matt: Tom Brady's most trusted target, Julian Edelman always gets a look from Tom Brady on third down to keep the chains moving. With so many option on offense, Edelman does not really need to carry the offense. Under on both.
Brandon Lafell: over/under 4.5 catches, 62 receiving yards?
Niko: I’m going to go UNDER here on both for Lafell. He’ll be in the neighborhood, but I’m going to say the bulk of the yards go elsewhere.
Pete: After having a tough couple of games, LaFell exploded last week for his first 100+ yard game of the season. Expect a lot more of that from him, as he seems to be one of Brady's favorite targets and the missing piece to this explosive offense.
Matt: Over on both, LaFell has returned from injury and is finally finding his groove. Expect him to build on his monster week against the Redskins. Ill say 6 catches for 75 yards.
Eli Manning: over/under 265 yards passing?
Niko: I’d go as far to say that offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has saved Eli Manning’s career (Odell Beckham doesn’t hurt either). After 27(!!!) interceptions in 2013 for Eli, he has been far better since McAdoo was hired the following year. With 4410 yards, 30 touchdowns, 14 picks last season, and a hot start this season (2,239 19 and 6 respectively) Eli is back to being an elite passer. I’ll go OVER.
Pete: I refuse to ever call Eli Manning elite. That being said, he should be able to have his way with this weak patriots secondary. If the Front 7 can do what they've been doing as of late, however, they may be able to pressure Eli enough to make some crucial mistakes. OVER.
Matt: Over, Manning always steps up in big games and this might be the biggest game for the Giants this season, not including divisions games. Manning, unlike his brother, always shred the Patriots defense. I think this game will be close for a while thanks to Manning's arm. He is also 3-1 against the Patriots since 2007.
Rashad Jennings: over/under 50 yards rushing?
Niko: Between the backfield by committee (Jennings, Williams, Darkwa, Vereen) and the stout Pats run D, I don’t see 50 for Jennings. UNDER.
Pete: The Patriots have one of the better run defenses in the NFL right now. If team's have learned anything from the Patriots this season, it is that you can't run the rock to win against them. Tom Coughlin is a smart dude, I'll say UNDER.
Matt: The Patriots run defense continues to play good football. Like I said last week, I am a big fan of this defensive front and I expect them to shut down the Giants running attack.
Shane Vereen: over/under 55 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: One of our undisputed Super Bowl heroes (11 catches, 64 yards), Vereen has been a bit inconsistent in his new home this year. I think he’s kept at bay Sunday. UNDER, but close.
Pete: I was a big Shane Vereen guy when he was here, and, looking at the state of our running back department, we could use him now. However, the Pats have been great at eliminating running backs catching the ball out of the backfield on screens, wheel routes, etc. Vereen will be UNDER.
Matt: Under, Shane Vereen was very good with the Patriots because Tom Brady was throwing him the ball. Although Eli Manning has had good success against the Pats, he is not and will never be Tom Brady. I will say 2 catches for 15 yards and 25 yards rushing
Odell Beckham Jr: over/under 6.5 catches, 99 receiving yards?
Niko: I think Beckham gets forced fed on Sunday. McCourty/Harmon will almost definitely be helping over the top on every play, but OBJ should still get his. I’ll go OVER on both, and over on whatever the line of targets is.
Pete: Like Niko said, I think there is a good chance that Eli forces the ball to Beckham a little bit, as the Giants offensive line is horrendous and the Patriots should be able to provide a decent amount of pressure. OBJ will get his, but not enough to singlehandedly win the game. I will go OVER on catches, but UNDER on yards.
Matt: OBJ is overrated.
Ruben Randle: over/under 4.5 catches, 49 receiving yards?
Niko: After somewhat of a breakthrough last season (71 catches, 938 yards), Randle has been pretty inconsistent through 9 games this year, with only one game over 68 yards (week 3 vs. Washington, 116). I don’t think Randle will kill us, but in a pass first attack, he’ll hit on these lines. OVER on both.
Pete: I think that the Pats will make it a point to try and eliminate OBJ from this game. That being said, someone else will have to step up if they want to even contest in this game. I could see Randle going off, but it is going to be hard because of how well Logan Ryan has been playing, if thats the guy that covers him. I will go UNDER on catches, but OVER on yards.
Matt: Randle and OBJ will test this somewhat weak defensive backfield. I look for Randle to have a big game against most likely Logan Ryan, our number 2 back. Most teams this season have gone after Logan Ryan rather than Malcolm Butler. I expect this trend to continue this week with Ryan getting burned on several occasions.
Niko: Pats’ patchwork O-line vs. Giants D-line. Both units are banged up. Keep Brady upright, the ballgame is won. That simple.
Pete: I am going to be closely watching the secondary against Eli Manning's passing attack. The Giants offense can score, but the Patriots are a Top 10 defense right now. Will they be able to slow them down with their tenacious rushing attack? I think so...
Matt: Pat's defensive front vs. the Giants O-Line. Will Chandler Jones add to his league lead in sacks?
Niko: In his first game action as the starter moving forward, I have James White outgaining (all-purpose yards) old friend Shane Vereen. Also, look out for Danny Amendola to have a good game. I’ll go 5 catches, 55 yards and a touchdown.
Pete: This really isn't that bold, but I think that Brady is going to go absolutely off on this weak Giants defense. I am not sure that the Giants have one playmaker on the defensive side of the football. Make no mistake, this isn't the Giants of 2007 or 2011.
Matt: I agree with Niko, White will have a big impact on the Patriots offense.
Game Total/Final Score: over/under 54.5?
Niko: I’m going to go just UNDER here. I think the Pats D has been underrated all season. Never mind “bend, but don’t break”, they’ve barely been bending. They will definitely be tested Sunday (especially in the secondary) but they’ll hold strong. I’m going to go Pats 34, Giants 20 in a good one
Pete: I think this is going to be a high scoring game, but in the end, the Pats are simply the better team. 38-23 in favor of America's New Team.
Matt: Final score: 34-24, Over. The patriots defense should have another good game. I also expect that the offense can rebound from a rather weak outing last week. I hope the coaching staff is stressing that the Giants should not be taken lightly.