Ahhh, finally. We have a game that could be interesting. Don’t get me wrong, the Patriots are a much better team than the New York Giants; however, the Giants always, at the very least, give the Patriots a tough time.
The Giants are coming off a 32-18 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the game was actually much closer than the final may lead you to believe. The Patriots, on the other hand, are coming off a 27-10 win that was actually not as close as the final score shows. All that being said, a win is a win and both teams won and lead their respective divisions.
Let’s start on the offensive side of the ball for the Giants. They have one true weapon. Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham Jr. is a nightmare to cover. He is fast, physical, and plays much bigger than the 6’0” he is listed at. We could see a few different strategies used to stop Beckham…
Strategy #1: The Antonio Brown Coverage
Malcolm Butler was matched up with Brown in man coverage on opening night. Despite Brown having a very good stat line to finish the game, Butler had pretty good coverage on arguably the best receiver in football. Butler has also improved since week one. He shut down DeSean Jackson on Sunday afternoon. No, Jackson is not the receiver that Brown is, but he is still a skilled receiver who can beat anybody deep.
Strategy #2: The Brandon Marshall Coverage
In the game against the Jets a few weeks ago, we actually saw Butler on number two receiver Eric Decker and Marshall was doubled all game. Butler struggled with Decker, but Marshall was, for the most part, contained.
Strategy #3: Zone Coverage
This is exactly what it sounds like. The Patriots would play zone and no one (or two for that matter) defensive player would be assigned to OBJ.
It is impossible to know which strategy the Patriots would take. Option one is a risky option, but we all know Butler would love the challenge. Option two is the most likely and probably the best option, and the Giants do not really have much at wide receiver after Beckham, so Butler could almost certainly shut down the number two. As for option three, I am just not the biggest fan of zone coverage. I am well aware that it is necessary at times, I just prefer man-to-man.
Well, that basically covers the offensive side of the ball. The Giants do no have anything after Beckham, and obviously Eli Manning. The Patriots defense have played exceptionally well lately and should be able to hold the Giants’ defense in check. They will do everything in their power to not let Beckham beat them and make the Giants beat them another way, which I am not sure can be done.
Now for when the Patriots are on offense…
The Giants have a weak secondary. The Patriots have a great offense. If this game turns into a shootout, meaning the Patriots cannot contain Beckham, then I like the Patriots’ chances in that kind of game. Manning is a turnover waiting to happen and Brady is the complete opposite.
The Giants have allowed the most yards per game, averaging over 422 yards allowed to opposing offenses. They have also allowed the eighth most points in the league. They are 31st in passing yards allowed and 22nd in rushing yards allowed.
The loss of Dion Lewis, though, will surely hurt the Patriots’ offense. He was a dynamic running back who led the league in forced missed tackles. However, I’m sure Belichick will be able to plug James White in there and get decent production. Not Lewis production, but Shane Vereen-esque production.
This is a bit of a mismatch, but the Coughlin and the Giants always play the Patriots tough. The previous times these two teams have met, the defense was not considered very good, yet they got after Brady. This team is not nearly as good in the front seven and is a miserable secondary, so this SHOULD be a Patriots win, but, aside from the Denver game, this is their toughest game they have left.