Saturday, November 5, 2011

InReeseWeTrust: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots Week 9 Game Preview

New York Giants (5-2) at New England Patriots (5-2) at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. 4:15 Eastern start
By Ben Kelly - 11/5/11

What happened last week?
New England went on the road to Pittsburgh, losing 25-17 to Pittsburgh’s ball control offense. The Steelers held the ball for nearly 39 minutes through unconventional game planning- Ben Roethlisberger tossed fifty passes, completing thirty-six for 365 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh’s leading rusher Rashard Mendenhall carried only thirteen times for seventy yards. Roethlisberger picked apart the NFL’s worst defense on safe and intermediate routes; his longest pass of the day went for 26 yards and the team converted 10 of 16 third downs. Pittsburgh’s scoring drives all covered ten or more plays, lasting 11, 16, 10, 14 and 11 plays. That pace forced New England to abandon the run, attempting only eleven carries with its running backs. Tom Brady was held to a season low 198 yards through the air on 24 for 35 passing and was sacked three times.

Has the Patriots defense stopped anybody this year?
Well, besides New York state’s fourth best quarterback Mark Sanchez (I’d argue Eli, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib are better), the answer is no. Sanchez is the one exception to New England’s pass defense, being held to 166 yards on the road in Foxboro. Tony Romo threw the next lowest total against New England… at 317 yards. Jason Campbell threw for 344 in Oakland. Chad Henne tossed 416 yards in the season opener for Miami. The NFL’s worst pass defense has hidden the inefficiencies of New England’s run defense, which ranks ninth in yardage but eighteenth in yards per attempt. Only one team has rushed over 100 yards against New England, but only one team beside the New York Jets totaled less than 400 total yards (Dallas with 377).

Back to the injury report
The Giants easily have the best injury report roster in the NFL. Weekly fixtures Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Michael Boley and Mario Manningham are listed as probable. Prince Amukamara’s career debut is still questionable, as are the appearances of Henry Hynoski and Jason Pierre-Paul, Big Blue’s best pass rusher who reportedly suffered a concussion in practice this week. David Baas, Ahmad Bradshaw are both doubtful to play with knee and broken foot injuries. The biggest loss could be Hakeem Nicks, who is doubtful after hurting his hamstring last week against Miami. Not only is Nicks the Giants’ best offensive playmaker, but he opens the field for Victor Cruz and Manningham. If Bradshaw can’t go, Brandon Jacobs will carry the load with DJ Ware working on third downs. Rookie Da’Rel Scott could be the breakout rusher this week as his highest production this season came against New England in the preseason. In that game he carried 12 times for 114 yards for a 9.5-yard average, including a 65-yard touchdown scamper. Scott’s only regular season carry went for four yards against Buffalo.

How the Giants will win
The home-team Patriots are favored by nine in a high stakes game for both teams. New England needs to keep pace with division leading Buffalo, who host the Jets this week, while the Giants face a vicious November: after New England, the Giants fly cross country to 6-1 San Francisco, then host the Eagles and travel to New Orleans, both of which are primetime 8 o’clock matchups. A win against New England would start the month with much needed momentum. The last time the Giants played minus Ahmad Bradshaw was a 26-6 loss to Denver in 2009. New York ran for 57 yards on 16 carries for a 3.6 average. The two lead runners that day? Brandon Jacobs and Danny Ware.

This game is really a matchup between the quarterbacks, Manning and Brady. Both should pass for their standard output- the fourth (Manning) and third (Brady) most highest per game totals in the league. The mismatch between defenses is where the game will be won. New England is 32nd in the NFL in yardage and 22nd in sacks. Tom Brady can offset the league’s worst defense with his shoulder and a stable of running backs, but the Giants have the defensive firepower to rush Brady out of his rhythm like the Steelers. The NFL’s best sack-masters blasted the last two quarterbacks faced- Matt Moore and Ryan Fitzpatrick- for eight combined sacks. A disruptive Giants defense will be the difference. Giants win, 31-28.

Jason Pierre-Paul of Giants may have concussion

NEXT BIG ISSUE: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul may have suffered a concussion during practice this week and could miss tomorrow’s game.
NEXT BIG ISSUE: Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul may have suffered a concussion during practice this week and could miss tomorrow’s game.
By Mark Hale - NY Post 11/5/11

Prince Amukamara of Giants uncertain to play Sunday

By Mark Hale & Mark Cannizzaro - NY Post 11/5/11

Ramses Barden expected to make Giant return

By Mark Cannizzaro - NY Post 11/5/11

Coughlin never gets enough credit

Tom Coughlin avoids controversy like the way tax cheats steer clear of the IRS.
Tom Coughlin avoids controversy like the way tax cheats steer clear of the IRS.
By Mark Cannizzaro - NY Post 11/5/11

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