As if it wasn’t exciting enough that the 5-4 New York Giants have a chance to knock the New England Patriots off of their undefeated perch this Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the game is getting even more media coverage than it normally would due to the classic bouts the two teams have had in the past.
New York hasn’t lost to New England since the regular season finale in 2007. Although that 38-35 Patriots victory completed a 16-0 run for Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and company, the Giants struck back with a 17-14 upset win in Super Bowl XLII that spoiled what would have been a historic campaign for the Pats.
Four years later, Big Blue did even better by defeating New England in both the regular season and again in Super Bowl XLVI. The Patriots have since been crowned champions of the NFL with their victory over Seattle in last season’s title match, and now it looks as though they have another shot at immortality with an 8-0 record and Super Bowl aspirations.
Can the Giants get in their way once again?
“We know they’re a very good team coming off winning the Super Bowl last year, undefeated this year, playing great football,” said Giants quarterback Eli Manning, “So we know we’ve got to play well. We’ve got to have a great game plan, great week of practice, and go out there and play a good game on Sunday.”
In previous years, the Giants beat the Patriots by putting pressure on Tom Brady with a dominant defensive line featuring such New York legends as Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Jason Pierre-Paul. This year’s team, however, is a decent story. With Pierre-Paul missing all but the most recent game due to a hand injury, the Giants are last in the NFL with just nine sacks in 2015.
To beat New England this time around, it will be important for New York’s offense to hold onto the ball for as long as possible.
“We have to control the ball,” said Manning, “We’ve got to be smart with the ball, we can’t afford turnovers, so we’ve got to be smart and hold on to it, but we have to convert third downs, we have to move the ball, and control the game clock a little bit. Hopefully we can manage that. It’s going to come down to executing well and playing good football.”
It may be Patriots versus Giants again, but that doesn’t give the boys in blue any special advantage. Manning knows his team is going to have to play one of its best games of the season in order to keep New England from extending its winning streak.
“I think it’s different teams from those games and over the past eight years, we’ve played them four times, a lot of new faces on their team and our team. You can look at the way the game was called a little bit or just a theme to what was going on, but not much in X’s and O’s and, hey, it’s a game, we’ve got to go out there and we’ve got to play well.”