Patriots - Giants: Game Plans & Matchups

News, notes, injury reports, including key matchups, and game plans for both teams.

GIANTS CAMP

   Although seven of the 11 starters on offense have changed since the last time the Giants and Patriots met --- only offensive linemen Kareem McKenzie, David Diehl, and Chris Snee, and quarterback Eli Manning remain -- the biggest difference between the 2007 Giants offense and the 2010 version is the maturation of Manning.

   The Giants offensive captain, who back then was only in his fourth season, has since entered the prime of his career, and has become even better than he was when he snagged the Super Bowl XLII MVP award after completing 19 of 34 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. 

   "I would say he is controlled," said head coach Tom Coughlin about Manning's play. "He is obviously very aware of situations and circumstances. The poise and confidence, the accuracy and the knowledge with all the studying that he does, the way that he performs is by knowing the opponent. He has a lot of responsibility and he does a very good job with that."

  On Sunday, Manning, who has improved in nearly every statistical category since the 2007 season, will face a Patriots defense that statistically appears to play to the strengths of the Giants offense, which is the passing game. New England's defense is uncharacteristically ranked dead last in the NFL in total yards surrendered (424.1 per game) and total passing yards allowed (323.1 per game). Meanwhile the Giants' offense is averaging 373.1 yards per game (11th in the league) and 287.6 passing yards per game (6th league-wide).

   Meanwhile on defense, New York is sporting a revamped unit -- only defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, and cornerbacks Corey Webster and Aaron Ross remain from the Super Bowl game. They're also under the direction of a new defensive coordinator in Perry Fewell.

   However, New York's defensive philosophy today is still very similar to what the Giants ran in 2007, and that is to pressure the quarterback with as few people as possible.

  So far the strategy has worked. The Giants have a NFL-best 26 sacks, a figure that puts them on a pace for 60 sacks, which would top the 53 they recorded in 2007.

   New York also has eight interceptions, seven shy of the 15 they had in 2007, and are plus-five in the takeaway/giveaway department, which puts them sixth in the NFL.

  While the Giants run defense has struggled -- they have allowed on average 130.1 yards per game, which puts them 28th in the NFL -- most of the yardage seems to have come on one or two big plays per game. 


INJURY IMPACT:

   --CB Prince Amukamara (foot) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Amukamara, who has seen his workload increase, could make his 2011 NFL debut this week what with the Giants down a cornerback due to the season-ending injury sustained by DB Justin Tryon.
   --OL Stacy Andrews (back) was not at Wednesday's practice. Andrews, who missed last week's game against Miami, is a question mark for Sunday's game against the Patriots. 
   --DE Justin Tuck (neck/groin) was limited in Wednesday's practice, but is expected to play Sunday.
   --DE Osi Umenyiora (knee/shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday. Umenyiora hurt his shoulder in last week's game against the Dolphins, but X-rays were negative and he is expected to play Sunday.
   --LB Michael Boley (knee) took his full amount of reps in Wednesday's practice and is expected to play on Sunday.
   --C David Baas (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. Baas, who said he feels better, is not likely to play on Sunday. 
   --RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) did not practice Wednesday. Head coach Tom Coughlin said Bradshaw's foot was "swollen and sore." Bradshaw, however, has shown he has a high pain threshold and will probably play if he can get in some practice snaps this week.
   --FB Henry Hynoski (neck) was limited in Wednesday's practice. The rookie would appear to be a long shot to play on Sunday. If he can't go, TE/FB Bear Pascoe is expected to get the nod again.
   --WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) was not at Wednesday's practice. Although he's listed as "day-to-day" according to head coach Tom Coughlin, Nicks, whose MRI results reportedly didn't reveal anything serious, appears to be a long shot to play on Sunday.
   --WR Mario Manningham (illness) did not practice on Wednesday, but is expected to be ready for Sunday.

GAME PLAN:

    If the Giants are hoping to get their running game going this week, it's not going to be easy. Not only is their top RB, Ahmad Bradshaw, nursing a sore foot (he's expected to play Sunday), their offensive line, which has had its problems run blocking, could be without starting C David Baas (knee). That's not good news when facing a Patriots run defense that has allowed allowing opponents just 101.0 yards per game.

   If the run game sputters, the Giants will have to do what they have done so well this season -- pass the ball. However, New England could switch from the zone coverage they deployed last week to the more physical man-to-man coverage that typically gives the Giants receivers fits.   

   On defense, the Giants have probably played more zone coverage than they'd like this year, this likely due to the injuries that have seemingly claimed one cornerback after another (the latest one being Justin Tryon, who was lost this week due to a broken arm).

   The problem with zone coverage is that Patriots QB Tom Brady is a master at finding the soft spots, as is WR Wes Welker, the Patriots' leading receiver. Thus, a key for the Giants could be the return of first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara, who, if he's ready to get back to action, could give the Giants an extra physical cornerback that will allow defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to deploy more man-to-man coverage against the Patriots' receivers.

   This would in turn likely allow the Giants' pass rush to have a better chance at getting home against Brady because by bumping the receivers at the line of scrimmage, it will upset the timing between the quarterback and receivers. 

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

     Giants pass defense vs. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- Defenses don't shut down Brady; they can only try to limit the damage he can inflict on an opponent. Don't be surprised, then, if the Giants borrow a page out of their game plan from Super Bowl XLII, when they constantly had a four-man rush go after Brady, with the occasional linebacker or cornerback coming in just to mix things up a bit. The key for the Giants will be how well they are able to disguise their pass rushes; meanwhile it will be imperative for the back end of the defense to make sure to play the receivers tightly and to take away the soft spots. Brady, by the way, has thrown at least one touchdown pass in his last 23 straight games, a Patriots franchise record.
   Giants offensive line vs. Patriots defensive front -- The Patriots pack a lot of beef up front with the 6-2, 325-lb. Vince Wilfork, who is extremely athletic; and the 6-6, 350-lb. DT Albert Haynesworth when they mix in their 4-3 defensive front. The Giants offensive interior linemen -- Gs David Diehl and Chris Snee -- are going to have their hands full. At center, New York could be without starter David Baas, who is trying to overcome a knee injury sustained last week. If Baas can't go, Kevin Boothe will get the call, and will probably require some help blocking against the Patriots' huge defensive front.


PATRIOTS CAMP

   The Patriots haven't made any roster moves yet, but something could be in the works depending on what happens with Julian Edelman's sexual assault case.

   At the very least, a suspension could be in order, which would free up a roster spot for either a street free agent or an internal promotion from the practice squad.

   The one position to keep an eye on is the wide receiver spot. The Patriots want to get Taylor Price more involved with the offense, and that could come at Chad Ochocinco's expense. Ochocinco has not developed any rhythm with Tom Brady and it remains to be seen how much more time they'll give him to figure it out.

PLAYER NOTES

   --WR Taylor Price should become the target of more looks from Tom Brady considering offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien wants to get him more involved in the offense.

   --RB Danny Woodhead appears to be a pretty solid bet to return kickoffs again this week. Woodhead has been given that role on special teams while his role in the running game has diminished.

   --RB Stevan Ridley has disappeared from the running game after a strong start. Part of last week's lack of protection had to do with the score, but it's worth nothing Ridley had zero carries and wasn't targeted once in the passing game.

   --QB Tom Brady currently has an NFL record of 31 consecutive wins as a starter in the regular season at home. The last time the Patriots lost a regular-season home game in which Brady started was on Nov. 12, 2006 against the New York Jets.

   --S James Ihedigbo started last week alongside Patrick Chung, but the Patriots still couldn't slow down TE Heath Miller over the middle or make any impact defensively. Ihedigbo's playing time might soon be limited.

INJURY IMPACT:

   --WR Wes Welker did not practice Wednesday due to a neck injury. No word yet on Welker's status moving forward, but this will be worth monitoring.
   --OL Sebastian Vollmer returned to the lineup last week, but was limited in practice Wednesday due to his back injury. This is more than likely precautionary.
   --RB Kevin Faulk was limited in practice Wednesday after playing his first game of the season Sunday. Like Vollmer, the Patriots are likely taking it slow with Faulk to avoid a relapse with his knee.
   --DL Shaun Ellis was limited in Wednesday's practice with a rib injury. He'll be a game-time decision Sunday.
   --RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been limited due to a toe injury, but should be available for Sunday's game.

GAME PLAN:

   This week won't be any easy one for the Patriots' secondary. Giants QB Eli Manning is having a big year in large part because he's cut down on the mistakes and costly interceptions.

   Manning was at his best against Philadelphia, but looked equally sharp Sunday in a comeback win over the winless Dolphins. With Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw possibly limited due to injuries, Manning might not have as many weapons to work with.

   However, given Heath Miller's success last week against the Patriots' secondary, expect Manning to look to his own tight end, Jake Ballard, who, despite occasional problems with dropping the ball, has become a fairly reliable target.

   This will be a big test for the secondary and a big test for Brady, too, who will have to deal with emerging CB Corey Webster. The offensive line needs to contain this Giants' pass rush; if they're successful, the secondary will be susceptible to big plays.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

   Patriots S Patrick Chung vs. Giants TE Jake Ballard. Chung seems to be the focus each week, but after the Patriots failed to slow down Heath Miller this past Sunday, the Giants would be foolish to not let Ballard loose over the middle. Until someone on this defense slows down an opposing tight end, this will be a matchup begging to be exploited.

   Giants C Kevin Boothe  vs. Patriots NT Vince Wilfork. New York's starting center David Baas been ruled out for Sunday. Baas has had a solid year in his first season with the Giants and Boothe has filled in for him earlier this season (vs Seahawks Oct. 9).  Wilfork has been equally stout up front. The Patriots, however, have been getting torched up the middle by opposing running backs. The Giants will try to exploit this, but it depends on who wins the battle at the line of scrimmage.


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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"    Although seven of the 11 starters on offense have changed since the last time the Giants and Patriots met --- only offensive linemen Kareem McKenzie, David Diehl, and Chris Snee, and quarterback Eli Manning remain -- the biggest difference between the 2007 Giants offense and the 2010 version is the maturation of Manning.    The Giants offensive captain, who back then was only in his fourth season, has since entered the prime of his career, and has become even better than he was when he snagged the Super Bowl XLII MVP award after completing 19 of 34 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns.     \"I would say he is controlled,\" said head coach Tom Coughlin about Manning's play. \"He is obviously very aware of situations and circumstances. The poise and confidence, the accuracy and the knowledge with all the studying that he does, the way that he performs is by knowing the opponent. He has a lot of responsibility and he does a very good job with that.\"   On Sunday, Manning, who has improved in nearly every statistical category since the 2007 season, will face a Patriots defense that statistically appears to play to the strengths of the Giants offense, which is the passing game. New England's defense is uncharacteristically ranked dead last in the NFL in total yards surrendered (424.1 per game) and total passing yards allowed (323.1 per game). Meanwhile the Giants' offense is averaging 373.1 yards per game (11th in the league) and 287.6 passing yards per game (6th league-wide).    Meanwhile on defense, New York is sporting a revamped unit -- only defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, and cornerbacks Corey Webster and Aaron Ross remain from the Super Bowl game. They're also under the direction of a new defensive coordinator in Perry Fewell.    However, New York's defensive philosophy today is still very similar to what the Giants ran in 2007, and that is to pressure the quarterback with as few people as possible.   So far the strategy has worked. The Giants have a NFL-best 26 sacks, a figure that puts them on a pace for 60 sacks, which would top the 53 they recorded in 2007.    New York also has eight interceptions, seven shy of the 15 they had in 2007, and are plus-five in the takeaway/giveaway department, which puts them sixth in the NFL.   While the Giants run defense has struggled -- they have allowed on average 130.1 yards per game, which puts them 28th in the NFL -- most of the yardage seems to have come on one or two big plays per game.     --CB Prince Amukamara (foot) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Amukamara, who has seen his workload increase, could make his 2011 NFL debut this week what with the Giants down a cornerback due to the season-ending injury sustained by DB Justin Tryon.    --OL Stacy Andrews (back) was not at Wednesday's practice. Andrews, who missed last week's game against Miami, is a question mark for Sunday's game against the Patriots.     --DE Justin Tuck (neck/groin) was limited in Wednesday's practice, but is expected to play Sunday.    --DE Osi Umenyiora (knee/shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday. Umenyiora hurt his shoulder in last week's game against the Dolphins, but X-rays were negative and he is expected to play Sunday.    --LB Michael Boley (knee) took his full amount of reps in Wednesday's practice and is expected to play on Sunday.    --C David Baas (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. Baas, who said he feels better, is not likely to play on Sunday.     --RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) did not practice Wednesday. Head coach Tom Coughlin said Bradshaw's foot was \"swollen and sore.\" Bradshaw, however, has shown he has a high pain threshold and will probably play if he can get in some practice snaps this week.    --FB Henry Hynoski (neck) was limited in Wednesday's practice. The rookie would appear to be a long shot to play on Sunday. If he can't go, TE/FB Bear Pascoe is expected to get the nod again.    --WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring) was not at Wednesday's practice. Although he's listed as \"day-to-day\" according to head coach Tom Coughlin, Nicks, whose MRI results reportedly didn't reveal anything serious, appears to be a long shot to play on Sunday.    --WR Mario Manningham (illness) did not practice on Wednesday, but is expected to be ready for Sunday.     If the Giants are hoping to get their running game going this week, it's not going to be easy. Not only is their top RB, Ahmad Bradshaw, nursing a sore foot (he's expected to play Sunday), their offensive line, which has had its problems run blocking, could be without starting C David Baas (knee). That's not good news when facing a Patriots run defense that has allowed allowing opponents just 101.0 yards per game.    If the run game sputters, the Giants will have to do what they have done so well this season -- pass the ball. However, New England could switch from the zone coverage they deployed last week to the more physical man-to-man coverage that typically gives the Giants receivers fits.       On defense, the Giants have probably played more zone coverage than they'd like this year, this likely due to the injuries that have seemingly claimed one cornerback after another (the latest one being Justin Tryon, who was lost this week due to a broken arm).    The problem with zone coverage is that Patriots QB Tom Brady is a master at finding the soft spots, as is WR Wes Welker, the Patriots' leading receiver. Thus, a key for the Giants could be the return of first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara, who, if he's ready to get back to action, could give the Giants an extra physical cornerback that will allow defensive coordinator Perry Fewell to deploy more man-to-man coverage against the Patriots' receivers.    This would in turn likely allow the Giants' pass rush to have a better chance at getting home against Brady because by bumping the receivers at the line of scrimmage, it will upset the timing between the quarterback and receivers.       Giants pass defense vs. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- Defenses don't shut down Brady; they can only try to limit the damage he can inflict on an opponent. Don't be surprised, then, if the Giants borrow a page out of their game plan from Super Bowl XLII, when they constantly had a four-man rush go after Brady, with the occasional linebacker or cornerback coming in just to mix things up a bit. The key for the Giants will be how well they are able to disguise their pass rushes; meanwhile it will be imperative for the back end of the defense to make sure to play the receivers tightly and to take away the soft spots. Brady, by the way, has thrown at least one touchdown pass in his last 23 straight games, a Patriots franchise record.    Giants offensive line vs. Patriots defensive front -- The Patriots pack a lot of beef up front with the 6-2, 325-lb. Vince Wilfork, who is extremely athletic; and the 6-6, 350-lb. DT Albert Haynesworth when they mix in their 4-3 defensive front. The Giants offensive interior linemen -- Gs David Diehl and Chris Snee -- are going to have their hands full. At center, New York could be without starter David Baas, who is trying to overcome a knee injury sustained last week. If Baas can't go, Kevin Boothe will get the call, and will probably require some help blocking against the Patriots' huge defensive front.    The Patriots haven't made any roster moves yet, but something could be in the works depending on what happens with Julian Edelman's sexual assault case.    At the very least, a suspension could be in order, which would free up a roster spot for either a street free agent or an internal promotion from the practice squad.    The one position to keep an eye on is the wide receiver spot. The Patriots want to get Taylor Price more involved with the offense, and that could come at Chad Ochocinco's expense. Ochocinco has not developed any rhythm with Tom Brady and it remains to be seen how much more time they'll give him to figure it out. PLAYER NOTES    --WR Taylor Price should become the target of more looks from Tom Brady considering offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien wants to get him more involved in the offense.    --RB Danny Woodhead appears to be a pretty solid bet to return kickoffs again this week. Woodhead has been given that role on special teams while his role in the running game has diminished.    --RB Stevan Ridley has disappeared from the running game after a strong start. Part of last week's lack of protection had to do with the score, but it's worth nothing Ridley had zero carries and wasn't targeted once in the passing game.    --QB Tom Brady currently has an NFL record of 31 consecutive wins as a starter in the regular season at home. The last time the Patriots lost a regular-season home game in which Brady started was on Nov. 12, 2006 against the New York Jets.    --S James Ihedigbo started last week alongside Patrick Chung, but the Patriots still couldn't slow down TE Heath Miller over the middle or make any impact defensively. Ihedigbo's playing time might soon be limited.    --WR Wes Welker did not practice Wednesday due to a neck injury. No word yet on Welker's status moving forward, but this will be worth monitoring.    --OL Sebastian Vollmer returned to the lineup last week, but was limited in practice Wednesday due to his back injury. This is more than likely precautionary.    --RB Kevin Faulk was limited in practice Wednesday after playing his first game of the season Sunday. Like Vollmer, the Patriots are likely taking it slow with Faulk to avoid a relapse with his knee.    --DL Shaun Ellis was limited in Wednesday's practice with a rib injury. He'll be a game-time decision Sunday.    --RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been limited due to a toe injury, but should be available for Sunday's game.    This week won't be any easy one for the Patriots' secondary. Giants QB Eli Manning is having a big year in large part because he's cut down on the mistakes and costly interceptions.    Manning was at his best against Philadelphia, but looked equally sharp Sunday in a comeback win over the winless Dolphins. With Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw possibly limited due to injuries, Manning might not have as many weapons to work with.    However, given Heath Miller's success last week against the Patriots' secondary, expect Manning to look to his own tight end, Jake Ballard, who, despite occasional problems with dropping the ball, has become a fairly reliable target.    This will be a big test for the secondary and a big test for Brady, too, who will have to deal with emerging CB Corey Webster. The offensive line needs to contain this Giants' pass rush; if they're successful, the secondary will be susceptible to big plays.    Patriots S Patrick Chung vs. Giants TE Jake Ballard. Chung seems to be the focus each week, but after the Patriots failed to slow down Heath Miller this past Sunday, the Giants would be foolish to not let Ballard loose over the middle. Until someone on this defense slows down an opposing tight end, this will be a matchup begging to be exploited.    Giants C Kevin Boothe  vs. Patriots NT Vince Wilfork. New York's starting center David Baas been ruled out for Sunday. Baas has had a solid year in his first season with the Giants and Boothe has filled in for him earlier this season (vs Seahawks Oct. 9).  Wilfork has been equally stout up front. The Patriots, however, have been getting torched up the middle by opposing running backs. The Giants will try to exploit this, but it depends on who wins the battle at the line of scrimmage.  Giants - Patriots Game Thread Bad Defense? Blame Belichick How will Patriots Do In Novermber? Patriots news from around the web (updated hourly) For more Patriots news follow us via Twitter: Follow @patriotsinsider Or find us on Facebook : Facebook.com/PatriotsInsider ","skipOnMobile":false,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2011-11-05T16:00:00","authorOverride":"Sports Xchange","role":"","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:996680]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:996680]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"176","name":"New England 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