New York Giants (5-2) at New England Patriots (5-2)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET
VENUE: Gillette Stadium
WEATHER: Foxboro, Mass
TV: FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
PREDICTION: Patriots 28-21
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Giants have the active defensive line to flush QB
Tom Brady from the pocket, and their secondary has held up with CB
Corey Webster stepping into a starring role. Webster figures to be
assigned to WR Wes Welker, and the Giants can push S Antrel Rolle over
the slot to counter the Patriots' use of their tight ends as wideouts.
To slow down the Giants' front four, the Patriots can bring in Kevin Faulk or Danny Woodhead in the screen game. Giants QB Eli Manning needs
more of an assist from RBs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, but has
been stellar in averaging 25.8 completions with seven touchdowns the
past four games.
FAST FACTS: Patriots coach Bill Belichick is 2-3 all-time against the
Giants. ... Manning leads the NFL with a 119.3 fourth-quarter passer
INSIDE THE CAMPS
The Giants' passing game has been hitting on all
cylinders this season, as quarterback Eli Manning has completed 64.7
percent of his passes and is averaging 8.83 yards per attempt with 5.4
percent of his passes going for touchdowns.
So this Sunday, when New York heads into New
England to face the Patriots, a key to a Giants' win will be to find a
way to exploit a Patriots defense that has given up an average of 324.7
passing yards per game.
"They're going through a phase right now where
they're having some trouble defending the pass," said receiver Victor Cruz, who is second on the team with 28 receptions for 497 yards, but
who leads the team in average yards per catch (17.8) as well as yards
after the catch (220).
"Looking at film, we saw some opportunities that
we think we can take advantage of and we're definitely excited to go
out there and play."
What's been the problem with the Patriot pass
"It's tough to say," said Manning. "Obviously,
it's not a team we play very often, we have to see what their
tendencies are, what they did early on in the season, what they did the
last few weeks."
One thing that Manning is certain of is that the
Patriots' pass rush is as stout as ever, a concern for a Giants
offensive line that will probably be without starting center David Baas
(knee) this weekend.
"I think their front seven is very strong and
they're big and they do a good job of not letting teams run a whole lot
against them, so teams don't always get good down distance on third
down," Manning said.
But for what the Patriots do well as far as their
pass rush is concerned, Manning said it sometimes comes with a price.
"One thing they do a good job of is not letting
tight ends get off and get good releases, they hit down, and they hit
the fullbacks getting out. They slow down the timing of the pass plays,
but when you do that, you don't always get as good a pass rush from
The bottom line for the Giants offense, which must
find a way to sustain their drives so as to keep Patriots quarterback
Tom Brady and his offense on the sidelines, is to somehow find a
balance, something Manning is confident they will be able to do.
"We have a good plan and just go out there and it
will come down to execution and I'm sure they'll have a few new things
for us and we'll have to just see what their tendencies are and have a
good game plan," Manning said.
The majority of the criticism levied toward the
Patriots has gone in the direction of the pass defense, which ranks
dead last in the NFL entering Sunday.
While the secondary has taken most of the blame,
nose tackle Vince Wilfork says it's a team effort that leads to great
defense, not just one or two units.
"We all take part in that. We're not going to say,
'(Opponents) are catching the ball because (our secondary) isn't
covering.' It's part of us up front, too, not being able to get to the
quarterback quick enough," Wilfork said. "It works hand in hand."
Wilfork's comments make sense. In fact, this
week's opponent, the New York Giants, works in similar fashion. Without
a strong push from the front seven, the Giants' secondary is
susceptible to big plays.
"It's not track, where you can go out and throw a
shot-put or run a 100-yard dash and win a medal by yourself. You win
together," Wilfork said. "I think we understand that. I don't want our
DBs to think it's their fault that we're not getting off the field on
third down or they caught an in-cut 20 yards down the field.
"You know, 20 yards downfield gives us up front a
lot of time to work to get to a quarterback. We have to take some of
the blame, too, and we are."
Cornerback Kyle Arrington echoed a similar
sentiment, noting that a team effort is what will get it done Sunday
against New York.
"That's what it takes -- trusting that everybody's
going to do their job on the field," Arrington said. "We trust they're
going to do their job just like they trust we'll do ours. It's
definitely a complementary game out there. It means a lot."
--RB Ahmad Bradshaw, who has had a history of foot
problems since entering the league, suffered a cracked bone in his foot
during last week's game against Miami. While the running back's status
is unknown, head coach Tom Coughlin pointed out that Bradshaw has
played through a similar injury before and that he didn't rule Bradshaw
out for Sunday's game against New England. However, a source with
knowledge of Bradshaw's condition said the expectation is that the
running back will not play this week against New England, but that
Bradshaw does not need surgery at this point.
--WR Ramses Barden, who took his first snaps this
week with the starters, said he's continuing to prepare himself as
though he's going to be activated Sunday. "I'd like to think that it
does," he said when asked if there was any significance to him taking
snaps with the first team. "You know my thought process; I prepare
myself to be the man every week because you never know what's going to
happen." Barden said he wasn't concerned about having any rust despite
the fact that he's been unable to play the game for a year. "I'm not
thinking of anything that I might have - that's not how a competitor
thinks. You work on those things during the week and hopefully by the
time Sunday comes, they're all be ironed out and taken care of. I plan
on taking every snap with the opportunity to take advantage of the
defense and look for holes and opportunities to exploit their
--CB Prince Amukamara, who could make his 2011 NFL
debut this Sunday, said that when he does eventually get onto the
field, his first snaps will be outside rather than in the slot. "Yes,
most likely because I haven't had a lot of reps in the slot," he said
when asked where he was most comfortable at this point. Amukamara was
limited in Thursday's practice.
--WR Hakeem Nicks (hamstring), and offensive
linemen Stacy Andrews (back) and David Baas (knee) all missed their
second straight day of practice. All three are unlikely to play on
Sunday. Nicks, who had a goal of playing in his first 16-game season
this year, said, "I'm not even thinking about that now. I just have to
be smart about this decision." [Update: Nicks and Baas did not make the
trip, Andrews was ruled out.]
--WR Mario Manningham (illness) and DE Justin Tuck
(groin) participated fully in Thursday's practice. Tuck, by the way,
had his neck injury removed from the injury report as it apparently is
no longer an issue.
--FB Henry Hynoski (neck) and DE Osi Umenyiora
(knee) were limited in Thursday's practice.
--TE/FB Bear Pascoe (finger) and DE Jason Pierre-Paul (neck) were added to the injury report on Thursday, both
listed as limited. Pierre-Paul suffered his injury in practice when he
collided with a teammate and was undergoing evaluation on Thursday
afternoon as a precaution.
--WR Domenik Hixon, who is currently on injured
reserve after having knee surgery a month ago, said he is making rapid
progress in his rehab, and has been able to discard his cane just four
weeks after having reconstructive surgery. Hixon said it will still be
a few more weeks before he's cleared to begin running, but added that
he's well ahead of schedule in his recovery to repair a torn ACL.
--S Ross Ventrone was released again on Thursday,
his ninth transaction of the season. He will likely wind up on the
practice squad at some point.
--LB Dane Fletcher did not practice Thursday due
to a thumb injury. There's no timetable on his return, though he should
be available for Sunday's game.
--DT Albert Haynesworth was back on the "limited
participation" list for Thursday's practice, indicating a setback of
some sorts with his injured back. He'll likely be a game-time decision
--RB Kevin Faulk is still limited in practice as
he recovers from offseason knee surgery, but he should be ready to play
for the second consecutive week Sunday.
--WR Wes Welker participated in Thursday's
practice, albeit in a limited capacity, which is good news for his
injured neck. All signs point to Welker being available Sunday.
Giants Have New Looks
Past Is In The Past
Defender Proving Doubters Wrong
downgraded For Giants Game
WR Barden Activated By Giants
Need More Pressure On QBs
- Giants: Game Plans & Matchups
Bradshaw, Bass Out Against Pats
Problems On Defense
Not Dwelling In The Past
Not Afraid Of Patriots
VIDEO: Patriots - Giants Preview
VIDEO: Sandler talks Rex Ryan, Tom Brady and The
- Patriots Game Thread
Defense? Blame Belichick
POLL: How will
Patriots Do In Novermber?
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