Game Preview: Patriots vs NY Giants

Week 9: New York Giants (5-2) vs New England Patriots (5-2). Game scouting look at each team's camps, news, notes and injury updates. plenty of links

New York Giants (5-2) at New England Patriots (5-2)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 11/6/11
VENUE: Gillette Stadium
SURFACE: FieldTurf
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 rating.

INSIDE THE CAMPS

Giants

   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 defense?

   "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 those guys."

   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.

Patriots

   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."

NOTES

Giants

   --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 weaknesses."

   --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.

Patriots
   --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 Sunday.

   --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.

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VIDEO: Patriots - Giants Preview
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\r\n","mobileBody":" Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET 11/6/11 Gillette Stadium FieldTurf Foxboro, Mass FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver 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 rating.    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 defense?    \"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 those guys.\"    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 weaknesses.\"    --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 Sunday.    --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. VIDEO: Patriots - Giants Preview VIDEO: Sandler talks Rex Ryan, Tom Brady and The movies  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":"2011-11-06T11:02:00","authorOverride":"Site Staff","role":"PatriotsInsider.com /Sports Xchange","isPremium":false,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:967023] ","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:967023]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"176","name":"New England 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