Giants - Patriots: What They Have To Do

What the New England Patriots and the New York Giants have to do to win the game on Saturday night. New York hopes to derail the Patirots' perfect season, but they won't do it unless they follow this advice.

New York Giants - New England Patriots: Keys to the game
updated 7:50pm 12/29/2007

An abbreviated keys piece tonight as time runs short.

Patriots:

Protect Brady - with two new starters on the right side of the offensive line, the Giants have a huge advantage if they want to pressure the Patriots into mistakes. Ryan O'Callaghan will get the start for offensive tackle Nick Kaczur, while guard Russ Hochstein gets the nod for Stephen Neal who continues to recover from a shoulder injury.

Don't Worry About Records - Part of the Patriots' offensive woes have led to what many believe to be their biggest issue - forcing the ball into coverage. If Tom Brady uses his check downs against the Giants, then there should be plenty of opportunities against a Giants unit that has been susceptible against the pass. Brady's woeful performance against the Jets two weeks ago, and his struggles to try to get the ball to Moss last week only exacerbated the issue. With Stallworth and Welker wide-open underneath, Brady has to play smart.

Stop the Run - New York put a whooping on the Buffalo Bills last week and most of the damage came on the ground courtesy 260-plus pound Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs seems to be healing rapidly this week and should get the call often.

Giants:

Stop The Big Play - It's possible the Giants can take advantage of the protection up front to pressure Brady via the blitz, but if they don't get to Brady, they have to protect against the big play. New England thrived on the deep ball early in the season. When teams blitz, there is no better passer in the NFL than Brady. New York could seal their fate if they gamble on the blitz and don't' get to Brady.

Abuse The Newcomers - Michael Strahan against Ryan O'Callaghan? This shouldn't even be a contest. It's time for the Giants to show why they paid Strahan and Osi Umenyiora all that money.

When To Pull The Starters - The Giants have an option… try like heck to beat the Patriots and derail the undefeated season, or pull the starters and save them for the playoffs. It's critical for New York to build momentum and try to get ready for the playoffs, but there's nothing else they'd like more than to upset the Patriots. If Coughlin plays the starters most of the game, or God Forbid, someone gets hurt and the Giants limp into the postseason, it could signal the end of the Coughlin era in New York. Winning is important but not at the expense of jeopardizing New York's postseason chances.

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