Patriots vs Giants Game Preview
The best inter-conference rivalry in football sees a new chapter as the New England Patriots rematch the New York Giants. The two last met last preseason, which saw New York prevail 40-38 in a shootout between backup quarterbacks.
Although the starters are not likely to play, this should be another thrilling contest as the two teams usually go down to the wire regardless of where and when they play. And right now, the Giants have the better depth and should win this one.
New England Patriots
Don’t look now, but the Patriots are looking mighty vulnerable. This is said almost every season but the Pats’ defence keeps degrading while the offence is awfully thin even when considering they have the greatest quarterback in football.
New England also lost defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to the Detroit Lions along with a slew of key players like running back Dion Lewis and former Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler at cornerback. If Brady isn’t in MVP form, the Pats are in trouble.
New York Giants
The Giants aren’t looking any better than their two-time Super Bowl adversary. Eli Manning hasn’t looked like a good quarterback for so long and while they are getting offensive reinforcements, there is still the defence.
Once known as one of the league’s best, the Giants’ D is a ghost of what it once was. They were ranked in the bottom-three in 2017 and haven’t added enough pieces to improve significantly. The Giants will be fun to watch but they will still struggle.
It’s the worst-kept secret that the Pats sign off during the preseason. Don’t expect to see the regular Pats starters or even most of their first team although their depth is better than the Giants. Pats roll.
Patriots vs Giants Head-to-Head Records
As far as modern day rivalries go, it’s hard to top the Pats vs Giants. This series began in 1970, which New York won in a shutout: 16-0. This would also be the biggest margin of victory in the series. The average margin of victory from their ensuing games would be 4.27 with six games decided by a field goal or less including two one-point wins.
New York would win three of their four games but New England would rattle off four straight wins from 1996 to 2007. The last one was history as the Pats would clinch the first-and-only 16-0 season by any NFL team although they barely got by New York only managing a three-point win.
They would meet again later that season: during Super Bowl XLII in what would become the all-time greatest Super Bowl upset. The Giants were 12-point underdogs but shocked the Patriots 17-14 and preventing them from completing their dream season. New York would win their next two meetings including another Super Bowl upset in 2012.
New England would snap the losing streak and finally defeat New York 27-26 in the 2015 season. Their next regular season meeting is scheduled on 2019 and will likely be the final game featuring Eli Manning and Tom Brady.
New England Patriots Recent History
Before they became the modern day NFL dynasty, the Patriots were nothing more than an also-ran franchise. They spent 25 seasons before making consecutive playoff appearances, which coincided with their first Super Bowl trip in 1985. They were dismantled by the legendary Bears team.
Eleven seasons later, they would return to the Super Bowl in another losing effort this time to Brett Favre’s Packers. But this was a precursor to the Patriots’ dynasty. At the turn of the new millennium, the Patriots hired Bill Belichick as the coach and drafted Brady 199th overall.
The following year, Brady would debut and lead the team to a Super Bowl victory, their first of five under his and Belichick’s reign. Since this season, the Pats have accumulated eight AFC titles, 15 division championships and have won double-digit games in all but one season.
New York Giants Recent History
The Giants started out hot and commonly played in championship games winning four in their first 30 years as a franchise. They would go on a slump until the ’80s where they would return to prominence thanks to coach Bill Parcells and the “Big Blue Wrecking Crew”, an all-time great NFL defence led by Lawrence Taylor.
New York would win their first Super Bowl in 1986 and follow it up with another in 1990. From here until the early 2000’s, they would be an inconsistent team making a few playoff appearances including another trip to the Super Bowl although a losing one.
Their fortunes would again change in 2004 where the combo of new coach Tom Coughlin, new quarterback Eli Manning, and a resurgent defence would lead them to two more Lombardi trophies. But it would end in 2015 when Coughlin would step down and the Giants would once again go back to being an also-ran.
New England Patriots Outlook
The Patriots remain the rulers of the AFC until Brady and/or Belichick call it quits. And that could be within the next two or three seasons. Brady is 41 but is still playing like an MVP. And he has continuously proven he can win regardless of the talent around him. But he has his work cut out.
New England lost plenty of talent in the offseason but they can likely live with most of them except for their linebackers. The Pats are thin at the position and are also without an elite edge rusher even if they have a fantastic secondary led by Stephon Gilmore and Devin McCourty at the corners.
The Pats also have one of the best special teams unit and adding Cordarrelle Patterson only makes them better. Most importantly, as long as the AFC East remains a laughing stock, the Pats practically get five to six easy wins and an easy path to another division title and deep playoff run.
New York Giants Outlook
They aren’t far off from their AFC counterparts, the Jets. The Giants suffered their worst season in 2017 losing 13 games as Manning played one of his worst seasons as a quarterback. The ensuing drama led to several coaching changes and the Giants are back to square one with a new coach and all.
In the offseason, the Giants upgraded the defence adding former Patriot Nate Solder to the offensive line and drafting top prospect Saquon Barkley to fill their hole at running back. They also added guard Will Hernandez and veteran RB Jonathan Stewart, emphasizing on their investment in Barkley.
While the offence looks new and exciting, the defence is another thing. New York did make some additions but outside their defensive line, the overall stop unit is lacking. The Giants will improve on their three wins in 2017 but a return to the playoffs is unlikely.
The Pats are notorious for not letting their starters play at all during the preseason so don’t expect to see Brady or the regular Patriots or even Belichick. But New England still has enough talent on the second unit. Brian Hoyer is a decent backup with plenty of experience as a starter.
He’ll also have many of the Pats’ running backs who are all fighting to earn the elusive starter position. Jeremy Hill, Mike Gillislee, or 2018 first-round pick Sony Michel could emerge but they should get some reps. It’s the defence where the Pats will be lacking. But fortunately for them, so are the Giants.
New York’s first unit is already missing pieces so their second unit will also be thin. Either Davis Webb or Kyle Lauletta will be at quarterback but their lack of experience makes them easy pickings. Pats should win this.