New England Patriots (8-0 SU, 5-1-2 ATS) vs. New York Giants (5-4 SU, 5-3-1 ATS)
Pro Football Week 10
Date/Time: Sunday, November 15th, 4:25 PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium
By Mike M., NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NE-7 / NYG +7
Over/Under Total: 54.5
The New England Patriots travel to East Rutherford to take on the New York Giants, the first time the teams have played each other in nearly four years since the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI 21-17.
The return of Jason Pierre-Paul from offseason fireworks training gives the Giants defense a much-needed boost and will hopefully provide stability to unit that has struggled through the year. The pass rush, which has been a major part of their success against New England in recent years has been near non-existent, generating just nine sacks so far this season which ranks last in the NFL. Most surprising has been the abundance of penalties called on Tom Coughlins defense this season, 74 in total through eight games which is second most in the league and something they will need to quickly cut back on as giving the Patriot offense multiple second chances can only lead to disaster.
Odell Beckham Jr. continues to be the focal point of the New York offense and is coming off of back-to-back games with at least 8 catches and 100 yards receiving in each. The Patriots usually design their defense around stopping the opposing teams most dangerous weapon on the offense, and Beckham Jr. should draw plenty of attention on Sunday from the New England defensive backfield. While the Giants running game has struggled this season with only three touchdowns on the ground, quarterback Eli Manning has played efficiently well in completing 66% of his passes while throwing nineteen touchdowns to just six interceptions. One of his favorite targets has been former Patriot Shane Vereen, who continues to be a major threat out of the backfield in the passing game with 34 catches and three touchdowns scored this season. While Malcolm Butlers game clinching interception and the offensive trio of Brady/Edelman/Gronk got the most attention for last years 35-31 Patriot Super Bowl victory against the Seahawks, Vereens record breaking performance deserves its fair share also. His eleven receptions (including three on the teams final drive) were the most ever in the Super Bowl by a running back and were second most by any player in Super Bowl history behind Demaryius Thomas who had thirteen in Super Bowl XLVIII.
New England thought they had found their replacement for Vereen with Dion Lewis, who had come on strong in the past month as rushing/pass catching threat out of the backfield that was incredibly dangerous in open space. Unfortunately for the Patriots it was announced on Monday that Lewis was lost for the season after tearing his ACL in last weeks 27-10 win against Washington. While this is a tough injury to an important part of the New England backfield, the team still has the bruising LeGarrette Blount as their lead runner along with Brandon Bolden, who caught a touchdown last week after Lewis was hurt, and 2014 fourth-round draft pick from the University of Wisconsin James White.
Most importantly for the Patriots, they still have the three major cogs of their offense at full strength; Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Brady continues to tear through the rest of the NFL, averaging 325 yards passing per game while throwing 22 touchdowns on the year compared to only two interceptions. Gronk and Edelman remain Bradys favorite targets with both each having over 600 yards receiving and seven touchdowns on the year. The re-emergence of Danny Amendola and the return of Brandon Lafell, who has 25 targets in his three games back since beginning the year on the PUP list with a foot injury, should help immensely in filling the reception void left by the Lewis injury.
While the Patriots continue to win, the nonsensical conspiracy theories about their methods of success linger like the aftermath of a chili cook-off. In the past week a supposed sports news website had a headline that read Have the Patriots found a way to get an edge on coin flips? after it was noted that New England had won 19 of their previous 25 coin tosses, which rationally must finally show once and for all that coach Belichick has an assortment of nefarious powers, whether of the evil nature like Emperor Palpatine or perhaps of the time-stopping variety similar to what Zack Morris could pull off on Saved by the Bell. Multiple media outlets ran with the story as if it was legitimate news, which followed in line with the hard-hitting expose that Sports Illustrated had a couple months back about New England that spoke of the highest forms of tom foolery in Foxboro, such as serving warm Gatorade to their opponents and a Homeland type plot involving the looting of trashcans both at the stadium and at the opposing teams hotel meeting rooms. Much like a website trolling for readers with misleading headlines, running such a story that had little to no factual evidence or quotes from named sources was a bit hackneyed and seemingly more a ploy to garner attention toward a magazine that hasnt been relevant since they gave away a free football phone with any subscription.
All that really matters in football is what happens on the field, and this Sundays game at MetLife Stadium should be a good one. New England has notably struggled in recent years against the Giants, losing as favorites in all three of their last meetings, two of which were in the Super Bowl. That streak should come to an end this weekend as New York strongly lacks the defensive prowess it needed in the past to contain Brady and his offense, as while the Patriots rank second offensively in yards per game and first in points per game, the Giants come in at dead last in the NFL in total defense. The team as a whole has been outgained in eight of the nine games they have played so far this year which leads to many a question as to how they can possibly keep up with the potent Patriot offense in what is expected to a high scoring game with the over/under of 52.5 registering as the largest of any NFL matchup on the docket in Week 10. Expect Belichick and his reign of terror to continue with the Patriots getting a win and cover on the road in Bon Jersey.
Mikes Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New England -7 -120
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