TNF: New York Giants vs. New England Patriots Pick
New York Giants (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (5-0 SU, 3-2 ATS)
Date/Time: Thursday, October 10th, 8:20 PM
Where: Gillette Stadium Foxboro, MA
Point Spread: NYG +17 / NE -17 (BetNow)
Over/Under Total: 43.5
In the week 6 Thursday Night Football matchup, the New England Patriots welcome the New York Giants to Gillette Stadium in a showdown of teams going in opposite directions in the NFL standings. In twelve previous matchups, the teams have gone an even 6-6 against each other, with the Patriots having gone 5-1 over their last six regular-season meetings, but the Giants have won the two most important games with wins against New England in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.
New York is coming off of a 28-10 loss to the Vikings that they never really stood much of a chance in as their injury-depleted defense was no match for Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota offense. Unfortunately, the attack is dealing with malady issues of their own with star running back Saquon Barkley still out due to injury, and now backup running back Wayne Gallman and top wide receiver Sterling Shepard both stuck in concussion protocol.
With all three weapons expected to be out this week against the Patriots, it doesn’t leave much offensive options for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, who is already facing a tough enough battle anyways against a dominant Patriots defense along with trying to become the first-ever rookie quarterback to win at Foxboro going up against Bill Belichick, who is 11-0 in such scenarios throughout his New England career. The return of wide receiver Golden Tate from a four game suspension last week should at least help give him another body besides tight end Evan Engram, who has easily been Jones’ favorite target amongst the healthy offensive options and is the only player with more than one receiving touchdown on the season thus far.
RUNNING ON EMPTY
Unfortunately for the Giants, their running game is now in even worse shape than the passing game thanks to the injuries to Barkley and Gallman. Jonathan Hillman will be the presumed starter for week six, but he has had serious trouble gaining any traction so far this season with just 53 yards on 19 carries and zero touchdowns. This is not a welcome sign for a team looking forward to a New England defense that ranks 4th in the league in rushing yards allowed, and that hasn’t allowed a running back to score on them since the AFC Championship game last season.
ISSUES ALL OVER
While the Patriots defense has been the best in the league through the first five weeks of the season, the Giants have struggled and currently rank 30th in yards allowed, 28th against the pass and 24th in points per game. With widespread injuries to their linebackers (defensive captain Alec Ogletree, Ryan Connelly, and Tae Davis all missed last week against Minnesota), it remains to be seen how much of an effect they will have in attempting to slow down Tom Brady and the New England offense. If you take away their 28-3 win against a Washington team that has already thrown in the towel this season, New York has allowed an average of 31 points per game and has had great difficulty in putting up any sort of a fight against mid-range quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins, Jameis Winston and even accuracy challenged Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills.
One area of somewhat concern for the Patriots this season has been their running game, which has averaged less than 100 yards per through the first five weeks. Thankfully in the second half of last week, things seemed to change when offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels got his head out of his ass and decided not to pass on every down going into the second half. This led the best game of Sony Michel’s season thus far as he seemed to snap out of his funk with 91 yards on the ground, a touchdown, and, more importantly, a 5.7 yards per carry average. This was a welcome change from what had been a sluggish start to 2019 for the second year back and a hopeful sign of things to come.
BRADY BEING BRADY
The improved success of Michel only bares well for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as the increased balance against Washington helped spark the passing game as well with Brady passing for over 300 yards in a game for the third time this season while also throwing for multiple scores for the fourth time in five games. The biggest concern for the passing game is the inconsistent play of the offensive line along with the health of their receivers with Phillip Dorsett lost early last week to a hamstring injury and Julian Edelman still having to gut his way through a painful rib injury suffered a couple of weeks back. They decided to release tight end Ben Watson on Monday and will now go ahead at the position with just Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCossee, leading some to believe they may be in the market for another target, whether it be at tight end with the possibility of injury-prone Tyler Eifert available, or even going after his also banged up teammate A.J. Green at receiver.
New England’s defense continues to play at a level that even the most optimistic fan could have imagined. They never allowed the Washington offense to get into the red zone, and the Redskins were only able to cross midfield twice all game. They also recorded at least five sacks for the fourth straight game, have only allowed five 3rd down conversions over the past four games and now lead the league with 11 interceptions on the season (which is four more than the next best team). The return of Dont’a Hightower from injury had a noticeable effect as the linebacker had one of the best games of his career, and with a depleted offense led by a rookie quarterback coming to town, the odds are certainly in their favor of continuing their dominant success.
THE FINAL DECISION
Even at full strength, the Giants would have a difficult time coming into Foxboro and pulling off the upset, but with the added variables of widespread injuries affecting the offense and defense, I just don’t see how they can possibly keep this game close. Belichick’s continuing befuddlement of rookie quarterbacks is not a trend but a significant factor to consider when scouting the game, especially considering Daniel Jones will be leading an offense missing major pieces in both the running and passing attacks. The Giants have covered the last five games in this series, but the streak will come to a resounding end on Thursday night as I expect the Patriots to get a very easy win and cover.
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