Here we go- two 5-2 NFL clubs with eyes on winning their respective East divisions. And of course New England Patriots vs. New York Giants is a rematch of Super Bowl XL. Most people remember that game from the moment above, when an obscure loser named David Tyree- who never again caught a NFL pass, was the unlikeliest of heroes.
I don’t blame James Sanders and Rodney Harrison. I blame that vaunted offense for putting up a whopping 14 points. I blame the OL for refusing to show up in the game that mattered most and ruin a perfect season. But let’s just stop talking about it.
New York Giants Analysis:
The NY Giants are not the most impressive 5-2 team out there. First off, they didn’t have a lead over the hapless and winless Miami Dolphins until very late, and they only won that game by three. Coming into that game their opponents combined record was 12-30. And now, commencing with this trip to Gillette Stadium, every opponent except one (their division rival and “dream team” Philadelphia Eagles) has a winning record from here on out.
Good luck with that.
Here’s some good news. Eli Manning is completing 65% of his passess this season, throwing for over 2,100 yards and a passer rating in the triple digits. He has three solid yet underrated wideouts in Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard. I understand why Ballard is underrated, he played his college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes, and his stats in Columbus were non-existent. Seriously, I was SHOCKED he was actually drafted, and even more amazed he’s amounted to anything at all.
Here’s some bad news- leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw has a cracked bone in his foot. We’ve heard he’ll be out indefinitely; then we heard he might play.
Either way, the Giants have the weapons to expose the New England secondary.
The Patriots have the worst pass defense in the NFL this season, and they have quite possibly the worst secondary in the history of “really good NFL teams.” Think about that- what NFL team that routinely appears in the top 5 of many power rankings is also DEAD LAST(as the Pats are in passing yards allowed per game) in one of the four major statistical categories (passing, rushing, rush defense, pass defense).
Opponents routinely do to New England what British redcoats tried to do it in the 1770s- destroy it!
New England Patriots Analysis:
If the AFC playoffs started today, well if the NFL playoffs started today, which would mean both conferences, but for now we’re just talking the AFC- anyways the Pats would be the #6 seed. Yes, the team that just a couple weeks ago was the best AFC team according to many power rankings is now in immediate danger of missing the playoffs entirely.
If the Buffalo Bills win the AFC East, and the Baltimore Ravens finish with a better record than the Pats, Tom brady and company could really be in trouble.
Here’s an excerpt from “This Given Sunday,” it assesses the road ahead for the Pats to reach the postseason:
One of the primary factors working in favor of the Patriots is that the AFC North controls 3 potential playoff teams. That also means that those teams will tend to beat up on each other. For the Patriots to miss the playoffs, it would seem that the Bengals, Steelers, and the Ravens would have to finish ahead of the Patriots. At this point, the Steelers certainly look like the team to beat in that division, and they host the Ravens this weekend. The Ravens then will travel to Seattle, for what should be an easy win, before coming home to host the Bengals. Are you seeing the problem here? It’s likely that one or two of the AFC North teams will get beat out of the playoffs by teams in their own division.
That article says a lot, but it overlooked the fact that Bill Belichick’s teams usually play their best ball after Thanksgiving. All that crap about the Chicago Bears and “Bear Weather” actually applies in New England;s case. The only time the Patriots haven’t been better down the stretch in November/December was the year Tom Brady was hurt.
And Wes Welker will play- believe me, he’ll play.
Prediction to be taken with an entire truckload of salt, not a grain of salt: Pats 35, Giants 31 (2010-11 prediction record 33-16)
In New England, it’s 1 if they attack by land, two if by sea, and usually 6 if by air. However, it’s not all the DBs fault- where’s the pass rush? It hasn’t been much better than last year; And last year was terrible. It’s also true that a lot of those yardage comes when the opposition is behind, and has no hcoice but to pass. The Patriots are 5-2 and have spent most of the season with a lead.
But in the end, you can’t be a Super Bowl team with a weakness, any weakness, this glaring. You can run, and you can pass, but you can’t hide- not with that anything-but-Fab Four back there.
However, this week you can. Tom Brady, Wes Welker, Deion Branch and company outshoot the Giants at home this week.
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the FWAA, USBWA and SPJ. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks