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Giants - New England
Game 12 preview
Sunday Nov 26, 1:00 PM - Patriots at Giants

Giants (3-8) Patriots (2-8)
The Patriots are coming off their bye week. The last time they played, it was in Germany against the Indianapolis Colts and they lost that game 10-6.
On Sunday the Giants faced off with the Washington Commanders. They took an early lead and hung on to it till the end, enjoying a 31-19 win over the Commanders.

New England Patriots
Things have not been going well for Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots. Belichick had a losing record in his first year coaching the team, and since then nothing but winning records, 17 division titles, multiple championships, including six Super Bowls wins from 2001-2019. In 2020 the Patriots were 7-9, and finished third in the division. A 10-7 record in the following year had them second in the division, and a wildcard match with the Bills ended in a lopsided 47-17 loss. The Patriots were back in third place last season with an 8-9 record, and currently at 2-8 look to be headed on their way to another losing season this year.

New England Patriots Offense
With the Giants losing their top two quarterbacks to injuries, you'd figure they would be the team trying to figure out what the starting quarterback situation would be. Instead it's the Patriots who are having trouble deciding. Mac Jones was the 15th overall pick in the 2021 draft, and Belichick used him to get back into the post season that year after missing out for the first time in 11 years. Jones threw 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The following year it was 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and it stands now at 10 and 10. In a comeback attempt from the Colts 15-yard line late in their last game, Jones threw his last interception and he was benched.
Belichick has been admittedly unclear since then if Jones will retain his starting position. Bailey Zappea has stepped in three times this season for Jones. Jakobi Meyers was the leading receiver for the last three seasons, but the reliable target was not available for Jones this season as the Patriots let him walk in free agency. They instead signed JuJu Smith-Schuster who has not fulfilled that role. Kendrick Bourne had stepped up, and his numbers still are the highs for the receivers group despite his suffering a season ending torn ACL three games ago.
Bourne had caught four touchdowns, and tight end Hunter Henry has three, accounting for seven of the teams total receiving touchdowns. Rookie Demario Douglas has seen more passes come his way in the last few games, and has the lead in receiving yards over the others with 361. The Patriots rely on running back Rhamondre Stevenson making catches as well as leading the team with his rushing yards, 126 carries for 482 yards, and 3 touchdowns. The Patriots picked up Ezekiel Elliott in the offseason, and he has 86 carries for 331 yards and 2 touchdowns. Elliott also has 18 catches for 108 yards

New England Patriots Defense
They are strong against the run, can get pressure on quarterbacks, and are allowing an average 24 points per game. The Patriots defense was in the top five in sacks last season, with 54, but have really dropped off, recording just 18 sacks in their ten games. Linebacker Matt Judon leads the team with four, linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley and defensive lineman Christian Barmore each have three. Barmore also has five tackles for loss, six quarterback hits, and 27 total tackles.
Interceptions have also dropped off where the defense had 19 last season, and so far just 6. Safety Kyle Dugger leads the team with two interceptions. Former Giant Jabrill Peppers is the top safety on the team with 59 total tackles (four for loss), six passes defensed, one interception, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
The Patriots are dealing with injuries that happened early on to top linebacker Matthew Judon and rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez, who was their first round draft pick. Both played in only four games. They had already lost cornerback Marcus Jones in game 2. In need of a cornerback, the Patriots arranged for a trade. J.C. Jackson, who started his career with the Patriots, was reacquired last month in a trade with the Chargers after he was benched in his final two games there. Jackson was also benched by Bill Belichick, and did not travel with the team to Germany, but is expected to be active this week.

Giants Offense
Tommy DeVito is still getting his feet wet as a quarterback in the NFL. He's going to have to do a better job with his feet in this game against the Patriots. DeVito was sacked nine times last week playing against Washington, and as poorly as the offensive line can play at times, he was accountable for a number of those sacks. The good part is that DeVito has thrown five touchdowns and one interception in his two starts, and despite his 14 sacks, and 8 carries, had no fumble turnovers. DeVito was making good use of Darius Slayton last week before he took a hard hit and didn't return to the game.
Slayton had four catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in just two quarters of play, and is listed as doubtful for this game. That's bad news, as the passing game stalled once Slayton was out of the picture. Saquon Barkley carried the offense for the rest of the game after being shut down totally in the first half. The Giants have had time over the week to plan for Slayton's absence. The Patriots carry over from last year a better run defense than the Giants faced against Washington. If they are effective against Barkley, one or two receivers, Wan’Dale Robinson, Daniel Bellinger, or Jalin Hyatt, will have to step up for the passing game to work.

Giants Defense
They may have had to put in a little extra time preparing for Mac Jones and Bailey Zappea as Bill Belichick might start either one, and who knows if he'll switch one out at some point. Zappea has already come in three times in ten games when Jones was pulled. The Giants defense will be anxious to cause either one to make make mistakes early on, and to worry on each pass that it will be their last. Those quarterbacks won't have to worry as much if their offense is working on the ground.
Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott are very effective runners, and the Giants are
allowing 135 rushing yards per game. They came up big against Washington, despite giving up 174 rushing yards. Their six takeaways (one on special teams), set up opportunities for the offense to score 17 points. You can't always count on that, and things still may be easier if Leonard Williams hadn't been traded. That may show up more if Dexter Lawrence can't get past his hamstring injury and play this Sunday.

The New England Patriots are the more settled team. coming off their bye week. Even though they have to travel to New Jersey, the Giants just played three consecutive games on the road. It does help that the Giants finished things off with a win, and are in the right frame of mind and anxious to add another as they head into a bye. Everyone knows that Belichick will come up with a plan, especially against a rookie quarterback. The question is, will he have his own locker room invested enough to carry it out the way things have been going?

NFC East Games
Thursday at 4:25pm Commanders (4-7) at Cowboys (7-3) - Cowboys 45 - Commanders 10
Sunday at 1:00pm Patriots (2-8) at Giants (3-8)
Sunday at 4:25pm Bills (6-5) at Eagles (9-1)
The Cowboys and Eagles are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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Next Games
Dec 11 Packers at Giants
Dec 17 Giants at Saints

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