On Thursday night, the New England Patriots (2-1) will face their kryptonite in their fourth and last preseason game against the New York Giants (1-2). With both teams losing their last contest, the Patriots and Giants will duke it out and resume their rivalry for the first time in 2013.
Of all the great rivalries in the NFL, the battle between these two teams has become something great, something on the lines of “Legendary.” It started when the Giants denied the Patriots a Super Bowl ring and a perfect record back in 2007. In 2012, again, it was Eli Manning and the Giants that stole another Super Bowl away from Tom Brady‘s Patriots.
In this former Goliath and David underdog story, expect both teams to play with a little extra energy in this matchup in Gillette Stadium.
The Giants lost their previous game against the drama-filled New York Jets 24-21 in overtime. With their only game against their in-state rivals coming in the preseason, the Giants failed to come out with a victory in a sluggish performance, particularly in quarterback Manning.
The two-time Super Bowl winner Manning finished his night connecting 8-of-20 passes for only 83 yards with zero touchdowns and taking one sack. Having an unimpressive game for the most part, we did see Manning throw two great passes: zipping in a 20-yard pass to Jerrel Jernigan, and a 34-yard pass to star receiver Hakeem Nicks. After those two great passes, the next three plays netted only two yards with a failed fourth-down conversion pass attempt by Manning.
Second-year running back David Wilson was the only bright spot for a Giants, as he sprinted down the field for 84 yards. Other than that, the Giants either lacked focus or seemed uninterested in a game that exposed many flaws.
Defensively, the Giants were terrible in pass coverage, as they allowed rookie quarterback Geno Smith and backup quarterback Chris Simms combine for 381 yards passing and two touchdowns. Although the Giants came away with three interceptions, in the end, they became useless as the offense could not capitalize on the Jets’ mistakes.
In Boston, Patriots’ fans are still trying to wake up from a coma after they witnessed their beloved team get blasted 40-9 against the “Bad Boys,” the Detroit Lions. Preseason game or not, either the Patriots just got tired of winning and Brady wanted to “chill,” or the Lions’ defensive dominance is legitimate.
On a night where the Patriots could have used Paul Revere‘s warning that the “Blue Coats” were coming, the Minutemen on defense had zero resistance, as they allowed Matthew Stafford and the Lions to do whatever they wanted. The Patriots gave up three touchdowns and 455 totals yard of offense.
In what surprised almost everyone, including the Lions’ defenders, was the play of future Hall of Famer Brady. After being dominant in the first two preseason games, Brady was 16-of-24 for 185 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception and endured two sacks for a combined loss of 19 yards.
These aren’t terrible numbers, but because it is Brady, these stats are below average. The offensive line was beaten on numerous occasions, while the running attack was little to non-existent throughout the game.
As the Patriots and Giants face off in the last preseason game, both teams will have one last time to improve their overall game before the regular season begins. For the Patriots, their arch nemesis, or “Red Coats,” are the G-Men. Make no mistake about it, the Patriots would love nothing more than to stick it against a team that ruined their place among the greats in the NFL history books.
To the Giants, they would love nothing more than to humble a team and remind them who took away their Super Bowl victories. On the eve of this battle, expect the Minutemen and “G-Men” to be focused and ready for a fight, even if the starters won’t play much.