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10 Things To Watch For

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10 things to watch in Giants vs. Patriots

10-THINGS-WEEK-12-PATRIOTS

RIDE THE MOMENTUM

The Giants put together their most complete performance this past weekend against the Commanders. The offense scored 24 points, their second-highest point total of the season, as both the run game and aerial attack got going. The defense forced a season-high five turnovers while continuing its success on third down, and special teams added a takeaway of their own while connecting on all five kicks (one field goal, five extra points).

"It's always good to win, yeah," head coach Brian Daboll said after the win. "So, preparation normal, practicing normal, I know you asked about that the other day. To be able to put it together, you know defense, special teams, we had six turnovers, capitalized on a few of those. Hit some good, big plays. Good play designs. I thought finishing the game we made it probably tougher than we had to, but it was good to get a win."

The Giants will look to ride the momentum of last week's win on Sunday as they face off against the Patriots. New England has endured their own struggles this season as they enter this matchup with a 2-8 record. The Patriots have lost three consecutive games, their second three-game losing streak of the season, as they've had trouble moving the ball down the field. However, head coach Bill Belichick is one of the best in the business coming off a bye week with a record of 16-7 since taking over as the coach of the Patriots.

ALL-TIME SERIES

The New York Giants host the New England Patriots in MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 26. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. ET on FOX.

Sunday's game marks the 12th regular-season matchup between the teams and the first time the Giants will host the Patriots since a 27-26 loss on Nov. 15, 2015. The Patriots hold a three-game advantage in the regular-season series (7-4) and took the last meeting, 35-14, on Oct. 10, 2019. The regular-season series is separated by just 17 points (Patriots 224, Giants 207).

The Giants defeated the Patriots in their two postseason meetings, winning Super Bowl XLII (17-14) and Super Bowl XLVI (21-17).

The Giants are coming off a 31-19 win in Week 11 at Washington, where they completed their 35th series sweep against the Commanders. The Giants totaled six takeaways for the first time since Sept. 25, 2014, when they also defeated Washington, 45-14.

View photos from the Quest Diagnostics Training Center as the Giants gear up for the Patriots.

INJURY REPORT

Giants

Out: T Evan Neal (ankle)

Doubtful: DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring), WR Darius Slayton (neck)

Questionable: RB Eric Gray (ankle)

Patriots

Questionable: LB Ja'Whaun Bentley (hamstring), T Trent Brown (ankle), CB Jonathan Jones (knee), WR DeVante Parker (concussion), SpT Matthew Slater (ankle), DL Deatrich Wise Jr. (shoulder), OL Riley Reiff (knee)

DeVITO GETS ROLLING

Tommy DeVito made history in his performance against the Commanders last week. The rookie completed 18 of 26 passes for 246 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, and his 137.7 passer rating was the highest by a rookie free agent quarterback with 15+ attempts in the common draft era. Not only that, but DeVito is also the first undrafted rookie quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in his first two starts, and the first Giants quarterback to do it since 1950. He also became just the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

DeVito was voted the Pepsi Rookie of the Week for his performance.

"We started fast early," DeVito said about the offense's performance last week. "I think that was the biggest thing. Something that we've been trying to get to do all year, but fall short of that. So that was really the big emphasis this past week, and it's good to go out and do it. It was good to get the team going, get the defense going and then ultimately helped us win the game, and we look forward to doing that hopefully this week."

This week's matchup against the Patriots will be a challenge for DeVito and the entire offense. New England enters Week 12 ranking 18th in passing yards and 10th in passing touchdowns allowed this season. However, the difficulties this game presents go beyond league rankings. Belichick has a history of containing rookie quarterbacks, evidenced by his dominant record against first-year QBs since taking over as coach of the Patriots (24-6). Additionally, Belichick has also had success coming off a bye week (16-7). Despite all of this, DeVito said he's excited about the challenge that lies ahead.

"Yeah, I mean, he's one of the greatest of all time or is the greatest of all time coach to ever come through the NFL," the rookie said about facing Belichick. "It's an honor to be able to play against him. I've been around him a little bit in the past with the Shrine Game, him and the Patriots were my coaching staff for that game. So, I got to know a lot of them and kind of how they go about their business. But it's a challenge I look forward to it. At the end of the day, I'm going to continue to do what I do and prepare and continue to just try to lead this team and lead this offense and not think too much about it."

SAQUON COMES UP CLUTCH

DeVito wasn't the only player on the offense to step up when the unit needed it most. Running back Saquon Barkley totaled minus-2 rushing yards in the final minute of the third quarter. But in the final 16 minutes of the game, Barkley gained an impressive 85 yards on just eight carries, good for an average of 10.6 yards per attempt. He also caught his second touchdown pass of the game in the fourth quarter as he finished with four receptions for 57 yards and the two scores.

It was Barkley's best performance of the year, as he finished with season-highs in total yards from scrimmage (140), yards per carry (5.9), and receiving yards (57) while his two touchdowns matched his season-best from Week 2. He has now topped 100 yards from scrimmage four out of the last five games.

"It felt great," Barkley said about his production in the passing game. "Especially the first one, which is a play that I've been asking for a long time. So, when it got called, in my mind I was like, 'I can't mess this one up'. It feels good to get into the endzone twice and feels good to get a win. Obviously, just being critical of myself. This last time I could've done better, especially my pass protection. Gonna go back, watch film and get ready for next week."

The Patriots have performed well against the run this season, ranking ninth in rushing yards and second in rushing yards per attempt allowed on the season at just 3.4 yards per carry. However, the nine rushing touchdowns they have surrendered is tied for 18th in the league. The last time they took the field, the Patriots held Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts to just 70 total rushing yards. It was the fourth time in their last five games that they held their opponent to 85 rushing yards or less.

KAYVON LEADING THE PASS RUSH

Kayvon Thibodeaux's breakout campaign, along with his dominance against the Commanders, continued this past Sunday. The second-year outside linebacker registered his fourth game with more than one sack this season, finishing the day with two sacks, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a pass breakup. He is now up to 10.5 sacks on the season, tied for the sixth-most in the NFL, and 14.5 sacks through his first 25 games in the NFL, 5.5 of which have come in four games against the Commanders.

Thibodeaux also picked up a season-high eight total pressures against Washington, all of which came against veteran left tackle Charles Leno. The 22-year-old recorded his fastest get-off speed in a game this year (0.68 seconds), while five of his eight pressures came in under 2.5 seconds, according to Next Gen Stats. Thibodeaux became the first player to reach double digit sacks in a Wink Martindale-led defense.

"It's a divisional opponent, so we all knew what was on the line," Thibodeaux said after the win. "It's a game that mattered, I'm happy we got the win."

The 6-foot-5, 258-pound edge rusher will be faced with another tough matchup this weekend in Patriots left tackle Trent Brown. The 30-year-old tackle has surrendered just two sacks and 12 total pressures in seven games this season. Overall, the Patriots have allowed just 23 sacks on the season.

OKEREKE ANCHORING THE DEFENSE

It's hard to accurately quantify the impact the addition of Bobby Okereke has had on the defense this season. The veteran linebacker signed with the team back in March following four seasons with the Colts. The 27-year-old was voted a team captain in his first season with the Giants, and 11 weeks in, it is easy to see why.

Okereke is far and away the team's leading tackler with 105 total tackles on the season. He has recorded double digit tackles in six games, and is currently tied with Seattle's Bobby Wagner for the fifth-most tackles in the NFL. Okereke has already set new career-highs with nine tackles for loss and four forced fumbles, two of which came in last week's win over Washington. As if all of that wasn't enough, Okereke is also one of PFF's highest-ranked linebackers in coverage this year.

"Yeah, it's been a tough stretch, but we have that next play mentality, next game mentality," Okereke said following the Week 11 win. "It's just a great opportunity for us to go out and get a division win, which we did. I thought we all rallied around Tommy. He did a great job showing leadership and we came out with the win."

Okereke was a non-participant in the first practice of the week Wednesday as he tends to rib and hip injuries.

The Giants tallied six takeaways against the Commanders, five of which came from the defense. Isaiah Simmons, Okereke's fellow linebacker, had the final takeaway of the game when he intercepted Howell and returned it 54 yards for the game-sealing touchdown in the final minute.

McFADDEN STEPPING UP

A lot of attention has been put on linebacker Bobby Okereke lately, and rightfully so as the veteran linebacker has played at a high level all year. But fellow linebacker Micah McFadden has also quietly put together a solid sophomore season, one that has seen him already top almost all of his rookie season marks.

McFadden recorded eight total tackles (five solo), one tackle for loss, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup in last week's win over Washington. In 10 starts this season, the second-year linebacker has registered 68 total tackles (41 solo), 10 tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, three fumble recoveries, three passes defensed and one interception, all of which already beat his numbers from his rookie season (17 games, seven starts). He has also added 11 total pressures.

New England has a two-headed rushing attack that was just beginning to get going prior to the bye, led by the talented Rhamondre Stevenson. The third-year running back has carried the ball 126 times for 482 yards (3.8 avg.) and three touchdowns this year while adding 32 receptions for 229 yards. Joining Stevenson in the backfield is someone the Giants are plenty familiar with – Ezekiel Elliott. The former Cowboy has gained 331 yards on 86 rush attempts (3.8 avg.) and has found the end zone twice. After the Patriots failed to reach the 100-yard rushing mark in five consecutive weeks, the two running backs have combined for 246 rushing yards, 12 receptions and 105 receiving yards in their last two outings.

WHO STARTS AT QB FOR NEW ENGLAND?

Coming off their bye, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has not yet announced who will start at quarterback against the Giants. Mac Jones has started the first 10 games of the season but has not found a ton of success. The third-year quarterback has completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 2,031 yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a passer rating of 80.2.

Backup Bailey Zappe has appeared in three games in relief this season and has gone just 10 of 25 for 104 yards and an interception. The Patriots also have Will Grier, who has yet to play in a game for the Patriots, on the active roster along with rookie Malik Cunningham on the practice squad. 

"I've told all the players the same thing, be ready to go. So, hopefully they will be," Belichick told the media at the start of the week. The Patriots head coach reiterated that message again Friday morning.

The Patriots currently rank 31st in points and 26th in yards this season.

SCOUTING THE REST OF THE PATRIOTS

We already touched on the quarterback situation and run game, but here is a look at the rest of the Patriots team.

New England lost their top receiver, Kendrick Bourne, to a torn ACL last month. This has paved the way for rookie Demario Douglas to step up as the top option in the passing game. The 22-year-old has five or more receptions in three straight games, and caught a season-high six passes for 84 yards against the Colts in Week 10. Tight ends Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki have also played large roles in the offense, totaling 51 receptions for 480 yards and four touchdowns between the two.

Moving over to the defense, veteran linebacker Matt Judon leads the way with four sacks on the season, while linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley and defensive lineman Christian Barmore are right behind him with three apiece.

In the secondary, safety Kyle Dugger has recorded two interceptions and four passes defensed. Former Giant Jabrill Peppers leads the defense with six pass breakups to go with one interception, one forced fumble and four tackles for loss.

New England's defense comes into Week 12 ranking 23rd in points and 16th in yards allowed. The pass defense ranks 18th in passing yards and 10th in passing touchdowns surrendered, while the run defense ranks 9th in yards allowed. The defense's 3.4 rushing yards per attempt is the second-lowest in the NFL. The unit also has the league's seventh-best red zone defense (45.5 percent).

Rare photos from the storied history between the New York Giants and New England Patriots.

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