Everything you need to know about Thursday night’s matchup between the New York Giants (2-3) and New England Patriots (5-0):
1. Shorthanded Giants. Pat Shurmur said Monday that “time is your friend when you’re coming back from an injury,” but that was precisely what his team did not have on a short week. Ahead of their Thursday night’s game in New England, the Giants ruled out running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), tight end Evan Engram (knee) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (concussion). Wayne Gallman, who started the past two weeks in place of the injured Barkley, will also not play due to a concussion.
2. Perfect Pats. The Patriots have started 5-0 for the fourth time under head coach Bill Belichick (2004, 2007, 2015). The Giants, meanwhile, are coming off a 28-10 loss to the Vikings after back-to-back wins to start the Daniel Jones era. New England has outscored its opponents by 121 points this season. The next best margin of victory belongs to San Francisco (+70).
3. Belichick’s historic D. The Patriots defense has not allowed a passing touchdown this season, the first team to do so for five games since the 1988 Cleveland Browns, who did not allow a passing touchdown in the first seven games. New England has given up 34 total points, the fewest points allowed through a team’s first five games since the 2005 Indianapolis Colts (29 points) and the fifth-fewest since 1970.
4. Next test for Daniel Jones. After he suffered his first loss as a starter last week, Jones will look to become the sixth rookie quarterback to defeat the Patriot under Belichick. The others are Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger (2004), the Jets’ Mark Sanchez (2009) and Geno Smith (2013), Cleveland’s Colt McCoy (2010), and Seattle’s Russell Wilson (2012).
5. Ask Eli. Jones has two wins so far in his promising career, the same number of Super Bowl victories for Manning. The latter earned both of his Pete Rozelle Trophies after defeating the Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. “Absolutely, I think he’s been extremely helpful to me in each of these games, and in a short week like this, he’ll be helpful, also,” Jones said. “He obviously knows how to prepare, he’s done this short week a number of times, so he’ll be extremely helpful.”
Jones added: “I think [he can share] just some of their tendencies and how they’ve evolved over the years. I think they’ve changed a little bit from the times—but he has the experience from seeing that change. But yeah, I think just kind of the tendencies, who they are, the foundation of their defense, is helpful in preparing.”
Photos from the storied history between the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
6. Defensive reinforcements. While the injuries have piled up on offense, the Giants do have reinforcements coming on defense. Inside linebackers Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and Tae Davis (concussion) are good to go after missing the last two games. Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter (neck), who was also unable to suit up last Sunday, is listed as questionable.
“We don’t have one guy that’s just going to save the day for us,” said Ogletree, one of seven team captains. “It takes all 11 of us to go out on the field and do our job and do it well. When somebody needs to step up, we expect them to step up and do their part, and the same with me. When I come back, they need me to do my part, and the same with the rest of everybody.”
7. Next Hilliman up. After Gallman went down last week, undrafted rookie Jon Hilliman stepped in and led the team with nine carries for 20 yards. “Yeah, he competed well,” Shurmur said. “He did what we asked him to do, and with his opportunities, he made the most of them. We expect that he’ll do the same this week.” Fullback Eli Penny, who is a halfback at heart, also rushed three times for 15 yards.
8. Slayton coming into his own. After dealing with a hamstring injury, rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton has notched 157 yards on just nine catches in three games, an average of 17.4 yards per reception. That includes last week’s 35-yard touchdown, the first of his career.
9. X-Factor. In his first game back from suspension, Golden Tate caught a pass on the first play from scrimmage but just two more after that for a total of 13 yards. The veteran receiver has averaged 16.4 yards per catch in three career games against the Patriots and has a reception of at least 25 yards in each of those games, with longs of 51 and 42 yards.
10. History in their favor. As Michael Eisen pointed out in his “Inside the Numbers” feature, the Giants are one of just two teams with a winning record vs. Belichick. The Giants are 3-3 while he has been with New England and 2-0 when he coached Cleveland. The only other team with a winning record against Belichick is the Denver Broncos, who are 13-10 against him. Furthermore, since the Giants defeated the Patriots on their last trip to Foxborough in 2011, Tom Brady has lost just eight games at Gillette Stadium, including postseason. He is currently on an 18-game winning streak at home and is 130-20 overall at the venue.
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