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Giants vs. Patriots Storylines: What to watch for

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1. SUPER RIVALRY


NEWS
> [Inside the Numbers: Eli's career](http://www.giants.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/Inside-the-Numbers-Elis-place-in-history/ef189daa-7e30-48eb-ba8d-ed52f51286ab)
> [Latest NFL Power Rankings](http://www.giants.com/news-and-blogs/Power-Rankings/article-1/Where-do-Giants-stand-in-latest-NFL-Power-Rankings/f0b65d1d-a275-4e2b-a048-31a891c4a162)
> [Giants add DT Montori Hughes](http://www.giants.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/Giants-add-DT-Montori-Hughes-to-active-roster-Johnathan-Hankins-to-IR/88290d1d-ed63-4a2d-a77b-0026e2b04fd0)
PHOTOS
> [Week 9 Gameday Photo Timeline](http://www.giants.com/photos/photos/Gameday-Photo-Timeline-Giants-vs-Buccaneers-118/3c86a57e-3456-480a-a1d1-781c20e4e170)
VIDEOS
> [Watch: Sights and Sounds](http://www.giants.com/videos/videos/Sights--Sounds--Giants-vs-Buccaneers/d9c9cc6c-5bad-4d79-9ece-9c82b74f7b3b)


It's the undefeated and Super Bowl champion Patriots.

That's what the Giants have this week. Big Blue defeated New England in each of the teams' last three meetings, including Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.

And since Eli Manning earned his first Super Bowl MVP award, the Patriots have beaten every team in the NFL with the exception of the Giants. However, history won't score points or make tackles for the Giants when they host them on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET.

"New England is never not going to be a difficult task and that's a tribute to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick as the coach, and all the guys that move around in and out the building," said Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who won Super Bowl XLIX this past February with the Patriots. "They just do a great job and we're definitely going to have to play lights out to beat these guys at home."

2. BYE WEEK LOOMS WITH DIVISION LEAD

Heading into their Week 11 bye, the Giants (5-4) will try to maintain their lead in the NFC East. The Eagles, who are on their heels at 4-4, play the Dolphins at home this Sunday while the Redskins (3-5) host the Saints.

The Cowboys (2-6) look to end their six-game losing streak with a trip to Tampa Bay in Week 10. Meanwhile, Tom Coughlin is 12-7 in pre-bye games, including 7-4 as the head coach of the Giants.

"It's a wonderful thing to be able to be in the hunt, to be relevant," Coughlin said. "And each week is extremely meaningful and the players are well aware of that. Like I spoke to them on Saturday night, we talked about the fact that, 'Hey, you work a whole winter, you work all summer, you spend all your time preparing and if I was to tell you at the midpoint of the season that you were in first place in the division, had a very meaningful circumstance within the division, would it make a difference? You bet it would, you bet it would.' So obviously we have many, many important and big games to go, but it's good to have that factor involved."

3. D-LINE GAINS JPP, LOSES HANKINS

In the same game that defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul returned to play 46 of the Giants' 63 defensive snaps (73 percent), third-year defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins suffered a season-ending pectoral injury in the win against the Buccaneers. He was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, and the Giants filled the roster spot by promoting Montori Hughes from the practice squad.

"John has been a guy that's anchored in the middle of that defensive line for a few years," Coughlin said. "We'll definitely miss his presence. He knocked the ball out yesterday, he's the one that forced the first fumble recovered by [Jasper] Brinkley. He'll be missed, there's no doubt. He's a strong, strong player inside and he can be a factor against the pass as well as the run. We will definitely miss him."

4. WILL THE GIANTS ACTIVATE BEATTY?

The Giants have until Thursday to activate offensive tackle Will Beatty off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Beatty, who tore his pec while lifting weights in May, has returned to the practice field but has yet to play in a game this season. If they don't activate him, it would end his season.

On Monday, Coughlin said, "Will is going to practice this week and the decision will be made."

5. TALE OF THE TAPE

Tom Brady, who has thrown just two interceptions in eight games, currently leads the NFL in both passer rating (113.5) and touchdown passes (22). So it comes as no surprise that New England has the No. 1 scoring team in the league (34.5 points per game). The Patriots are second in total yards (420.3), third in passing (325.5) and 26th in rushing (94.8). Tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Julian Edelman are in a four-way tie (which includes Odell Beckham Jr.) for second in the NFL with seven receiving touchdowns.

Gronkowski leads the team in yards (693), but Edelman tops the Patriots in receptions (57). Meanwhile, LeGarrette Blount leads the way on the ground with 98 carries for 447 yards and five touchdowns. Fellow running back Dion Lewis had 234 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns --  in addition to 36 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns -- before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 8. Defensively, New England is fifth in points allowed (17.9), eighth in total yards (334.0), 16th against the pass (244.8), and third against the run (89.3). Defensive end Chandler Jones leads the league with 9.5 sacks. New England is tied for second as a team with 27 on the season.

Playmakers on Patriot's first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike

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