EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It’s not exactly the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, but something has to give when the Giants face the 5-0 New England Patriots Thursday night in Foxborough.
In 25 seasons as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns and Patriots, coach Bill Belichick is 163 games over .500, including playoffs. The six-time Super Bowl champion is 197-134-0 (.595).
But the Giants are one of just two teams with a winning record vs. Belichick. The Giants are 5-3 against him, including 3-3 with the Patriots. The two most significant victories, of course, were their defeats of the Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. The Giants defeated Belichick-coached Browns teams in 1991 and 1994, and the Patriots in Gillette Stadium in 2011. The Giants lost regular-season games in 2003, 2007 and 2011, though the latter two seasons ended with the more significant Super Bowl triumphs.
The only other team with a winning record against Belichick is the Denver Broncos, who are 13-10 against him.
Daniel Jones will make his fourth start at quarterback and that brings us to a statistical indicator that is not as favorable for the Giants. Since Belichick became coach of the Patriots, New England is 18-5 against rookie quarterbacks. That includes a home record of…11-0.
The five rookie quarterbacks to defeat a Belichick-coached New England team are Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, the Jets’ Mark Sanchez in 2009 and Geno Smith in 2013, Cleveland’s Colt McCoy in 2010, and Seattle’s Russell Wilson in 2012.
*The Giants are 7-23 in regular-season games vs. defending Super Bowl champions (but 3-0 in the postseason, most recently vs. Green Bay in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game on Jan. 15, 2012). They have lost their last seven regular-season games vs. defending champions. Their most recent victory was against the 13-0 Denver Broncos on Dec. 13, 1998. Last year, the Giants lost twice to Philadelphia, which the season before won Super Bowl LII.
*The Giants are 15-10-3 on Thursday, including a 4-5 mark since 2008 (2-4 on the road).
*Since the 1970 merger, the Giants are 3-8 against teams 5-0 or better. They have lost their last four games against those teams. Their last such game was on Dec. 20, 2015 against the 13-0 Carolina Panthers. The Giants rallied from a 35-7 deficit to tie the score, but lost, 38-35, when Graham Gano kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired. Their last victory against a team 5-0 or better was on Oct. 26, 2003, when they defeated a Minnesota Vikings team, 29-17, that had won its first six games.
*On Sunday against Minnesota, third-round selection Oshane Ximines became the fifth Giants 2019 draft choice to start a game this season, joining first-rounders Jones, Dexter Lawrence and DeAndre Baker and fifth-rounder Ryan Connelly. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time the Giants have started five rookie draft picks in the first five weeks of a season since the merger. Washington (6), Oakland (6), Arizona (5) and Buffalo (5) have all started five or more of their draft choices this season.
*Linebacker Markus Golden has at least a half-sack in four consecutive games, the longest streak by a Giants player since Olivier Vernon did it in his final three games of the 2017 season his first in 2018.
*The Giants were outgained vs. the Vikings, 490-211, a 279-yard deficit that was their largest since Dec. 23, 2012, when they were outgained in a loss at Baltimore, 533-186, a 347-yard deficit.
*Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins completed 81.5% of his passes (22 of 27). That was the highest percentage by a starting quarterback against the Giants (minimum 20 attempts) since Dec. 16, 2012, when Atlanta’s Matt Ryan hit 82.1% of his throws (23 of 28).
*On Sunday, Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook rushed for 132 yards and wide receiver Adam Thielen gained 130 yards on seven catches. The Vikings were the first Giants opponent with a 130-yard rusher and receiver since Dec. 18, 2004, when Pittsburgh’s Jerome Bettis ran for 140 yards and wideouts Antwaan Randle El and Hines Ward finished with 149 and 134 yards, respectively.
*The Giants had 147 net passing yards vs. Minnesota, the fifth time in coach Pat Shurmur’s tenure they threw for fewer than 200 yards. It was their first loss in those games.
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