EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** The Giants and New England Patriots play each other infrequently. But when they do, history happens
In Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, the Giants faced Patriots teams that had won six and then four more games in those respective regular seasons. Yet the underdog Giants won each game, 17-14 and 21-17. And in the first of those epic contests, New England entered with an 18-0 record and saw its bid for a perfect season dissolve amid a flurry of clutch Giants' performances.
The teams had met in that year's final regular-season game, which the Patriots won, 38-35. Their most recent regular-season meeting was on Nov. 6, 2011, when the teams had matching 5-2 records. Eli Manning's one-yard touchdown pass to Jake Ballard with 15 seconds left gave the Giants a 24-20 victory.
On Sunday, the 5-4 Giants will host the 8-0 Patriots. Both head coaches said today the past has no bearing on the present.
"It's a new year, new scheme, it's a new team, all of those things," Tom Coughlin said. "We have some ideas that carry over, but by in large, as you said, that's in the past."
"Those games were a long time ago," New England's Bill Belichick said. "I don't think it really has any bearing or influence on what happens this week. I think this week is about the matchups with these two teams, and so that's what we're really focused on."
The Giants lead the NFC East, and have a chance to enter the bye with two victories in a row, and three in the last four games. And now they get a chance to match up with one of the league's three remaining unbeaten teams.
"In this day and age, being undefeated at this point of the season is quite an accomplishment in itself," Coughlin said. "We know the quality of the team. Excitement is a good word for us, energy in the room kind of thing, is a very positive thing for us. We simply have to take care of our process, our production, better than we've ever done it before. That's really what the challenge is for our players, both in the classroom and on the field."
The Patriots' average margin of victory is more than 16 points. But half of their eight victories have been decided by no more than eight points.
"They have been in some tight ball games," Coughlin said. "The Jets gave them a good game (30-23), Indianapolis, a good game (34-17). So there have been some games that have been relatively close, at least for a while. But they're a good football team and you've got to play your best, there's no other way around it, in all phases because of their ability to score, their ability on defense to rush the passer. They do mix pressures in, but primarily, they get after it with their rush group. That's a good football team."
• Coughlin opened his news conference by recognizing Veteran's Day.
"We want to acknowledge Veteran's Day and thank our veterans for their diligent service to our country," Coughlin said. "Also recognizing our military throughout the world and thank them for their vigilance and all that they provide, the safety that they provide for us."
Coughlin, who visited Iraq in 2009, has long been a fervent supporter of the military. He is the Giants' nominee for the fifth annual "Service Award presented by USAA." The award, presented annually by USAA and the NFL, honors a league member who demonstrates an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community. USAA is the Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the NFL.
Coughlin is one of six head coaches who were nominated. The list includes St. Louis' Jeff Fisher, who was a member of the coaches group that met with troops in Iraq six years ago.
Past winners include Jared Allen (2014), Baltimore coach John Harbaugh (2013), Charles Tillman (2012), and the late Tennessee Titans owner, Bud Adams, a World War II veteran (2011).
Finalists for this year's award will be announced in January. The winner will be recognized at the "5th Annual NFL Honors" awards show in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 6, the night before Super Bowl 50.
Playmakers on Patriot's first-team offense, defense, and special teams, presented by Nike