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Fact or Fiction: Kayvon Thibodeaux's Year 2 pace


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Kayvon Thibodeaux will reach 16 sacks, a total that has been achieved just four times in Giants history (Michael Strahan twice, Lawrence Taylor, and Jason Pierre-Paul).

John Schmeelk: Fiction – Thibodeaux is going at an impressive pace, but it might be hard to continue to the end of the season. According to Pro Football Focus, Thibodeaux has a pressure rate of 10.6 percent. Pressure rate is generally more predictive than sack rate, so I have to go fiction. As a point of reference, Thibodeaux's pressure rate last season was actually higher (10.8 percent) than it is this year. He has gotten home more this year, which is often out of the control of the pass rusher.

Dan Salomone: Fact – He is on pace to join that elite club. Even though he has the benefit of a 17th game, it would still be an incredible accomplishment. Just getting to double digits is no small feat that should ever be taken for granted.

Lance Medow: Fiction – He's within striking distance with six contests to go, but it will also require him to record a sack per game or have one or two contests with multiple ones.  There's essentially not much wiggle room to have a quiet performance.  He's collected at least one sack in six of 11 games, which is a great rate but it's also an indication he's come up empty-handed at times, so I think he'll fall just short of 16.5.

Matt Citak: Fiction – Thibodeaux has undoubtedly put together one of the best seasons by a Giants pass rusher in the last decade. He's had at least one sack in six games this year, with four games of 1.5 sacks or more. His sophomore campaign has certainly been a breakout one, but 16 sacks will be difficult to reach, especially with two matchups still to come against the Eagles and their elite offensive line.

Tommy DeVito will throw multiple touchdowns in his third consecutive start.

John Schmeelk: Fact – Bill Belichick is a mastermind on defense, but the one thing he will do consistently every game is take away the opponent's best player. For the Giants, that will be Saquon Barkley. Belichick will make Tommy DeVito beat him. Since losing their top pass rusher Matthew Judon and dynamic young cornerback Christian Gonzales for the season with injuries, the Patriots' defense has uncharacteristically struggled, especially against the pass. Brian Daboll had success as the Bills' offensive coordinator against the Patriots, and I think he will figure out a way to get the ball into the end zone a couple times through the air.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Only three quarterbacks have thrown multiple touchdowns against the Patriots this season: Derek Carr, Josh Allen, and Tua Tagovailoa. They're about to have company.

Lance Medow: Fiction – As much as the Patriots' offense has struggled this season, their defense has proven to be a tough riddle to solve as they've surrendered just 12 passing touchdowns in 10 games.  Only three quarterbacks have thrown for multiple scores against New England this season. Based on that trend and the fact that Bill Belichick has a pretty strong track record against rookie quarterbacks, I think it will be a tall order for Tommy DeVito.

Matt Citak: Fact – The Patriots will likely key in on Saquon Barkley, which could cause the talented back to struggle to make big runs. However, with the focus on Barkley, DeVito will have an opportunity to step up and lead the offense down the field, as he did this past Sunday in Washington. After becoming the first rookie Giants QB to throw at least five touchdown passes in his first two starts, DeVito will make it at least seven touchdowns through his first three.

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

The Giants will record at least two takeaways after having six in Week 11.

John Schmeelk: Fact – As of Wednesday morning, Bill Belichick had not committed to a starting quarterback. The Patriots have turned it over 16 times this year, which is tied for 10th-most in the NFL. The Giants are coming off a six-takeaway game against the Commanders, and their 16 takeaways this season are tied for eighth in the NFL. I think the Giants keep it up this week and score two more turnovers. They do come in bunches, after all.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – The Patriots have turned the ball over 16 times (11 interceptions and five fumbles lost) in 10 games, so they're just below two per game. Turnovers come in bunches, which means the Giants may have used up all of theirs – for the time being – on last week alone.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Last week was an outlier for the Giants with six takeaways as they had 10 in their first 10 games and recorded multiple ones in a contest just four times.  The Patriots have 16 giveaways in ten games, so they've had some issues with ball security and have turned the ball over at least once in nine of their 10 contests.  They've also had multiple turnovers in five games, but that happened four times in the first five contests and just once in the last five.  This could easily go either way and I'll lean toward one turnover as opposed to multiple ones given New England is coming off its bye week and may have had an opportunity to clean up some of its issues through a self-scout.

Matt Citak: Fact – After a slow start in the turnover department, the unit has picked it up significantly over the last two months. The Giants have had multiple takeaways in five of their seven games since Week 5. On the other side of things, the Patriots' offense has had five games with at least two turnovers. Whether it's Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe or any other Patriots quarterback under center Sunday, the Giants' defense will step up and continue its recent takeaway hot streak.

Saquon Barkley will have at least 50 receiving yards for the second consecutive week.

John Schmeelk: Fiction – As I mentioned in a previous response, Bill Belichick consistently tries to take away the opponent's best player, which for the Giants is Saquon Barkley. I'm sure the Giants will try to get him the football, but I think Bill Belichick assigns extra personnel to him, even in the passing game, to keep the Giants off-kilter.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Barkley made a few catches last week that would be impressive for any wide receiver, let alone a running back. The Giants found something with him and DeVito through the air, so why not keep that going?

Lance Medow: Fiction – We're going with the clean fiction sweep this week.  That was the first time Saquon Barkley surpassed 41 receiving yards this season, so it remains to be seen whether they'll keep him as involved in the passing attack.  I think the matchup against the Patriots calls for it given New England has been solid against the run this season and passes to the running back are essentially an extension of the ground attack. But you also have to figure Bill Belichick is going to focus the majority of his attention on Barkley and force Tommy DeVito and the passing game to beat him.

Matt Citak: Fact – As I mentioned above, Belichick's game plan will likely revolve around attempting to slow down Barkley and the run game. However, it may be difficult for the Patriots to contain him as a pass-catcher. The sixth-year back is coming off a season-high 57 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns against the Commanders, and he has now caught at least three passes in all but one game he's played in this year. Barkley and DeVito have shown some nice chemistry in the passing game, and the two will keep it going against the Patriots.

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


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