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Players to Watch in Giants vs. Patriots matchup


The Giants look to go on a winning streak when they take on the Patriots at MetLife Stadium this Sunday.

Brian Daboll's squad will try to carry over the momentum from last week's win over the Commanders as they take on Bill Belichick's Patriots, who are fresh off their bye.

Here are five players to keep an eye on when the two teams face off in Week 12.

QB Tommy DeVito

Tommy DeVito made history in his performance against the Commanders last week. The rookie completed 18 of 26 passes for 246 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, and his 137.7 passer rating was the highest by a rookie free agent quarterback with 15+ attempts in the common draft era. Not only that, but DeVito is also the first undrafted rookie quarterback to throw five touchdown passes in his first two starts, and the first Giants quarterback to do it since 1950. He also became just the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to accomplish the feat.

"We started fast early," DeVito said about the offense's performance last week. "I think that was the biggest thing. Something that we've been trying to get to do all year, but fall short of that. So that was really the big emphasis this past week, and it's good to go out and do it. It was good to get the team going, get the defense going and then ultimately helped us win the game, and we look forward to doing that hopefully this week."

This week's matchup against the Patriots will be a challenge for DeVito and the entire offense. New England enters Week 12 ranking 18th in passing yards and 10th in passing touchdowns allowed this season. However, the difficulties this game presents go beyond league rankings. Belichick has a history of containing rookie quarterbacks, evidenced by his dominant record against first-year QBs since taking over as coach of the Patriots (24-6). Additionally, Belichick has also had success coming off a bye week (16-7). Despite all of this, DeVito said he's excited about the challenge that lies ahead.

"Yeah, I mean, he's one of the greatest of all time or is the greatest of all time coach to ever come through the NFL," the rookie said about facing Belichick. "It's an honor to be able to play against him. I've been around him a little bit in the past with the Shrine Game, him and the Patriots were my coaching staff for that game. So, I got to know a lot of them and kind of how they go about their business. But it's a challenge I look forward to it. At the end of the day, I'm going to continue to do what I do and prepare and continue to just try to lead this team and lead this offense and not think too much about it."

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

RB Saquon Barkley

With the Giants getting the ball back with just 42 seconds remaining in the third quarter of last week's game, Saquon Barkley had a total of minus-2 rushing yards on the day. Despite finding no running room on his first six carries up to that point, the sixth-year back did not get discouraged. Barkley kicked it into high gear when the offense needed it most, ripping off a 36-yard run to end the quarter. That was just the beginning for the talented running back.

Over the last 16 minutes of the game, Barkley would run for 85 yards on just eight rush attempts, good for an average of 10.6 yards per carry. He scored the team's final offensive touchdown when he caught a five-yard pass from DeVito, marking his second touchdown reception of the game. It was Barkley's best performance of the year, as he finished with season-highs in total yards from scrimmage (140), yards per carry (5.9), and receiving yards (57) while his two touchdowns matched his season-best from Week 2. He has now topped 100 yards from scrimmage four out of the last five games.

The Patriots have performed well against the run this season, ranking ninth in rushing yards and second in rushing yards per attempt allowed on the season at just 3.4 yards per carry. However, the nine rushing touchdowns they have surrendered is tied for 18th in the league. The last time they took the field, the Patriots held Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts to just 70 total rushing yards. It was the fourth time in their last five games that they held their opponent to 85 rushing yards or less.

WR Wan'Dale Robinson

Wan'Dale Robinson caught three passes for 35 yards in last week's win. Heading into Week 12, the second-year wideout ranks second on the team with 32 receptions despite missing the first two games of the season. He has gained 239 yards and scored one touchdown on those 32 catches.

In addition to his role in the passing game, Robinson also played a key role in the run game in the win over Washington. The 5-foot-8, 185-pound receiver delivered a big block on Barkley's 36-yard run to end the third quarter, which helped spark the rushing attack.

"It was pretty exciting," Robinson told the media Monday. "I knew whenever we had the play called, I knew that I would have a pretty big block on that play so got my chin strap ready to go and was ready to go and made the big block."

In their last game back in Week 10, the Patriots allowed Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. to catch a game-high eight of 12 targets for 84 yards. This came one week after Commanders wide receivers Terry McLaurin totaled five receptions for 73 yards and four receptions for 69 yards and a score, respectively. The Patriots rank 14th in the league in both receiving yards and touchdowns allowed to wide receivers this year.

OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux

Kayvon Thibodeaux's breakout campaign, along with his dominance against the Commanders, continued this past Sunday. The second-year outside linebacker registered his fourth game with more than one sack this season, finishing the day with two sacks, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a pass breakup. He is now up to 10.5 sacks on the season, tied for the sixth-most in the NFL, and 14.5 sacks through his first 25 games in the NFL, 5.5 of which have come in four games against the Commanders.

Thibodeaux also picked up a season-high eight total pressures against Washington, all of which came against veteran left tackle Charles Leno. The 22-year-old recorded his fastest get-off speed in a game this year (0.68 seconds), while five of his eight pressures came in under 2.5 seconds, according to Next Gen Stats. Thibodeaux became the first player to reach double digit sacks in a Wink Martindale-led defense.

The 6-foot-5, 258-pound edge rusher will be faced with another tough matchup this weekend in Patriots left tackle Trent Brown. The 30-year-old tackle has surrendered just two sacks and 12 total pressures in seven games this season. Overall, the Patriots have allowed just 23 sacks on the season.

ILB Micah McFadden

A lot of attention has been put on linebacker Bobby Okereke lately, and rightfully so as the veteran linebacker has played at a high level all year. But fellow linebacker Micah McFadden has also quietly put together a solid sophomore season, one that has seen him already top almost all of his rookie season marks.

McFadden recorded eight total tackles (five solo), one tackle for loss, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup in last week's win over Washington. In 10 starts this season, the second-year linebacker has registered 68 total tackles (41 solo), 10 tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, three fumble recoveries, three passes defensed and one interception, all of which already beat his numbers from his rookie season (17 games, seven starts). He has also added 11 total pressures.

New England has a two-headed rushing attack that was just beginning to get going prior to the bye, led by the talented Rhamondre Stevenson. The third-year running back has carried the ball 126 times for 482 yards (3.8 avg.) and three touchdowns this year while adding 32 receptions for 229 yards. Joining Stevenson in the backfield is someone the Giants are plenty familiar with – Ezekiel Elliott. The former Cowboy has gained 331 yards on 86 rush attempts (3.8 avg.) and has found the end zone twice. After the Patriots failed to reach the 100-yard rushing mark in five consecutive weeks, the two running backs have combined for 246 rushing yards, 12 receptions and 105 receiving yards in their last two outings.

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


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