1. Can the Pats get ahead early?
Getting an early lead is the most important thing for the Patriots, for a number of reasons.
First, the defense can’t be relied upon, so an advantage is necessary from the start.
Second, it would allow the Patriots to establish the run, something they could not do last Sunday in Pittsburgh, being behind all game. If the Patriots want to lose the “finesse” tag, they’ll have to do it by running through a solid Giants defense.
Finally, it won’t take much for Pats fans to turn on the team. And if they go down early, things could get ugly.
2. Manning offers a chance for D-line
Unlike Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning lacks any sort of dangerous scrambling ability.
The Giants passer actually has negative-15 rushing yards this season. And he’s shown that, when pushed out of the pocket, he’s susceptible to making mistakes.
So this could very well be a big game for the Patriots defensive line. The secondary has been terrible, but the pass rush needs to take some of the blame, too. If the D-line can successfully get to Manning and force him out of his comfort zone, the Pats secondary should (should!) be able to make him pay.
3. Eagles, Minutemen representing
The Giants boast two local college products: former BC linebacker Mark Herzlich and former UMass wide receiver Victor Cruz.
Herzlich has played a reserve role at linebacker and special teams this year, while fantasy revelation Cruz has 497 receiving yards and four TDs.
Head coach Tom Coughlin had high remarks for both players, but especially for Cruz: “He just learns every day, learns more and more about his position, his role, learns about coverage, learns about the way people are playing him, but he will go get the ball and he does have a capacity to make plays.”