The New England Patriots will return from the Bye Week this week with a matchup against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. The Patriots are 16-7 following the Bye Week under head coach Bill Belichick.
The Patriots are 12-3 all-time at MetLife Stadium, including 1-0 against the Giants in their only game played against them at MetLife on Nov. 15, 2015 when the Patriots secured a 27-26 victory in a last second, 54-yard field goal by K Stephen Gostkowski.
The New England Patriots and the New York Giants will meet for the 12th time in the regular season and for the first time since Oct. 10, 2019, when the Patriots beat the Giants, 35-14, at Gillette Stadium in a Thursday Night Football Game.
The clubs have been frequent preseason opponents recently, squaring off in the preseason openers for three straight years from 2001-03 and resuming the series in 2005 when they started to meet in the preseason finale through the 2021 season (except for the 2020 season). The teams broke from that tradition when they met in the preseason opener in the 2022 season, before the streak of preseason matchups ended in 2023.
The Patriots have faced the Giants more than any other team in the preseason with 31 matchups. Philadelphia is second with 24 preseason games.
The teams played three times during the 2007 and 2011 seasons with meetings in the preseason, the regular season and in the Super Bowl.
Overall, the Patriots claim a 7-4 edge in regular season play.
NEW ENGLAND TIES
In the decades leading up to the founding of the American Football League in 1960, many football fans in New England followed the Giants, a franchise founded in 1925. New England-based NFL outfits such as the Providence Steam Roller (1925-31), the Boston Redskins (1932-36) and the Boston Yanks (1944-48) folded or moved away, leaving the Giants as the closest NFL team to New England until the Patriots franchise inaugurated play in the 1960 season.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent 12 seasons on the Giants' coaching staff, and was the team's defensive coordinator for their victories in Super Bowls XXI and XXV. Belichick joined the Giants as the special teams coach on Ray Perkins' staff in 1979, and during his tenure coached special teams (1979-82), linebackers (1980-84) and the secondary (1989-90), while also holding defensive coordinator responsibilities (1985-90).
- Aug. 15, 1971 — The Patriots defeated the Giants 20-14 in the opening preseason game at the old Foxboro Stadium.
- Dec. 21, 1996 — The Patriots rallied from a 22-3 fourth-quarter deficit to clinch a first-round playoff bye with a 23-22 win at Giants Stadium.
- Aug. 10, 2001 — New England began its first Super Bowl championship season with a 14-0 preseason shutout of the defending NFC champion Giants.
- Dec. 29, 2007 — The Patriots defeat the Giants by a thrilling 38-35 score to cap off the first 16-0 regular season in NFL history.
- February 3, 2008 — The Patriots faced the Giants in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz. The Giants 17-14 win snapped the Patriots perfect season.
- February 5, 2012 — The Patriots faced the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Ind. The Giants took a 21-17 lead when they scored with 57 seconds left in the game and held the Patriots on a final drive to secure the win.
- November 15, 2015 – K Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 54-yard field goal with one second to play to lift the Patriots to a 27-26 come-from-behind victory. The Giants took a 26-24 lead with 1:47 to play before QB Tom Brady drove the Patriots 44 yards and converted a fourth-and-10 on the series to set up the game-winning field goal.
SCOUTING THE MATCHUPS
By Paul Perillo
When the Patriots run - Edge: Patriots
The bye week came at the worst possible time for Rhamondre Stevenson. The third-year back was in the midst of his best stretch of the season by far, following up his 87-yard effort in the loss to Washington with a solid 88-yard outing in Germany against the Colts. He's averaged better than 4 yards per carry in three of his last five games and at least 3.8 yards per carry in all five. Despite the break, expect the recent spike in production to continue. The Giants are among the worst defenses in football when it comes to stopping the run. New York ranks 29th in the league, allowing 135.1 yards per game and 30th in yards per carry at 4.8. Those are surprising numbers considering Dexter Lawrence mans the middle of the Giants 3-4 front and he is one of the most disruptive players in the game. A'Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches line up alongside Lawrence with Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeau on the edges. The latter pair is known more for getting after than passer than stopping the run, and that's where opponents have attacked. Middle linebacker Bobby Okereke is solid but the Giants have struggled all season. Look for Stevenson to continue his recent upswing with his power to break tackles certain to cause some problems for a run defense that hasn't been up to the task all season.
When the Patriots pass - Edge: Giants
It's hard to give the Patriots an edge in this matchup against anyone based on how the passing game has performed most of the season. Mac Jones continues to make crippling mistakes at the most inopportune times and in the last outing in Germany he was pulled by Bill Belichick with the game on the line. Jones' interception near the goal line on a badly underthrown pass intended for a wide-open Mike Gesicki was the final straw against the Colts, as Bailey Zappe came off the bench to run the final two-minute drill with the Patriots trailing 10-6. Zappe was ultimately picked off as well, so it will be interesting to see how Belichick responds coming out of the bye against the Giants. New York's pass defense hasn't been much better than the run, but most of the problems have been due to a poor offense that often puts the team in bad spots. The Giants rank 22nd in the league, allowing 236.5 passing yards per game and 25th with 7 yards per pass play. Corners Tre Hawkins, Deonte Banks and Cor'Dale Flott join safeties Xavier McKinney and Jason Pinnock in the secondary with Darnay Holmes, Adoree Jackson and Nick McCloud also seeing time. The Giants have combined for nine interceptions, including linebacker Isaiah Simmons' game-clinching pick-six Sunday at Washington. Whether it's Jones or Zappe or Will Grier, the Patriots will struggle finding options in the passing game beyond rookie Demario Douglas, who has emerged as the most dependable wideout.
When the Giants run - Edge: Patriots
Run defense has been far and away the best element of the Patriots team during the 2023 season. The big guys up front have been stout all season long, led by Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux and most recently Christian Barmore. They've done a great job of filling gaps and protecting linebackers Ja'Whaun Bentley and Jahlani Tavai, leading New England to post gaudy numbers against the run. Opponents average just 97.7 yards per game on the ground (ninth in the league) and 3.4 yards per carry (second). Even when the Patriots have faced pass-heavy teams and been forced to go with lighter boxes, the Patriots have generally done the job up front. The Giants have one of the most dangerous backs in the league in Saquan Barkley, and despite the offense's season-long struggles, he is posting a solid season. Barkley has 651 yards on 153 carries for a 4.3-yard average but has just one rushing touchdown. The Giants will try to establish Barkley early in the game in an effort to take some heat off rookie third-string quarterback Tommy DeVito, so look for the Patriots game plan to involve getting bodies around the line of scrimmage to prevent Barkley from making any dangerous cutbacks to daylight. The Patriots have faced tougher challenges in the past and for the most part have dominated.
When the Giants pass - Edge: Patriots
Not much has gone right for the Giants offense this season and that all starts with the passing game. Most of those struggles have been due to the guys up front as New York has cycled through more than a half dozen combinations due to health problems and other factors. The offensive line has been ineffective, allowing 62 sacks on the season including five in the first quarter alone against the Commanders on Sunday. That has led to injuries at quarterback where both starter Daniel Jones (torn ACL) and backup Tyrod Taylor (ribs) currently reside on injured reserve. That leaves DeVito, the undrafted rookie out of Illinois by way of Syracuse, to run the show. After some predictable struggles, DeVito was solid in the win over Washington, tossing three touchdowns in the 31-19 victory on the road. DeVito has some mobility to buy time and has a decent set of receivers to throw to, although leading target Darren Waller is also on IR. WanDale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt, Darius Slayton and Parris Campbell are the top wideouts with Daniel Bellinger filling in for Waller at tight end. Barkley is a frequent option out of the backfield as well. The Patriots secondary has not performed well as of late and will roll with Jonathan Jones, Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade after the departure of Jack Jones, although J.C. Jackson could get back in the mix. Despite the struggles, the Patriots should be able to contain DeVito.
Special Teams - Edge: Patriots
The Giants are one of the few teams that has struggled more on special teams than the Patriots. While the Patriots have been unable to find consistency in the kicking game, particularly with penalties, the Giants issues have run the gamut as well. The kick receiving team ranks near the bottom of the league in average drive start while the kickoff team is in the bottom third. Kicker Graham Gano struggled before landing on injured reserve but not before missing six of his 17 field goals. Veteran Randy Bullock took his place and has made both of his attempts thus far. Jamie Gillian (64) and Bryce Baringer (50) have been among the most active punters in football and neither has been particularly effective. The teams have also struggled in the return game as neither Parris Campbell (kicks)/Gunner Olszewski (punts) nor Ty Montgomery (kicks)/Demario Douglas (punts) has been able to muster much in the way of game-changing plays. Rookie Chad Ryland missed his fifth field goal of the season in Germany, a 35-yarder that he pushed to the right. Not much to choose from between these two struggling teams.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|2023 REGULAR SEASON||NEW ENGLAND||NEW YORK GIANTS|
|Total Yards Gained||2,945||2,884|
|Total Offense (Rank)||295.5 (26)||262.2 (32)|
|Rush Offense||94.9 (27)||111.5 (13)|
|Pass Offense||199.6 (22)||150.6 (32)|
|Points Per Game||14.1 (31)||13.5 (32)|
|Total Touchdowns Scored||15||16|
|Total Yards Allowed||3,265||4,088|
|Total Defense (Rank)||326.5 (16)||371.6 (28)|
|Rush Defense||97.7 (9)||135.1 (29)|
|Pass Defense||228.8 (18T)||236.5 (22)|
|Points Allowed/Game||23.8 (23T)||25.9 (28)|
|Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost||23/139||63/337|
|Takeaway/Giveaway Ratio||-6 (26T)||+3 (9T)|
- WR Gunner Olszewski (2019-21)
- OT Yodny Cajuste (2019-22)
- HC Brian Daboll (2000-06, 2013-16)
- Asst. DL Coach Bryan Cox (2001)
- DBs Coach Jerome Henderson (1991-93, 96)
- Off. Coord. Mike Kafka (2013)
- DL Coach Andre Patterson (1997)
- LB Calvin Munson (2017-18)
- DB Jabrill Peppers (2019-21)
- HC Bill Belichick (1979-90)
- Asst. HC Joe Judge (2020-21)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
GAMES COACHED IN NFL HISTORY
Bill Belichick will coach in his 423rd overall game since joining the Patriots in 2000 (including the postseason) this week when the Patriots play the New York Giants. Belichick will tie Don Shula (423) for the third-most games coached with one team, behind the 506 by George Halas and 454 by Tom Landry.
PATRIOT TO WATCH - RHAMONDRE STEVENSON
RB Rhamondre Stevenson had a 64-yard touchdown run in the second quarter vs. Washington on Nov. 5. Since 1970, Laurence Maroney (2007), Sedrick Shaw (1998), Robert Edwards (1998) and Craig James (1985) are the only Patriots players with multiple 50-yard runs in a season. Stevenson can join them with a 50-yard run this week against the Giants.
Stevenson needs one more rushing touchdown to move into the Top 20 for rushing touchdowns in team history and move into a four-way tie 19th all-time. He needs two rushing touchdowns to tie Carl Garrett for 18th and three rushing touchdowns to tie Kevin Faulk for 17th place. Stevenson (2,134) needs 43 rushing yards to move ahead of Steve Grogan (2,176) into 19th place on the Patriots all-time rushing list. He also needs 102 yards rushing to move ahead of Carl Garrett (2,235) into 18th place on the Patriots all-time rushing list.
DL Davon Godchaux has registered eight total tackles in each of his last two games. The last New England defensive lineman with at least eight total tackles in three straight games was DT Chad Eaton in 2000. He registered 12 total tackles at Chicago (12/10//00), 12 total tackles at Buffalo (12/17/00)and eight total tackles vs. Miami on Dec. 24.
DOUGLAS CATCHING ON
Rookie WR Demario Douglas has 30 receptions for 361 yards. Douglas needs 13 receptions to tie WR Deion Branch for the most receptions by a rookie receiver under Bill Belichick. Branch had 43 receptions for 489 yards as a rookie in 2002. Douglas also needs 158 receiving yards to match the 519 receiving yards by WR Aaron Dobson for the most receiving yards by a rookie receiver under Belichick. Dobson had 37 receptions for 519 yards as a rookie in 2013.
LB Ja'Whaun Bentley is leading the team with 68 total tackles and is on pace to finish the season with 116 total tackles. Last season, he set a career-high with 122 total tackles to become the 13th New England player to reach at least 120 total tackles in season and the first since Jerod Mayo had 147 total tackles in 2012. Bentley can become the first Patriots player with back-to-back 120 tackle seasons since Rodney Harrison with 124 total tackles in 2003 and 129 total tackles in 2004.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast by FOX and can be seen locally on WFXT-TV Channel 25. Kenny Albert will handle play-by-play duties with Jonathan Vilma as the color analyst. Shannon Spake will provide analysis from the sidelines. The game will be produced by Fran Morison and directed by Bryan Lilley.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 33 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis. The games are produced by Marc Cappello.