Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
Welcome Back! It has been awhile since the Giants played a game.
I had last week’s Giants/Patriots game called pretty well. I called it Patriots 34, Giants 0. I called it 5 touchdowns for the Patriots. I called a missed extra point by Nugent who had been missing 1 a game. He didn’t miss an extra point but he did miss a 40 yard field goal in the 3rd quarter. I couldn’t see how the Giants could score without Barkley, Gallman, Engram and Sheppard, who made up 80%+ of their offense. The game was weird given the fact that there were 2 fumble returns for touchdowns and a blocked punt for a touchdown.
The Patriots had only allowed 6.75 points per game through 5 games. They had not allowed a passing touchdown and had only given up 2 rushing touchdowns. The other 2 touchdowns were a Sudfield pick 6 vs. the Jets (Belichick never takes out Brady, BTW) and the other TD was a fumbled punt in the same game when Edelman was out. He usually handles all the punt return duty.
The Giants played well in this game despite it being a short week. They had the game tied at 14-14 at the 4:38 mark in the second period. The Giants scored 14 points in less than 3 minutes since the point where the Pats went ahead 14 to 0. However these were the only points scored in the game for the Gmen. The first touchdown was a pass to Tate where the defender fell down and Tate make an acrobatic catch. Then 4 plays later Carter sacks Brady and strips him of the ball. Golden recovers and runs 42 yards for a touchdown.
You never had the feeling all game that the Patriots were ever in trouble of losing the game. Belichick, who was 11-0 vs rookie quarterback, made it 12-0 vs Jones. Danny Dimes got a real education vs The Master. He was 15 of 31 for 161 yards with 1 TD and 3 interceptions and he was sacked once. He amassed a 35.2 quarterback rating. Belichick made adjustments all game and especially in the second half where they blanked the Giants. The Patriots had the ball a whopping 39:36 minutes in this game. The Giants only converted on 20% of the 3rd downs and they only ran 48 plays to the Patriots 78. The last time I can remember a team having the ball for 40 minutes in the game was the Giants in Super Bowl 25. They ran the ball with OJ Anderson to keep the Bills K-Gun offense off the field. That was one of Belicheck’s signature games where they hit every receiver that moved on the line of scrimmage and let Thurman Thomas run underneath.
Turning to this week’s game, it is a matchup of the #1 & #2 quarterbacks from the 2019 draft. Murray is in the lead at #9 in passing yards with 7 TD’s and 4 Interceptions. Jones is 27th in yards passing with only 5 TD’s and 6 interceptions. To be fair, Jones played 2 less games, but Murray is ahead in yards/game 277 to 184.
When the Giants have the ball, they want to run Barkley. This sets up the whole offense. He needs 20-25 touches. They also need to get him in space with short passes. Then Jones can set up some play action and take some shots to the receivers. Peterson his back from his 6 game suspension with the Cardinals (just our luck). I expect him to cover Tate because Shepard is out. That opens up Engram for a big day because the Cardinals are just about the worst team vs the tight end. Slayton and even Bennie Fowler if they dress him will be in play for some shots down the field. Ball security for Jones is a key in this game. He had 3 picks last week and he is also prone to fumble.
When the Cardinals have the ball, the key is to keep Murray in the pocket. He is like Russell Wilson in his scramble abilities. He is also good moving within the pocket to escape pressure. Bettcher will want to dial up the pressure against his old team because Murray has been sacked 21 times so far this year. Kirk is questionable but the Cardinals have plenty of targets including Fitzgerald who is #2 in passing yards and receptions to the GOAT, Jerry Rice. Johnson out of the backfield is also a good receivers and it looks like he is going to play. Chase Edmunds in his relief has been a respectable rookie replacement. Both teams are bad defenses giving up the same yards per game: Giants 28th at 412 yards and the Cardinals 30th at 414 yards. They are also similar in some other areas. The Cardinals 3rd down efficiency is 42% and the Giants is 39%. In time of possession, the Giants are at 27:38 and the Cardinals are at 28:16.
I circled this game back in April as one of the Giants 6-7 wins for the Giants this year, and I still feel the same. Cardinals are a West Coast team playing a 1pm game on the East Coast. They can win if Murray has a big day. However with Barkley back the Giants are a much better team playing the 30th ranked defense. You also have to figure Bettcher has some wrinkles planned vs his old team. I am calling this one, Giants 28 and the Cardinals 23.