The New England Patriots preseason, in spite of all the change and turmoil of the off-season, has shown a team with a lot of young talent that has progressed and is poised for a very solid season. The New York Giants look to be a team that is in disarray, in large part due to injury, and a team that could be in for a difficult season in a tough division.
To get into the play-offs, you win the division. That is the goal. The Patriots look as if they have the talent to do this once again, especially compared to the competition. The Jets are a mess, with their best quarterback play coming from Phil Simm’s son, who may not make to make the roster. The Dolphin’s have decent quarterback play, but their coaching staff and talent overall are inferior to the Patriots. The Bills, well, sadly, they still look to be ‘The Bills’. That said, they may come in second place in the division. Buffalo has talent at the skill positions, and when E. J. Manuel gets back on the field, they will be competitive.
The Giants have to go up against three improved teams in Dallas, Philadelphia, and Washington. All three of these teams are strong, including Philadelphia who won but 4 games last year. All three of the teams appear to be much more likely to win games than the Giants.
The Giants starting running back Andre Brown went down with a fracture in his leg last night. The Giants starters played a couple of series against the Patriots back-ups as they were determined to put a scoring drive together before coming out of this meaningless game. They finally did, to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
The negative outlook I just portrayed for the Giants, however, could quickly be overcome. How? They have one of the best head coaches in the league, and a two-time Superbowl winning quarterback. Also though, when a couple players heal up, they will have a very solid offensive line. And the one strength they displayed last night was their defensive line.
Games are won in the trenches and by good quarterback play. Could it be like 2007? The Patriots determined to prove themselves, (then after the fantasy called Spy-Gate, and this year after the Hernandez disgrace) took the league by storm yet lost to a Giants team that limped into the play-offs at 9-7 in Superbowl 2007. (Sorry for mentioning that painful twist of fate that ruined a 19-0 season).
It wouldn’t shock me to see the Giants struggle through the first half of the season, only to peak at play-off time and get back to the Superbowl. Nor would it shock me to see the Patriots win 13 games this season and make it to yet another Superbowl. Nothing would be better for Patriot nation than to face the Giants again, and finally beat them when it matters most.
I’ve been harsh in my commentary of Jake Bequette, and that will continue. He did finally register a stat last night. He made a tackle! I will say that when he moved to the left side of the line, he was disruptive on a number of plays. Otherwise, he has been completely invisible the entire pre-season is did not earn a spot on this team.
The back-up offensive line that started the game, which included Sviteck & Kline on the left side, and Connolly and Cannon on the right side, did a great job against a tough and aggressive Giants defensive line. Sviteck played very well at left tackle, which is comforting. As outstanding as Nate Solder is, I was concerned the team didn’t have an adequate back up for him to at least give him a rest at times. Sviteck isn’t anywhere near as dominant as Solder, but he can play on the left side.
Tebow displayed once again that as erratic as he is, he is a leader and a winner. He could definitely win a lot of games in this league if a team were willing to commit to Tebow football. That said, he won’t make the team. Mallett looks great. Although he struggles with the short touch throws, if he were pressed into action, he would mature into a very good quarterback. He could start now for many teams in the league and be a big upgrade. The Patriots can’t carry three quarterbacks.
If I were Tom Coughlin, I’d be thinking of calling Bill Belichick to make a trade for Brandon Bolden. The Giants have great depth on the defensive line, and it seems to me a win-win deal could be worked out there.