W2W4: New England Patriots vs New York Giants
By Hal Bent
When the Patriots Pass the Ball:
Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Here is where everything falls apart for the New York Giants. Starting cornerback Prince Amukamara may not be ready to play after missing four games and the depth behind him is thin. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is solid on the outside but is long and does not have the short-space quickness to cover Danny Amendola or Julian Edelman. Do the Giants put their top cornerback on fourth option Brandon LaFell on Sunday?
The Giants had Jayron Hosley starting at cornerback on the other side of Rodgers-Cromartie while former Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather is a starter in New York at strong safety. If there is a bright spot in the secondary, it is free safety Landon Collins. Collins is just 21 and the second round pick out of Alabama has been one of the few bright spots on the New York defense
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Hosley and Tevin Wade are going to need to find a way to cover Edelman and Amendola if Rodgers-Cromartie stays outside on LaFell. Prince Amukamara would be a boost to the Giants’ secondary but if he plays it will be with a harness for addition support for his pectoral injury and he may be rusty. Amukamara would be a boost to the secondary but These backup cornerbacks are not very good and part of the reason why the Giants are being abused in the passing game. The Giants also like to go with three safeties in a nickel defense which brings veteran Craig Dahl onto the field.
The other strength of the secondary is creating turnovers. Whether stripping the ball from receivers after the catch or gambling for interceptions, this unit is geared towards creating turnovers and ending drives. They may give up a few big plays or long drives, but they believe they can get the ball back to the offense with a big play. Of course, Tom Brady has all of two interceptions in 8 games so the Giants have their work cut out for them picking the ball on Sunday.
The Giants pass rush has been non-existent and while Jason Pierre-Paul adds at least one pass rusher to the unit, the rest of the defensive line is not capable of attacking a depleted New England offensive line. This is not the 2007 or 2011 Giants team with a front four capable of winning individual matchups up front and creating pressure. Cullen Jenkins, Robert Ayers, Markus Kuhn, and Jay Bromley just cannot bring the pressure needed to slow the New England passing attack.
The other issue for New York is how to cover Rob Gronkowski. Landon Collins does not have the size and Brandon Meriweather on Gronkowski would be a horrible mismatch. Rodgers-Cromartie could get some snaps in coverage of Gronkowski and linebacker Jonathan Casillas is going to have to keep tabs on him as well. While all this is going on, quarterback Tom Brady will have Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, or Brandon LaFell going up against back-up quality cornerbacks.
No pass rush and a weak secondary led to Drew Brees having a game for the ages against the Giants. Getting Jason Pierre-Paul back helps a little, but the New England passing offense is superior to the Saints. Other than Matt Cassel at quarterback for the Cowboys (without Dez Bryant) and rookie Jameis Winston on a bad Tampa Bay team, the Giants have not slowed anyone down in the passing game. Now they have to try and stop Tom Brady?
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