New England Patriots Matchup vs New York Giants About Overcoming Injuries, Not About History

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Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots face the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon as they look to continue their undefeated 2015 season. While the local talking heads cannot stop talking about 2011 and 2007, there is little chance that the Patriots players themselves are too concerned about “avenging” past Super Bowl losses. Probably because most of the players were not even on the team four years ago.

The only Patriots left from 2007 team are quarterback Tom Brady and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The Patriots playing on Sunday who are from 2011 also include seldom-used linebacker Jerod Mayo, safety Patrick Chung, special teams captain Matthew Slater, wide receiver Julian Edelman (playing slot cornerback in the 2011 playoffs), defensive end Rob Ninkovich, safety Devin McCourty, and tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Chung has left and come back since 2011, and tackle Sebastian Vollmer is out with a concussion and backup tackle Marcus Cannon are out with a toe injury. Nate Solder started at left tackle in the 2011 Super Bowl but he is on injured reserve as well. The Giants have even fewer players left from 2011 with quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul the only starters remaining.

This game is not going to be decided by the historians. Two or three games played over the last eight years is hardly a sample size that provides any kind of significant analysis. While it is great for ESPN and the NFL Network to re-air the past Giants-Patriots Super Bowls for ratings and for the Giants fans who are suffering through a third straight season inconsistent and maddening play on both sides of the ball to relive their greatest wins, it is an insignificant footnote on Sunday.

Must-read: 8 reasons why you should be excited for Pats-Giants

What happened on February 5, 2012 or February 3, 2008 will mean nothing when the players line up across from each other on the field. Do the Giants feel a pinch of confidence knowing their coach and quarterback beat the Patriots in the past? Sure, but the Giants have won against Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia and New Orleans in the past and they still lost to them this season.

What is the biggest storyline going into the game is the injury situation. Who plays and who does not play is a big part of the game planning and will impact the game for both teams. Let’s dig a little deeper into the injury situation for both the New England Patriots and New York Giants heading into the Sunday afternoon matchup.