Once again, it's time for our weekly Q&A session with a blogger who covers the Patriots' upcoming opponent. Up this week is Andrew Furman from Ultimate NYG. Here's what Andrew had to say about the Giants and Pats leading up to Sunday's game.
1. What is the mindset of Giants fans right now as they head into this tough six game stretch? Do fans think they have a great chance to win the NFC East?
It is more like a rough 9 game stretch. The Giants are grateful that they are 5-2 after the first 7 games. What is not seen by the record is that the Giants could easily be 7-0 or as bad as 1-6 with just a few things going wrong. Ironically, the one game they would have won in almost all scenarios was against their toughest opponent, Philadelphia. But against the other 6 somewhat easier teams, the Giants played down to the level of their opponent and were often sloppy. Case in point, being down to AZ by 10 points with 5 mins remaining, or taking the lead for the first time vs MIA at the 55th minute. When New England fans hear that, they will salivate, thinking the Giants will be pushovers. But think again. Those wins took place when the Giants played w/o 60 minutes of focus, and we fully expect the Giants will be VERY focused for this contest.
Giants fans certainly think they have a good chance at taking the NFC East. The team controls its own destiny, ahead by 2 games and playing their rivals a few more times. Our blog has been more circumspect, wary of massive coaching underachievement in 2008, 2009 and 2010. So we have to see if the Gmen can put it together.
2. The Giants have suffered numerous injuries and now their latest casualty could be Hakeem Nicks? Do you think he plays and if he doesn't, what kind of impact does this have on Eli Manning and the vertical passing game?
Bradshaw is probably out with a broken bone in his foot. The Nicks loss would be big, because he attracts two defenders often in coverage. Why are the Patriots so freaking lucky to dodge this bullet?
3. Speaking of Mr. Elite, how has Eli Manning played in 2011 after saying in the offseason that he is an elite quarterback?
Understanding that the schedule the Giants have faced thus far has been easy, Eli has nonetheless done very well. His turnovers are way down, and that is the biggest thing. But we need to see how he does against better competition, because some of this may be inflated.
4. What is the one key for the Giants to pull a repeat upset in Foxboro this weekend?
There are two keys: 1) ON OFFENSE, Gilbride must spread the field + pass the ball and 2) ON DEFENSE, Fewell must use Man and Press Coverage. If those things happen, the Giants have a good shot. (And a very good shot, if Nicks is healthy/effective.)
5. Give us a pick. Who wins and why?
My confidence in the Giants players is higher than it is for the coaches. I think Gilbride's unit will be able to score points but what I am fearful of is the Giants defense getting ripped apart by Brady because of passive schemes. If Brady has receivers that are not met at the line of scrimmage, it will be pitch and catch. And there is zone, he is going to find the open WRs. So Fewell must be aggressive there, and to date he HAS NOT SHOWN THAT TENDENCY. So I have to respect Fewell's tendencies and call for the Giants to come up short, 33-27. Fewell- PROVE ME WRONG!