Riding high off their stellar victory in Washington on Sunday, the New York Giants are bringing some much-needed confidence back to East Rutherford after wrapping up their arduous three-game road trip with a defensive masterclass of the Commanders.
Yet, as they prepare to host their first home game in nearly a month, there will not be as much belief in them from an early betting perspective. Per FanDuel, the Giants will open the week as a 3.5-point underdog against the visiting New England Patriots for the team’s ninth straight game and fourth consecutive homestand in that position.
Playing in an environment and against a division rival whose number they’ve had in recent years, the Giants put together one of their strongest team outings as a double-digit underdog facing the Commanders. Quarterback Tommy DeVito got his second straight start of the year and finally showed off his arm to the tune of 246 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Along with help from Saquon Barkley and Darius Slayton, DeVito and the Giants were greatly boosted by another dominating performance by the defense. Still, with all that left out on the field, the oddsmakers probably want to see the Giants do it again before they sniff a favorite status down the remaining stretch of the season.
New York has a good chance to do so against a Patriots team having one of their worst years in recent memory and is also in the thick of the top-5 draft pick race.
On the offensive end, the Patriots have an operation that produces nearly at the same rate as the Giants. Per Pro Football Reference, New England averages 14.1 points per game, which is good for 31st in the NFL. They have scored 20 or more points just twice this season and haven’t touched that mark in six of their last seven contests.
The Patriots' offense has spiraled in the passing game amid lackluster play by quarterback Mac Jones. Behind the beleaguered gunslinger, New England has failed to surpass 200 passing yards in four of their last six matchups and holds the 29th-worst turnover rate in the league. Scoring six in the red zone is also an issue with the 23rd-worst unit in touchdowns, albeit the team stands near the median in overall red zone percentage.
While the Giants have Saquon Barkley to offer production in the run game, the Patriots haven’t discovered their workhorse among a committee of running backs. Rhamondre Stephenson tends to be the lead guy for Bill O’Brien’s backfield, which has struggled to gain every inch, posting 24th or worst rankings in every major rushing category.
Like New York, the one element that can keep the Patriots within a game is their aggressive defense. New England doesn’t force many turnovers, with just ten on the season, but they sit at 13th in first downs allowed, 10th in passing touchdowns allowed, and top-10 in both rushing yards and average rush allowed at 3.4 yards.
Their weakness does come as the game gets closer and crosses over the 20-yard line. The Patriots allow the seventh-highest opponent red zone scoring percentage (45.5%) and the 13th-highest average points allowed per drive. Converting third and fourth downs also comes abundantly, with the 19th and 27th worst standings through 10 games.
This game will likely be a defensive stalemate between two franchises with storied histories yet underwhelming offenses this season. On the other hand, the Giants may carry over their 31-point performance in Washington to throttle the Patriots to a second win.
Don’t be surprised if the Giants make Vegas pay for this opening line on Sunday. If they do a second time around, they may get some respect for a home game later down the stretch.
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