3)Tight end control-I know, sounds like a commercial for daytime television…The Patriots tight ends are potent in addition to acting as a security blanket for Brady. Aaron Hernandez or the colorful and talented Rob Gronkowski may be the best tandem in football and present
real challenges for the Giants. Time for Jacquian Williams to get back on the field in a substantive role. Williams has the speed and strength to man up with either tight end and I would hope the Giants employ this match-up. Patriots receivers, although talented (and Wes Welker is a monster) do not really keep you up at night to the same degree as do their tight ends. J.Williams has shown glimpses of play making ability. This may be the ideal game for him to realize some more of that potential.
4) No Hakeem Nicks-Injuries are part and parcel to the NFL and the real contenders overcome. Losing Nicks is no small loss but the Giants are not without some depth. The recent emergence of Mario Manningham coupled with the always exciting play of Victor Cruz takes some of the sting out of losing Nicks. The long awaited return of 6’6” Ramses Barden adds an element of anticipation. Just as Da’Rel Scott may punctuate his place on the team with an increased work
load, could Barden reveal the talent the Giants saw in him when drafting him in the 3rd round in 2009 out of Brainiac U (Cal Tech)? Memo to Ramses: Put the Plaxico Burris winning touchdown catch versus the Patriots in the Super Bowl on a loop and watch it up to game time. Memo to Coughlin: Play Barden, stay away from Michael Clayton and should Barden struggle look at Devin Thomas to help out.
5) Come out fast and furious- The Giants have been sleepwalking through the first part of games, often putting themselves in the hole. To actually beat the Patriots at home, the Giants must come out with an intensity they have not often shown until the latter parts of the game. Punching them in the mouth early, hard, and often may keep the somewhat shell-shocked New England squad a little off-balance and prevent them from gaining any belief they can win. Tom Coughlin, be bold- a no-huddle, vertical offense will go far in getting the Patriots on their heels. Of course, the ever programmatic Coughlin will probably not opt to go that way in the early part of the game but it would be fun to watch. Defensively, the Giants must get off the field, not an easy task with Tom Brady orchestrating the offense. Should the Giants replicate their defense from the fourth quarter last week against the Miami Dolphins in the first quarter against New England at Gillette, it will go a long way in deciding who goes to 6-2 and who will be left answering awkward questions for the media.