The time is finally here, the Giants are about to play the Patriots in a big week 10 game. To get us the inside scoop on the Patriots we asked the editor of MusketFire.com Connor Fulton some questions. He gave in depth answers about the Patriots and about the game ahead of us. Here is the Q&A
1. The Patriots are undefeated. Are they vulnerable though? What are the Patriots exploitable weaknesses?
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While the Patriots are 8-0, they are certainly not without fault. The injury-riddled offensive line has lost left tackle Nate Solder for the season; Sebastian Vollmer is dealing with a concussion and Marcus Cannon has nagging toe injury. The Giants could make this game very interesting if their pass rush gets going against the Pats’ undermanned group up front. In addition, the No. 2 cornerback spot that is currently being split between Logan Ryan and Justin Coleman is an area of weakness, as neither Ryan nor Coleman excel in single coverage against good wideouts.
2. Is Tom Brady having the best season of his career, and has he eclipsed his childhood hero, Joe Montana as the greatest QB of all time?
Statistically, Brady is having the second-best season of his career only behind 2007; he’s on-pace to throw slightly fewer touchdowns and complete less passes than he did that season. But that’s splitting hairs; yes, Brady is having an outstanding season, and in eight weeks we’ll know for sure if it’s the best year of his illustrious career. I think Brady surpassed Montana when Malcolm Butler stepped in front of that slant route in Super Bowl XLIX, and anything he does on top of that only adds to his legacy. Right now, it looks like Brady will be a top-five quarterback for the next three, four, maybe even five seasons.
3. What are the most favorable matchups for the Giants against the Patriots?
As they always do, the Patriots will focus on eliminating the opponent’s best weapon. In this case, that is Odell Beckham Jr., and I expect Malcolm Butler to receive safety help from Devin McCourty in that matchup, which could free-up Rueben Randle. As I mentioned earlier, Logan Ryan and Justin Coleman are exploitable in one-on-one matchups, so look for Randle to receive plenty of targets and have a nice day on the stat sheet. In addition, a hungry Jason Pierre-Paul poses problems rushing against the Patriots’ thin group of offensive tackles. Tom Brady could find himself pretty bruised after this game.
4. Is there a revenge factor at play for the Patriots because if the two Super Bowl meetings?
To some degree. Considering that this is likely the last time that Brady will face the Giants (unless he’s still in the league in 2019 or these teams meet in another Super Bowl before he retires), Brady certainly wants to notch a win on the team that has deprived him of two additional rings. However, the Patriots are so concerned with the present situation that they aren’t going to think about the past too much. Those games are over and done and the confetti has been swept up. Bill Belichick and the Patriots know that it’s unhealthy to fret about 2007 and 2011.
5. What is the one thing people who aren’t Patriots fans don’t know about the Patriots?
The Patriots recognize “practice players of the week” every week. The honor is usually given to non-starters who perform at a high level on the scout team all week, giving the starters tough competition. The following week, those players wear black practice jerseys as a reward for their efforts, standing out from the rest of the pack of practice players. For their hard work leading up to the Redskins game last week, Malcom Brown, Bryan Stork, Chris Harper, Asante Cleveland, Tavon Wilson, Rashaan Melvin and Justin Coleman wore black jerseys in practice ahead of Sunday’s game in New Jersey.
6. On a scale of 1-10 how tired did you get of the deflate-gate controversy? Are the Patriots cheaters?
Ah, the Deflategate question, of course! To answer the first part of the question, 10, simply because the conversation infringed on actual football matters. It was a product of a mainstream sports media eager to drive pageviews with low-hanging fruit content, which was both entertaining but also frustrating as real football approached. As for the second part of the question, the Patriots are a football team in the NFL. Naturally, they have engaged in rule-bending monkey business, but then again, so has every other team in the NFL. The only difference is they win all the time. No, the Patriots aren’t a cheating-driven organization from the top-down.
7. How do you see this game going?
I have a ton of respect for the Giants, especially their secondary. I think this will be a close game in the first half with the Giants pressuring Brady and forcing him into a bad decision. However, the halftime break will re-align the Pats, and they will turn on the heat in the third quarter. My final score prediction is Patriots 34, Giants 16. Thanks for having me on the site, Chris. You guys do great work here at GMen HQ.
Thanks Connor! You guys are tremendous as well.