In this edition of ‘Chuck’s Corner’, site expert Charles ‘Chuck’ Vitolo gives you his week six New York Giants prediction.
I’d love to sit here and give you all a breakdown (and believe it) on how I feel like our beloved New York Giants can put together a gameplan, execute it, and figure out a way to stick with this New England team — I just don’t see it. Just about every aspect of this game is leaning in the favor of the Patriots, as the Big Blue offense is going to be hard-pressed to get any points on the board whatsoever.
As most of you know by now, the Giants are without Saquon Barkley (ankle), Wayne Gallman (concussion), Sterling Shepard (concussion) and Evan Engram (knee). Head coach Pat Shurmur is going to have to dig extremely deep to scrape together a winning gameplan, if there even is a possible one.
This would seem to be the right time for Shurmur to go back to his favorite personnel grouping, which is ’12 personnel’ – an offense that features two tight ends on the field. With two undrafted runningbacks leading the way for the Giants, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for Big Blue to put together any semblance of a running game against this vaunted Patriots defense.
I don’t think anyone is expecting too much out of Daniel Jones tonight — they shouldn’t be, anyway. There’s a chance this could be the worst game we see out of ‘Danny Dimes’ for a long time, as Gillette Stadium is a place that rookie quarterbacks typically go to die – and that’s when they have their teams at full strength.
The Patriots defense comes into this contest having somehow only allowed two-total touchdowns through five games. In addition, they are on an NFL record pace for third-down defense, having allowed a staggeringly-low 13% conversion rate. It’s a mystery as to how Shurmur will look to attack this unit that appears to have almost no weaknesses.
Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned Tom Brady yet. Expect the Giant defense to continue to struggle, although I feel like they’ll find a way to hold the Pats to under/right around 30 points tonight. The logic behind that is that the Patriots will likely jump out to a big lead, and that the weather reports are calling for a potential nor’easter.
The Giants are likely hoping for the weather to get as messy as possible, as even though they don’t feature any talent at runningback, that’s the best chance for this game to become more of a toss-up.
It’s tough to think of a potential X-Factor due to how outmatched Big Blue is just about everywhere, but I’m (stupidly) going to go with someone that’s already burned me as an X-Factor prediction before — tight end Rhett Ellison. As previously mentioned, I believe the best way for the Giants to remain competitive is to feature a more traditional NFL offense, getting away from three wide-receiver sets.
Rhett Ellison is the highest-paid backup tight end in all of football, and while he’s done a decent job as a blocker during his time as a Giant, it’s time for him to really step up and make some plays. He has shown the ability to be a legit piece in the passing game, and this is a huge opportunity to make his mark with Evan Engram sidelined with a knee injury.
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If the ‘X-Factor’ does not turn out to be Ellison, watch out for one of the other Giant tight ends to vie for the “honor”. Rookie Kaden Smith (picked up off waivers from the 49ers) is a name to watch, as the former Stanford Cardinal has impressed in practice on both teams he’s been on. Garrett Dickerson has also been waiting for a chance to unleash, as he’s now in his second season with Big Blue without ever breaking out. Expect one of them to get on the board with a couple catches tonight – both are solid athletes, and could end up rumbling into the end zone as well.
If you somehow couldn’t tell where I’m going with this prediction, I feel (like everyone else) that it’s going to be all Patriots tonight. Everywhere you look, Big Blue is over-matched – and by a wide margin. The only real chance the Giants have is if the weather turns out to be even worse than predicted, and one of the undrafted runningbacks goes off in their chance in the spotlight.
It’s going to take ball control and converting on third down for the Giants to even remotely stay in this game, two things this team has not done well, and two things the Patriots thrive on. The line for this game is 16.5, and I think it’s even a little too low, to be honest.
I’m going with 31-10 Patriots, as much as it pains me to say. You just know Belichick still has it in for Big Blue after the two Super Bowls, and I don’t expect him to let us off the hook easy tonight.
YTD predictions straight up: 4-1
YTD ATS: 2-3