Giants fans are a day away from learning a lot more about their team. This game tomorrow is indeed the first test of the “regular” season.
There are some interesting elements to this game tomorrow. Brady and Belichick are always a test. But the Patriots defense is the opening that the Giants MUST bust through. We really are going to learn so much more about Fewell and Gilbride tomorrow. If those guys attack on both sides of the ball, the Giants WILL WIN, regardless of whether Nicks plays or not.
These intangibles for this matchup where the Giants are +9 dogs illustrate how these games are never played on paper. An interesting “paper” exercise done by Massey and Peabody at the Wall Street Journal quantitatively assigned point values for each NFL team. If the link to these power ratings does not work, just google them and you’ll get let in that way. Subtracting them and adding 2.4 points for the home team determined the winner. The result is that (before last week) it forecast wins vs Miami, Philadelphia and Washington, and it forecast losses vs New England, San Francisco, New Orleans, Green Bay, Dallas and Dallas. 2-7 in the last 9 games. How many of you are ready for that? Even with my feet on the ground, as objective as possible, that is a bitter pill to swallow. Certainly after the drubbing Dallas received at the hands of Philly last Sunday, it is harder to see the win vs PHL and 2 losses to Dallas, but that is what it predicts using purely quantitative measures.
So we are really eager to see which Giants team shows up on Sunday afternoon. The one that was all business vs the Eagles, or the one that played footsie with the Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks and Dolphins. Will the Patriots defense get exploited by Eli? Will Gilbride spread it out and attack the vulnerable back 7? Will Fewell go passive vs Brady and get eaten alive, or will he attack him and not be a afraid of getting beat deep once in a while (losing the battle, winning the war)? We respect the Patriots. But we also respect the Giants players. We have serious reservations about our coaching staff. We want to see them come into Foxboro, punch the bully in the face and leave with a win. Massey and Peabody say they won’t. Anyone who watched the Steelers win last week knows that the Giants players match up well and can do the same things. We are going to find out a lot about this team, and arguably even more about its coaches.