3 Keys to a Patriots Victory in Week 6 vs. Giants
This Thursday night the 5-0 New England Patriots will play host to the 2-3 New York Giants in what is expected to be another heavily one-sided game in favor of the Patriots.
After a string of game in which New England's offense had some shaky performances, it's important that they make adjustments and improve in those areas in the coming weeks if they want to come out with wins later in the season when they play tougher teams such as the Ravens, Cowboys, Eagles and Chiefs.
Let's look at three keys for the Patriots Thursday which will lead them to their sixth win of the season.
1) Getting to Daniel Jones
This was supposed to Eli Manning’s final stop in Foxborough, but the Giants have made the change at quarterback sooner than expected. Daniel Jones is an exciting young quarterback in a league where good, young quarterbacks are hard to find. Jones won his first two starts vs the Buccaneers and Redskins but looked like a rookie last week vs. the Vikings.
Star running back Saquon Barkley is unlikely to play unless he really is superhuman and can magically heal his ankle overnight. Tight end Evan Engram and receiver Sterling Shepherd are also expected to miss the Week 6 outing with injuries, making the weapons around Jones scarce against the best defense in the NFL this week.
Usually defensive game plans on Thursday night games are very vanilla because it’s such a short week. But New England has a smart, experienced defense that can handle anything that is thrown at them. I expect the defense to feast upon the young, inexperienced rookie quarterback for the Giants.
2) Getting Josh Gordon going
It’s time to get Josh Gordon going. After a big opening night vs. the Steelers, Gordon has been relatively quiet. Other than a couple highlight-worthy plays vs. the Jets and the stiff-arm vs. the Redskins, Gordon hasn’t really done much. He has only one touchdown this season, and it came in Week 1.
We’ve talked about how thin the Patriots are at receiver and how they can’t count on Julian Edelman every week if they want him to stay healthy through January. Gordon can be a legitimate No. 1 wideout when given the opportunity, which should come sooner rather than later. I expect a big game from Gordon against the Giants, especially with Phillip Dorsett struggling with a hamstring issue.
3) Protecting Tom Brady
What was going on with the offensive tackles on Sunday?
Before the game became a blowout, it seemed like Brady was being pressured more than any other time this season. Left tackle Marshall Newhouse seemed like he missed a few assignments and let rushers go right at Brady without any resistance. Marcus Cannon wasn’t much better on the right side of the line. To help the offensive line, the offense needs to get the run game going to keep the ball out of Brady's hands, just like they did in the second half of last week's game against Washington.
The Patriots usually take care of business on Thursday Night Football because they are so well coached and are a veteran-ladened bunch, but keeping the 42 year old upright and healthy is a No. 1 priority, especially on a short week.