That was then...
I got news for ya...
Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Michael Strahan
aren't walking through that door!
NEW YORK GIANTS: This game is largely a referendum on Big Blue general manager Jerry Reese. Everyone finds out where Big Blue really stands Sunday afternoon.
For a few years previous to 2014, I started reading and hearing varying accounts to the effect how Bill Belichick should have replaced himself as GM in New England.
So ponderous were they, I nearly died laughing!
Therefore, let's talk truth, right here, right now.
Very simply, Robert Kraft hired Bill Belichick not only to be his head coach, but to become the Patriots' entire front office. Since then, the New England Patriots have posted exactly one losing season (their initial one together back in 2000).
Moreover, the Patriots have only missed the playoffs twice in the first 15 years under Belichick.
In 2007, his team posted the first undefeated regular season of the 16-game schedule era. They've played in six Super Bowls, won four of them, and are obviously this year's defending champion (exactly 15 years after Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady won their first together).
As we know, Belichick and Tom Coughlin both served together under Bill Parcells. Four years after Bill Belichick's career ended with the Giants, Jerry Reese's started. Ironically, the Patriots only two Super Bowl defeats during the Belichick era came at the hands of Jerry Reese, Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, and the New York Giants.
Jerry Reese indeed owns two Lombardi trophies, both at Belichick's expense. Yet, each has their respective organization headed in opposite directions since the day they last met for a championship.
- With regards to personnel, Jerry Reese has failed to sustain what Ernie Accorsi started. His overall draft results have been pedestrian at best - his salary cap management, even worse.
- Whereas defense and the running game were once the Giants primary strengths, they are now the Giants primary weaknesses.
- The Giants literally haven't fielded an impact linebacker in decades. They have six guys that between them can not generate a single sack, and a secondary as fragile and shallow as Donald Trump's ego.
- Tom Coughlin is first and foremost a pass oriented coach. Kevin Gilbride loved going long, but always tried maintaining some sort of balance between pass and run. Under Ben McAdoo, the passing game has gone from long to short, which has statistically improved Eli Manning's efficiency. The run, however, has become a mere afterthought. They have four running backs whom they all use extremely ineffectively, and disturbingly infrequently.
Giants fans should be very clear about a few things regarding this team, and those Super Bowl teams.
First, both Super Bowl winners rushed the ball extremely well with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw behind an exceptional offensive line.
Second, and more importantly, two huge reasons why the Giants twice beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, (IMO), were Aaron Ross and Corey Webster. They were shutdown corners for Steve Spagnuolo during the SB XLII run. Then, many times during their XLVI season, former defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's system resulted in the secondary looking like Keystone Cops. It wasn't until Fewell relented late in 2011 at the behest of his secondary, that Aaron Ross and Corey Webster were able to get back into man-coverage. Once Fewell simplified his (stupid) plan, the pass rush helped the 9-7 Giants bull their way to another championship.
These guys couldn't bull there way through my tomato garden.
Old Rivals Meet Again
New England Patriots
New York Giants
I expect Tom Brady to relentlessly, and mercilessly attack the Giants linebackers all day long with crisscross patterns, wide receiver screens, and slant patterns.
Meanwhile, I expect Gronk to do anything he damn well pleases. The Giants will be damned if they double or even triple cover him, and damned if they don't. That said, Bill Belichick could just as easily have him line up, and help tenderize the Giants front seven with a strong running game - because they can - and Belichick would do it just to prove a point.
In any event, I expect the Patriots to dominate time of possession, and put up lots and lots of points.
In truth, I expect the Giants to play their worst game of the season.