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Giants Kickoff: Three things to watch for in Week 12

This season feels like it has flown by in the blink of an eye. I can't believe it's week 12 already. What a season it's been though, am I right? Anyway, the Giants host the Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. They're back home after a solid win in Washington last week. The Patriots are favored by three and a half points and kickoff is slated for 1pm EST.


Tommy DeVito is rookie of the week


DeVito was sharp in last week's game in Washington and helped lead the Giants to a win. He put up a phenomenal statline:

  • 18 completions on 26 attempts good for a 69.2% completion rate

  • 246 yards passing

  • Three passing touchdowns

  • 137.7 passer rating

  • On third down, he completed 7 of 8 passes for 113 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a perfect passer rating of 158.3

That performance led to the pride of New Jersey being awarded rookie of the week honors.

He did all of this while being sacked nine times throughout the game. That can be discouraging for a young quarterback, but he showed poise and overcame that obstacle.


I really like the way in which he is starting to adjust to the flow of the game. He seems to be much more comfortable in the pocket and does not hesitate when he needs to use his legs to escape. The Commanders are a formidable foe on the defensive side of the ball, so for him to go out there and throw the ball like that in just his second full start is promising.


This week the Giants host New England and a defense that has been middle of the pack in defending the pass this season (18th in the league while giving up 228.8 per game). They have trouble getting to the quarterback too, having generated 18 sacks on opposing quarterbacks this year which ranks them 30th in the league. DeVito should have plenty of time to throw this week and we could be in store for another solid performance against a New England team that is limping into this one coming out of their bye.


The Giants defense is the truth


The stats don't back up that tagline, but the intangibles do. The Giants defense has had its share of ups and downs this season. They have been owned by the Cowboys twice, allowing Dak and Co. to put up 89 points in those two games. However, there have been really good games against the Bills and Commanders where they allowed 14 and 7 points, respectfully. Last week's win was another promising performance for a defense still finding it's way.


I have been preaching this in most of my write-ups so far, but the Giants defense is picking up steam at the right time. They have a bunch of dogs on that side of the football, and although young in the secondary, compete their hearts out every week. They forced five (5!) Washington turnovers last week and complimented that with four sacks. Kayvon Thibodeaux had another outing to remember as he tallied two sacks, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a pass breakup. The offensive woes took a back seat in last week's win, as the Giants put up 24 points and hit the 30 point mark for the first time since week 2. If the offense can be somewhat competent throughout the rest of the season, we may really see the defense become the spark of this team.

They have a very favorable matchup against a Patriots team that has underperformed this year and will be looking for their quarterback of the future in the 2024 NFL draft. It honestly doesn't matter who the Patriots put out there at quarterback on Sunday, whether that is Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, or Will Grier, the Giants should be able to make whoever is back there miserable. The biggest worry for me is containing Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott on the ground as the Giants have not been great against the run (135.1 yards per game good for 28th in the league). But if the Giants are able to pressure the quarterback, mistakes will ensue. Winning the turnover battle is yet again another key for this defense.


The battle for a top-5 draft pick


The Giants are 3-8. The Patriots are 2-8. There is no ignoring that each team has had a disaster of a season and are already looking to 2024. On the Giants side, GM Joe Schoen and his team have been spotted scouting quarterbacks such as Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Michael Penix Jr. There is reason to believe that if in a position to draft Williams or Maye, the Giants will pull the trigger.


The Patriots have a quarterback problem of their own as former first rounder Mac Jones is not their guy of the future. Bill Belichick's days may also be numbered as he mulls the idea of retirement. All in all, the Pats will be looking to reset in 2024 after missing the playoffs in the past three of four seasons. This preceding 11 straight playoff appearances when Tom Brady was still around.


The current draft order as it stands has the Patriots picking third and the Giants picking fifth. This would put the Patriots in a prime position to draft a quarterback and the Giants on the outside looking in on those sweepstakes.


Final Thoughts


Both teams are in the dumpster of their respective divisions and this week's matchup is one that does not have any playoff implications. The last time these two played was in 2019 in Foxborough and both Eli Manning and Tom Brady were still on their respective squads.


The Giants have a real chance to pull out a win here, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to see a win. All Giants fans should root for wins, and although they are vying for a top draft pick, there is plenty of trust in Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll to lead this team in the right direction. In my opinion, they have the pieces to build a championship caliber team, they just need a little extra help at quarterback and on the offensive line.


Shake off those post-Thanksgiving woes and let's go Giants.


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