X's and O's: Patriots vs. Giants

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The Patriots are heading into their week six matchup against the Giants. The Giants have finally moved out of the Eli Manning Era and Daniel Jones has taken over as quarterback. The Giants are a young and injured team, there's no doubt about that. The Giants have a rookie quarterback, an injured running back, Saquon Barkley, an injured Sterling Shepard, and an injured Evan Ingram, who is their starting tightend. With that in consideration and the fact that its a Thursday night game, the Pats should be fine tonight.

The Giants defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, runs a 3-4 scheme. Which means there will be three down linemen, while there are four linebackers. This allows for linebackers to be able to blitz and drop into cover as well. The Giants run a few different looks in the secondary. There run a Cover-0, a cover-1 and a cover-2. All will be pictured below.

If the Giants run a cover-0 scheme, this means that the Giants secondary will be in a man coverage across the field. This allows for the Giants to have a big pass rush. They could rush six or more players in this defensive set. This would be a good option for the Giants due to the recent struggles in the Patriots offensive line.

If the Patriots wanna beat the cover-0 they will have to establish a good passing game from the beginning. This will force the Giants to keep their safeties and cornerbacks back in a different coverage because they won't be able to rush all of those players. The Patriots should look too exploit matchups with their running backs on linebackers. The Patriots will also be able to take a few deep shots with their receivers because their receivers will have one-on-one matchups.

The Patriots can come out in any formation at this point. The Pats can then use motion or Brady will want to look at what the defense is giving to him to establish what formation the defense is in. Brady will analyze the safeties and cornerbacks to make a decision from there.

This look could be confusing for the average fan. There are two high saftey's, which could be perceived as a Cover-2, but is actually a cover-0 look because of the coverage assignments for the defense. Brady could motion his running back, motion his tightend, or even a guy like Edelman. From that point you could have Josh Gordon running the deep route on the far left, and have Jacobi Meyers running the slant across the middle, and have Edelman run the out route on the far right.

The Giants also come out in a Cover-1 Scheme. A cover-1 scheme is a very similar concept to the Cover-0 scheme. The only difference, in the two defenses, is in a Cover-1 the defense has a high saftey, and he drops back into the middle of the field, while the rest of the secondary plays man to man coverage.

In this coverage the Patriots could run a play designed to attack outside of the hash marks or attack the very middle of the defense with crossing routes. The Pats could us a play like the one below and try to get a legal pick play out of the two routes on the right side of the field.

The last option is a Cover-2 Scheme. A cover-2 scheme is where the two deep safties drop back and split the field in half. In a cover two you can have a cover-2 with man and cover-2 with a zone look as well. First we will look at cover-2 man. A cover two man will give the Giants two deep safeties and man coverage with their cornerbacks.

This type of look will allow the Pats to attack the field deep. A football field is divided into three "deep thirds" and a cover two has two safeties cover the three sections. Theoretically, there will always be an "open" third. The running back on the wheel route is a really nice option for this look. Both safeties will cover the deep receivers and the running back will likely be open when he cuts upfield. He will at least have a mismatch with the linebacker.

If the Giants come out in a cover-2 zone scheme, all of the secondary players and linebackers will drop back into their zone. The cornerbacks will likely be in a press coverage and will be using a "bump and run" technique. This defensive scheme will allow the Pats to run the ball effectively.

The Patriots will want to use motion in this set as well. It will allow Brady another chance to analyze the defense. As far as routes go, wheel routes are perfect for this coverage, a "mesh" concept will work or a smash concept will work too.

The Giants defense has been really bad this year. They are ranked 30th in the league in yards allowed and turnovers. They have allowed 409.4 yards per game and other teams have had five more turnovers than them in the prior games.

The Patriots should win tonight. Although the Pats scored 33 points last game, they looked bad on their offensive line play. I think the Pats beat this banged up and young Giants team. The final score will be 34-10. Edelman will have two touchdowns, Brandon Bolden will have a TD, and Sony Michele will have one. That leaves us with 28 points. I have been incredibly inaccurate with Josh Gordon this year, but I am still hopeful that he will have a breakout game tonight and have a touchdown with eight receptions. I also think that there will be another McCourty turnover this week.

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