Giants fans would love nothing better than to ruin the Patriots’ shot at a perfect season on Thursday Night Football. Unfortunately, Daniel Jones and company don’t have the roster talent to really challenge Bill Belichick’s juggernaut. It will take a special set of circumstances for New York to keep this game close.
Oddsmakers are keenly aware of this reality. There are a multitude of reasons why New England find themselves as 16.5-point favorites heading into the game. Before you decide whether or not to lay the points and trust the Giants to cover, you need to thoroughly examine our Statschecker site for the game. In this piece, I’ll give you five intriguing facts for the match-up that can be found there. We’ll start with a key trend about how the Patriots like to start their home games.
- New England is great at home in the first quarter
Belichick is one of the best coaches in NFL history. As such, it should not surprise you to learn that his opening game scripts turn out really well for the Patriots. In fact, New England has one the first quarter in each of their last 12 games in Foxborough.
That places huge pressure on the Giants to withstand the first punch from the Patriots. It’s hard to imagine the New York defense holding up their end of the bargain. That means the Giants offense must move the ball early to avoid being blown out in quarter number one.
- Saquon Barkley would be huge for the Giants
Barkley has scored a touchdown in four of his last five games against AFC opponents. There’s no doubt he’s one of the most dynamic running backs in football. If he were able to play against New England, it would give his team a gigantic physical and emotional lift.
Unfortunately, it’s very unlikely he’s going to see the field on Thursday night. Pat Shurmur hasn’t ruled him out entirely, but he deemed the chances of Barkley playing as “very unlikely” earlier in the week. You should wager on this game as if Barkley will spend the full 60 minutes on the sideline.
- This game will not be a shootout
Both of these teams have trended solidly towards the under on the young season. The Giants have hit the under in three of their five games. The Patriots are even stronger. New England is 1-4 against the over on the young season.
The real danger here is that the Patriots will jump out to a big lead and put this game on cruise control. They have all the offensive firepower necessary to light up the Giants secondary, but Belichick is going to keep his game plan vanilla. Do not get caught up in the idea that Tom Brady is going to show the full range of his talents in this game.
- New England’s defense is scary
Halloween isn’t quite here yet, but the Patriots defense is already horrifying their NFL opponents. They’ve only allowed 6.8 points per game heading into their match-up on Thursday night. It’s true they’ve beaten up on some weak offenses, but that’s still a staggering number to comprehend.
Projecting an inexperienced quarterback like Daniel Jones to solve the riddle that is Belichick’s defense would require a massive leap of faith. Such leaps tend to have negative impacts on your bank account. Expect the rookie to look dazed and confused for long stretches.
- The Patriots are sneaky good against the spread
New England hasn’t played a challenging schedule of opponents this season, but they are a respectable 3-2 against the spread. The takeaway here is that the Patriots haven’t been put off by the prospect of covering large.
Keep it simple. Back the Patriots
I’d love to tell you to throw caution into the wind and buy into the potential fairy tale of a Giants upset here. It’s just not going to happen in Foxborough. Belichick’s teams are too well prepared to lay an egg on the national stage.
As such, the only real question is whether or not you are comfortable laying the points required to back the Patriots. I lean solidly towards giving up the 16.5 points and letting the chips fall where they may. If you’re a little skittish, push it down to 13.5 and accept the smaller payout. Either way, New England is the right bet on Thursday night.