Scott Shapiro's Thursday Night Football preview: Giants-Patriots

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October 9th, 2019

After strong performances against the number in Week 3 and Week 4, I came back to earth a bit with a 3-4 Week 5 that included a terrible best bet. Hopefully moving forward my top selection on the slate will avoid mistakes and tackle better than Dallas did in its home game against Green Bay.

New York Giants at New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX

New York Giants
Over 42
New England Patriots
Under 42

Football fans were fortunate enough to get a pair of evenly matched games the last couple Thursday nights, but that is not the case in Week 5, when the undefeated Patriots host the banged-up New York Giants. The defending champs are more than a two-touchdown favorite for the third time this season.

The Giants brought first-round pick Daniel Jones in to take over quarterback duties in Week 3 at Tampa, and he came through to bring his team back from a 28-10 halftime deficit and defeat the Buccaneers. Week 4 wasn't pretty at home against an awful Redskins team, but New York won easily nonetheless.

But in his first matchup versus an above average pass defense last week, Jones struggled to put points on the board in an 18-point home loss to the Vikings. Now the rookie signal caller will now head to Foxborough to take on one of the league’s best defenses.

The Patriots pass defense has been dominant through the first five weeksso much so that it has not given up a touchdown pass. Sterling Shepard will miss Thursday night’s game with a concussion and tight end Evan Engram is questionable with a sprained MCL, so it is hard to imagine the Giants doing much through the air Thursday.

Normally the Giants would try to control the clock with their rushing game, but with running back Saquon Barkley likely to miss another game with an ankle injury and backup Wayne Gallman set to be on the sideline as well with a concussion, it is unlikely that New York will have success on the ground, either. Barring a miracle the Giants offense is in for an extremely long night in Massachusetts.

The Giants cannot use injuries as an excuse on defense. They simply lack talent. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s unit ranks 30th in team defense (409.4 yards per game). The Giants have been subpar against the run (4.4 yards per carry) and have been shredded through the air against quality passing attacks. If you omit the Week 4 battle against lowly Washington, the numbers would look a lot worse.

Tom Brady has done what he has needed to over the first five games of the season, but he has been far from his best. However, he and the Patriots passing game are in a great spot at home Thursday. I expect Brady to be productive early and for him to get the ball to top playmaker Josh Gordon down the field. Gordon has yet to put together a 100-yard game in 2019 and has not caught a touchdown since Week 1 against the Steelers. That is likely to change in Week 6.

I hate laying this many points in an NFL game, but this is a total mismatch, given the Giants injuries on offense and lack of talent on defense. If the Patriots bring even their “B” game they win this one for fun.

Pick: New England -16

Scott Shapiro’s 2019 NFL record ATS on BetAmerica heading into Week 5: 22-15 (3-4 last week)

You can hear more of Scott’s NFL thoughts on the “Who Do Ya Like Podcast,” which goes up every Thursday afternoon. You can find it on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.