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Patriots Downplay 18-1 Season, Look to Play Perfect in Week 9

David J. Philip

Bill Belichick down plays the impact Super Bowl XLII has in this week's  Super Bowl rematch between the Giants and Patriots saying, “Whatever happened or didn’t happen, can’t change it, it’s a part of history. Right now I’m focused on getting ready for this week’s game. That’s the way it is every week: focus on the week that we’re playing, not what happened in the past.” Yeah right, that’s in the back of every one’s mind going into this game and that is why it is the game of the week! Regardless, it is still going to be a great game as the Giants and Patriots are both 5-2 on the season.

Earlier in the week Tom Brady showed some concern over the Giants pass rush saying, “They get pressure probably better than anybody in the league. They lead the league in sacks. Damn near every guy on that D-line can rush the quarterback.”  This is the Patriots biggest concern heading into week 9 as it should be but keep in mind that Eli Manning is playing the best football of his career right now with a 119 quarterback rating in the fourth quarter and that too also has to be a concern. The Patriots haven’t improved defending the pass since week 1 and are currently ranked last in the league in that category along with the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots have improved their pass rush with Albert Haynesworth back and drawing double coverage but their secondary has to start making plays again like they had earlier in the season when they were + 8 in turnover differential, they are now only + 2.

Patriots pro bowl linebacker Jerod Mayo should be on the field more this game than in week 8 to help solidify the Patriots defense. The Giants are without Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw in this game and that hurts the Giants despite the fact that Eli can move the ball up and down the field with-out them.  The Patriots rarely lose two games in a row and they have everything to play up for in this Super Bowl rematch. I like the Patriots to beat the Giants, 35-24.