FOXBORO -- If you dig in to the Giants' 5-2 record, you'll find Eli Manning has a lot to do with the success. The quarterback is having one of the best seasons of his career, sitting behind just Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady on the league's list with a 102.1 rating.
Good for Eli.
Going into Sunday's game, Brady's still plenty worried about New York's defense, no matter how inconsistent it's been.
"They get pressure probably better than anybody in the league. They lead the league in sacks," he said Wednesday. "Damn near every guy on that D-line can rush the quarterback. Jason Pierre-Paul's got eight sacks 8.5, Osi Umenyiora's got six, Justin Tuck hasn't been in there a whole lot this year but he's still getting them. They've got a whole group of pass rushers.
"We've got to be able to be balanced. We've go to be able to go out and certainly execute better than we did last week."
New England scored just 17 points in Week 8's loss to Pittsburgh. Brady had two touchdowns but struggled to get the offense into a rhythm. His 198-yards are a season low. The Patriots got the ball nine times and scored on three drives. Brady was sacked three times.
But is he really jumping from nightmare to nightmare? The Giants have suffered a host of defensive injuries this season: Tuck's playing time has been limited by a neck issue; Umenyiora had arthroscopic knee surgery after the Redskins game; they lost cornerbacks Terrell Thomas to a season-ending torn knee ligament and rookie Prince Amukamara to a broken foot.
The personnel hits have landed Tom Coughlin's club in the middle of the pack on total defense (355.3 average yards surrendered).
Pittsburgh boasted the NFL's best pass-D; New York ranks 13th. And the Giants give up 130.1 yards per game on the rush. Surely, the Patriots will have an easier time moving down the field this week.
Not necessarily, says Brady. The pass rush is solid; he's worried about that front seven no matter who's in it.
"They have a whole group of D-linemen that rush, so, if Tuck's not in there -- he was only in there for about half the game last week -- they put other guys in there and they get after the quarterback, too. They can rush Tuck, Osi, and JPP, and Dave Tollefson."
"They've got a whole group and they've had that there for quite a while now. So when you play them, you've got to understand that you're not going to have all to throw. You can't drop back and stand in the pocket. You've got to find someone and get rid of the ball."
The troubled Patriots defense will have its hands full with Manning this weekend. Consequently, more pressure falls on the offense to extend drives and pile up points. That won't happen unless guys get open.
And it won't happen if, as Brady warns, he ends up on the ground.