It’s the final preseason game of 2014. One last opportunity for players on the bubble to make some plays and impress the coaches and for some, the final time they will step on the field as part of a NFL team. The Giants and Patriots have met in this game in each of the last ten years, as Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick share a philosophy of playing it conservatively, resting starters for most of the game, and above all, keeping players healthy going into the regular season. There are still things to look for while watching the game, and here’s your Giants360 guide for what to Be On the Look Out for:
Ryan Nassib, Backup Quarterback: Nassib has taken a stranglehold on the backup quarterback job, and another strong performance in relief of Eli Manning will choke Curtis Painter out. Coughlin prefers the roster flexibility of holding two quarterbacks, and a third straight strong showing will be all he needs to see to send Painter home on Saturday. Nassib has looked good in practice all week, and it should carry through to the game.
The Last of JPP, Tight End Version: Adrien Robinson flashed ability for three seasons, but hasn’t been able to put it all together on the field. Tonight’s game represents the end of the road for Robinson, who will likely be cut before opening day. Unable to stay healthy in his first two seasons, Robinson will be remembered as another Jerry Reese reach who never lived up to his billing.
The Week One Offensive Line Rides: Coughlin seems to have settled on a starting line of Will Beatty, Weston Richburg, J.D. Walton, John Jerry, and Justin Pugh as the one that will open the season. Geoff Schwartz will return to the lineup at either left or right guard when he is healthy, but Brandon Mosley’s return when his back gets better will depend on how Richburg and Jerry perform. While most starters will play part or all of the first quarter, the line will likely play until halftime to give them time on the field together against a live opponent.
Make Them Throw it to Manningham: That Belichick quote, captured for eternity by NFL Films during Super Bowl 46, was followed by the highlight catch of that Super Bowl, and possibly Manningham’s career. His return to the Giants ends tonight as he will be beaten out for a roster spot by training camp darling Corey Washington, 2013 holdover Jerrell Jernigan, and returner Preston Parker. Manningham may catch on with a receiver needy team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns, or even the Patriots, after week 1 when veteran player salaries are no longer guaranteed, but his days in Giants blue are over.
Josh Brown, A Man Alone: Brown is the only kicker on Giants roster after he beat out challenger Brandon McManus, who was shipped west to Denver for a conditional seventh round draft pick. How will Brown repay Coughlin’s confidence? With continued success or a let down? The competition brought out his best, will winning it bring out his worst?
A Giant Ride Along: Coverage of the game will be live tweeted from the press box at Metlife stadium. Starting at approximately 4:30 PM, when Giants360 picks up a media pass for the first time, you are invited to come along and take a glimpse behind the scenes covering a NFL game. In addition to the press box, access to the home and visitors locker rooms, and all post game press conferences is included. Tweet your questions to @Giants360 with the hashtag #GIANTSRIDEALONG and let’s go cover the game together.
And that’s your six pack of things to look for during the last practice game before they start playing them for real. The Giants are favored in this game by 2 1/2 points, which points to the Patriots as the wager, if you are so inclined. The over/under on the game is 42. Take the under, this last game is always conservative. Points will be at a premium.
Check back on Friday for the game review and be sure keep your eyes on the Giants360 twitter for the ride along event.