Tonight, the New England Patriots host the New York Giants.
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady has guided New England to nine Super Bowls, and won six of them. Two of those three losses are right in the middle of the Patriots fabulous run beginning in the 2001 season. After wins in his first three Super Bowls against St. Louis, Carolina and Philadelphia, and before three wins in four Super Bowl trips with victories over Seattle, Atlanta and the Rams again, Brady suffered back-to-back Super Bowl losses.
The New York Giants ended the Patriots bid for a perfect season in 2007, and when the two teams made their next Super Bowl appearances, in 2011, they again squared off for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. In a pair of games that is his only ticket for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Eli Manning twice outdueled Brady in the Super Bowl.
While Brady still appears on top of his game, he meets a Giants team that has shifted away from veteran Eli Manning in favor of first round draft choice Daniel Jones. Manning had started the season behind center for the Giants, but after losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills, he was replaced by Jones.
The rookie had an immediate impact on the fortunes of the Giants. He led them to a one-point victory in Tampa while scoring the winning touchdown on the last play of the game.
In his second start, Jones led the Giants to a second straight win, this time over the still winless Washington Redskins. The Minnesota Vikings ended Jones’ unbeaten streak last Sunday at MetLife Stadium in convincing fashion, 28-10. Off that defeat the Giants rookie looks to match skills with Brady.
Brady on his home field against a rookie seems a basic place to start in handicapping this game. But the Patriots don’t bounce up on any chart to indicate they are in a good spot to cover this point spread. They’ve lost twice against the line without losing a game straight-up. Statistically, that puts them in the likely role of losing a game straight-up before covering a bloated point spread.
From purely a wagering standpoint, the Giants with the points is the play tonight.
But, from a football side, one has to respect the edge the Patriots have over the Giants. I have no interest in wagering on the favorite in this contest while they are not challenged by their opponent, and little interest in backing a Giants team that might bring back some bad memories for Tom Brady.
Tonight, the Giants might find out that Brady carries a grudge.