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Patriots-Giants matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Nov. 02, 2011 @ 6:14 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a key matchup to watch in the Week Nine game between the Patriots and Giants:

Giants DEs Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul vs. Patriots O-line

The Giants enter Sunday's game as the league leader in sacks with 26 on the season. 16½ of those have come from their three D-ends. As we've seen with the teams that have beaten the Patriots, if they get pressure on Tom Brady from their front four it allows them to use as many defensive backs as possible to cover his receivers.

The Pats have one of the league's most veteran offensive lines, but it has struggled in the past three games. Brady was sacked four times in the first four games, but has gone down 10 times in the last three games.

In addition to keeping the Giants' pass rushers in front of them, the O-line needs to avoid any pre-snap movement that will push Brady and the offense back. OLG Logan Mankins has four penalties on the season, getting flagged for two false starts against the Steelers.

Light has been penalized three times this season. He leads the team in allowing 14 pressures, according to Pro Football Focus (via ESPN Boston) and will have to improve on that against the Giants.

ORT Sebastian Vollmer struggled in his first game back from injury against Pittsburgh and we might see a rotation of him and Nate Solder, who has been impressive as a rookie but will be at a disadvantage against the Giants' front. Solder might be used more often as an extra tight end to give Brady an added blocker for rushers coming off the edge.

Pierre-Paul, the Giants' leader with 8½ sacks, will be looking to get to Brady quickly, considering how quickly the Patriots' signalcaller gets rid of the ball. If the Patriots' O-line can win the battle in the trenches, Brady can have time to get the offense back in sync.

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