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Patriots-Giants matchup of the day: Thursday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Nov. 03, 2011 @ 10:25 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

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

Patriots' running game vs. Giants' run defense

The Patriots had their lowest rushing output of the season in Sunday's loss to the Steelers, running for only 43 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had nine yards on five carries.

Without the balance of a run game, the Steelers' corners could stay closer to the Patriots' receivers and not worry about run support. As much as the Patriots are a passing team first, they are at their best when there is balance in the offense, as seen in wins over the Jets and Raiders.

The Giants have taken a huge step back in their run defense. Through eight weeks, they rank 28th against the run and have been hurt by not being at full strength in the middle of the defense. The Patriots should try to take advantage and get the run game going. With Kevin Faulk back in the mix, New England can be even more versatile with its rushing attack, and it has some of the league's better run-blocking guards in Logan Mankins and Brian Waters.

After taking a big step backward running the football last week, the Patriots would be smart to try to get back to it on Sunday. It's important for the Pats to prove they are not one-dimensional, and the Giants' weak run defense provides that opportunity for Green-Ellis, Faulk and company.

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