Last time these two met in late-December, it was a full-fledged shootout, but not tonight.
Both teams scored on their opening possession, but nothing since then.
Here are some notes from watching from the Media Auxiliary Press Box.
*Giants set the tone for the first half, with a brilliant 8-minute, 59-second drive, but settled for only a field goal.
*Patriots countered with a couple of critical 3rd-down conversions to take about 5-6 minutes on their drive, with the big play, a pass interference call against the Giants in the end zone.
Patriots Laurence Maroney scored two plays later for a 7-3 New England lead.
*I thought a couple of very key moments were two consecutive Patriots drives when they had the 7-3 lead, but did nothing with it.
*Giants are getting in Tom Brady’s space, and you can tell—and it’s obvious live from where we’re sitting—-that is keeping New England and Brady from going deep to anyone, much less Randy Moss.
*Moss caught one pass in the first half, and it was for a first down in the final minute of the half.
*I thought the Giants defense was huge with the Patriots facing only 2nd and 2, and then 3rd and 2, around their own 30-40, with the 7-3 lead, but the Giants snuffed-out Maroney on back-to-back carries.
*There were three fumbles in the first half, and the Giants came away fortunate every time.
*Fumble #1: The first when Ahmad Bradshaw fumbled a draw play, and the Patriots appeared to have several players on the ball, but the Giants came away from it at the bottom of the pile.
*Fumble #2: Eli Manning was stripped towards the Patriots sideline, and safety Rodney Harrison was about to scoop up the ball and had nothing but sideline in front of him, but Bradshaw batted the ball forward and right through Harrison, the Giants recovered for what appeared to be a first down, but the penalty against Bradshaw for illegal touching backed the Giants out of field goal range, and they were forced to punt.
*Fumble #3: Tom Brady was about to throw deep to Moss, but Jason Tuck stripped him from behind, and Osi Umenyori recovered for New York with 10-seconds remaining in the half.
*The tempo of the first half has been ALL New York.
*I really have to think the pressure of trying to finish the unbeaten season may force the Patriots to tighten-up in the second half.
We’ll know pretty quickly because New England will get the second-half kickoff.
Without question, despite trailing 7-3, I give the Giants the edge in the first half.
I think the biggest question of this game is whether New England can get more than a touchdown ahead, and if they do, they can take more chances on offense down field, and even defensively, and of course it goes the same way for the Giants if they take the lead.
But based on the first half, the Patriots will have to scratch and claw for everything they get.
Depending on where we are in the final minutes, will depend on whether I’m back anytime soon for another update.
I will get a post-game interview with either Aaron Ross or Willie Andrews, and perhaps both based on availability.