It’s often difficult to make judgments based on performances in the preseason. New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, though, isn’t completely happy with what he’s seen through three exhibition games. Therefore, while many NFL starters will rest up on Thursday, the Giants will have their best players on the field.
According to the two-time Super Bowl winning head coach, the Giants starters will play between 12 and 15 snaps in the team’s final preseason game. Eli Manning, David Wilson, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks will all suit up against the New England Patriots.
"I'd like to see some continuity and some execution, some performance," Coughlin said. "I'd like to see us get the ball in the end zone. I'd like to see us do well on third down. I'd like to see our passing game, with our protection, look like some type of an efficient operation. I'd like to see progress, that's what I'd really like to see."
Though the games haven’t meant anything, New York’s offense, especially the first string, has struggled in 2013. Against the Jets last week, Eli Manning completed just eight of his 20 passes for 83 yards. Other than an 84-yard touchdown run by Wilson, the unit had a very tough time moving the ball. They failed to get in the end zone against the Indianapolis Colts in Week Two, and haven’t scored more than 21 points in an exhibition game.
Aside from the starters looking to get ready for the regular season, a few backups are vying for roster spots. Quarterbacks David Carr and Curtis Painter will battle for a spot on the squad with fourth-round draft pick Ryan Nassib virtually guaranteed to make the club.
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The Patriots also have a quarterback that is looking to make the roster. Tim Tebow survived the most recent round of cuts, but he might not be so lucky after the fourth and final preseason game. The former Heisman Trophy winner didn’t play at quarterback last week, but played poorly in the first two games. Against the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he completed just five of 19 passes for 54 yards. He has rushed for 61 yards and been sacked three times.
Both owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick have expressed their support for Tebow. However, with Ryan Mallett firmly entrenched in the No.2 spot on the depth chart, the team could decide that it’s not worth it to keep Tebow. He should, however, get enough playing time to prove his worth, since Tom Brady won’t see much action, if any.
The game will be broadcast nationally on the NFL Network at 7:30 p.m. ET. Those who can’t get to a TV can watch a live stream online with NFL Preseason Live.
Betting Odds: New England -1, 39
Prediction: New York 24, New England 7