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Giants vs. Patriots final score 17-9: Ten Takeaways from the final preseason game

What did we from the Giants’ final preseason game?

NFL: Preaseason-New England Patriots at New York Giants William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants wrapped up their preseason as they have in years past, against the New England Patriots. These two teams are old foes and makes for a great measuring stick for the Giants and new head coach Ben McAdoo.

Bill Belichick took the game seriously, playing Tom Brady for the entire first half, and didn’t shy away from throwing offensive wrinkles at the Giants. What did we learn from the Giants’ final test before the regular season?

Brady vs. the backups

In a curious move, Patriots’ starting quarterback Tom Brady got the start against the New York Giants. While that, in and of itself, isn’t strange, the fact that he is suspended to start the season, and his backup has never started an NFL game, makes the move an interesting one to say the least.

The Giants, meanwhile, sat their entire starting defense except for outside linebacker Devon Kennard and safety Landon Collins. The results could be nothing but encouraging for the Giants. Despite Tom Brady playing the entire first half, the result was much the same as the previous three starting quarterbacks had against the Giants’ starting defense. After a horror show of a season in 2015, the depth on this defense is impressive.

Ryan Nassib

For the second time this preseason, Eli Manning won’t be taking the field. While Brady must certainly be buoyed to see number 10 without a helmet, it is one last chance for Ryan Nassib. Ed wrote earlier about Nassib’s need for a dominant performance, but what we got was a mixed day. Once again the blocking was an issue, but Nassib also showed the inconsistencies that plagued him.

But he still put forth his best performance of the preseason, going 16-29, 210 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

“A little different”

The Giants and Patriots facing off in pre-season has become almost as much of a tradition as Giants vs. Jets. But for the first time in a long time, Bill Belichick won’t look across the field and see Tom Coughlin. In a press conference Belichick said that “it will be a little different looking across the field and not seeing Tom over there.“ Later addeing, “I’m sure he misses us,” Belichick said. “He did pretty well against us.”

Pre-season or Super Bowl, it seems as though every time Coughlin’s Giants and Belichick’s Patriots threw down, we were treated to a great game.

Once again we were treated to a fun game. Both teams hit a bit of an offensive groove as the game wore on, but it was largely a defensive struggle, highlighted by terrific effort by players trying to make a roster.

Tavarres King has to make the roster

How do you follow up a 58-yard, two-touchdown game? By having an 80-yard, 1 TD game to finish the preseason. The wide receiver competition was a fierce one this summer with King, Roger Lewis, and Darius Powe each taking turns putting out impressive showings, but King separated himself once the team took the field. His ability to play inside and out, his quickness in and out of breaks, and speed in the open field are assets in the Giants’ YAC-based offense.

At this point it would certainly raise a lot of eyes if King isn’t a member of the Giants’ roster after 4 p.m. Saturday.

Eli Apple can play

Reports came out after the draft that John Mara issued and edict forbidding Jerry Reese from drafting any players with character or injury red flags. That explains why the Giants drafted Eli Apple rather than Laremy Tunsil when the latter dropped.

While the offensive line certainly could use a player of Tunsil’s caliber, Apple has more than earned his draft slot thus far in preseason. Despite being targeted by quarterbacks throughout preseason, he has held up well, blanketing starting receivers and not giving up much, if anything.

Owa Odighizwa is “Twitched Up”

As well as Wynn and Okwara are playing, the Giants need Odighizuwa to step up and become a threat behind Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. If the preseason is any indication, he stands a better than fair chance of doing so. He has been a handful for every offensive lineman who has been assigned to block him, his explosion and power standing out on the field.

Before the snap Owa is rock-solid in his stance, barely moving at all, then accelerates into his rush almost instantaniously when the ball is snapped. Saying he is “Twitched Up” is an understatement. If he can get the hang of timing the snap, he could be a terror.

The Starters Are Having Fun

Jason Pierre-Paul was interviewed at the sideline at one point in the second half. His fellow linemates, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Johnathan Hankins quickly swarmed up to have some fun with JPP on the air.

We’ve heard all throughout the offseason and training camp about the camaraderie among the defensive line, so getting to see it first hand was a treat. It remains to be seen if, or how, that will effect their play during the season, but it is great to see.

The Giants Have Some Tough Choices

The final cut-down is one of the hardest parts of the football calendar. The fourth preseason game is largely ignored by a lot of fans, but it features some of the most passionate football you’re going to see. The Giants are facing tough choices.

Perhaps the most interesting battle was at running back.

Andre Williams, Orleans Darkwa, and Bobby Rainey all played well at running back and on special teams, while Rainey looked fast as a returner and capable as a receiver.

Surprise Of The Night - Jermelle Cudjo

Signed to fill in when while Jay Bromley and Damon Harrison were on the PUP list, Cudjo is ending his preseason by making a strong case to be the Giants’ fourth defensive tackle. He was active behind the line of scrimmage, showing impressive hustle and disrupting the Patriots offense.

This is another difficult choice for the Giants, as Montori Hughes and Louis Nix have played well as well. But it is Cudjo, who was largely an afterthought, who is our surprise of the night.

Fantasy Stud

With three sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception, you could argue that the Giants’ defense was the fantasy stud of the night, but we’ll once again go with Tavarres King. Four catches, 80 yards and a touchdown make for 18 fantasy points. This is his second straight week as our fantasy stud.