The New England Patriots are among two teams with a perfect record, but the reigning Super Bowl champions haven't exactly faced a murderer's row during their 5-0 start. The Patriots have vanquished three opponents that have yet to win a game and will play another team with a sub-.500 record when they host the New York Giants on Thursday night.
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Bidding to make its fourth consecutive appearance in the Super Bowl, New England also is seeking its fourth 6-0 start under Bill Belichick thanks to a defense that has allowed a league-low 34 points. "We've had our moments. Right now, it's about focusing on the challenge ahead with the Giants," Belichick said. "The Giants have so many weapons on offense, a great tight end, two great quarterbacks, probably the best running back in the league, very good receiving group." The running back Belichick referenced is Saquon Barkley, who has missed the past two games due to a high ankle sprain but is "getting much closer" to a return, New York coach Pat Shurmur said. The Giants' modest two-game winning streak, sparked by first-round draft pick Daniel Jones, came to a crashing halt in a 28-10 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Patriots -16.5. O/U: 42
ABOUT THE GIANTS (2-3): New York could desperately use Barkley because of a slew of injuries to key offensive players -- backup running back Wayne Gallman and wide receiver Sterling Shepard will miss the game due to concussions while tight end Evan Engram is dealing with a sprained medial collateral ligament. Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in this year's draft, came back to earth after winning his first two starts by throwing for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception while getting sacked four times by Minnesota. While the Giants have 13 sacks, they are getting gouged through the air, ranking 28th in the league at 279.4 yards per game.
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (5-0): Aside from permitting a scant 6.8 points, New England also leads the NFL in sacks (24) and interceptions (11) while becoming the first team to not allow a passing touchdown through five games since the Cleveland Browns in 1988. Tom Brady rebounded from a lackluster performance in a Week 4 win at Buffalo to throw for 348 yards and three touchdowns in a 33-7 victory at overmatched Washington last week. Julian Edelman was slowed by a chest injury at Buffalo but had season highs with eight catches for 110 yards and a score. Sony Michel also is coming off his best game, scoring his third TD and rushing for a season-high 91 yards on 16 carries.
1. Brady needs 18 passing yards to surpass Peyton Manning (71,940) for No. 2 on the all-time list.
2. Giants LB Markus Golden has 4.5 sacks in his last four games.
3. Patriots LB Jamie Collins is the only player with at least four sacks and three interceptions.