See, alternate universes are fun!
This week's picks...
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 27, Giants 22. "I still find it so hard to fathom that, in the last game these two teams played, David Tyree's historic Velcro Catch turned out to be the last reception of his career. Has nothing to do with this game, of course; I just thought you'd like to know. Re: Sunday in Foxboro, I like Eli Manning's ability to duel Tom Brady fair and square, but he's down so many receivers that it doesn't seem like enough of a fair fight for the G-Men."
ESPN.com staff: Six out of eight pick the Patriots.
CBS Sports staff: Patriots across the board.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 31, Giants 28. "This is an interesting game for a lot of reasons. The Giants begin a brutal second-half schedule, while the Patriots are trying to regroup after their dismal showing at Pittsburgh. The New England defense has problems defending the pass, which is good for Eli Manning. I think Manning has a big day in his attempt to keep up with Tom Brady, but the Patriots win a close one."
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 28, Giants 34. "New York's defense will try to follow the blueprint from the Super Bowl, using the front four pass rush to get to Brady and play full coverage on his myriad receiving options. The problem is that Brady, coming off a frustrating loss to the Steelers last week, will be well prepared for everything he sees and won't allow New England to drop a second straight game. It's Brady over Manning in a shootout this time."
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 35, Giants 27. "It's yet another Super Bowl rematch (there are at least 15 of them this year), and most of them have seen the team that won the Super Bowl prevail in the 2011 regular-season reunion. Last week, the Bills broke that trend by beating the Redskins. This week, the trend of beating the trend continues. Even though the team that first figured out how to beat Tom Brady will likely try to use the same formula (i.e., pound the pretty boy into the ground), the Pats are dangerous when motivated - and they typically are extremely motivated after losing a game."
Gregg Rosenthal, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 31, Giants 27. "I was attending my first Super Bowl the last time these teams played, way back when I was 11. This matchup has a lot of similarities. New York's pass rush can get after Tom Brady and Eli Manning comes into the game playing well. That's a long way of saying this game will be tight, but the Patriots are too good coming off a loss, especially at home, to suffer another upset."
Greg Cote, Miami Herald. Patirots 37, Giants 31. "Teams' first meeting since NYG's upset win four Super Bowls ago finds Pats coming off a loss and back home where they rarely lose, so English look like a snug pick on a venue call. That's more so because Biggies could be missing as many as five starters out injured. The thing is, give me the Flying Coughlins getting 8 ½ points anyway. I can't trust Pats' defense, especially in the sky, and Eli Manning should throw up enough fireworks to keep it close."
Peter Schrager, FoxSports.com: Patriots 30, Giants 20 "The Giants have scratched and clawed their way to a division-leading 5-2 record, but their schedule's about to get awfully difficult. After the Patriots this weekend, New York faces the 49ers, the Eagles, the Saints, the Packers and the Cowboys in consecutive weeks. This stretch will make or break the Giants' season. Unless David Tyree finds his way on to the field on Sunday, I don't see Big Blue coming into Foxborough and beating the Patriots."
Sam Farmer, LA Times: Patriots 28, Giants 24. "It's rare that the Patriots lose two in a row, and they haven't lost at home this season. This game will be close, but Tom Brady gets the nod over Eli Manning at Gillette Stadium."
Sean Brennan, New York Daily News: Patriots. "Safety Antrel Rolle is none too happy about the Giants being big underdogs here. And the self-proclaimed ?cocky mother? thinks diminutive Pats receiver Wes Welker (57 catches, 824 yards, 6 TDs already) is getting too much praise. Fair enough. But what does Antrel have to say about stopping a Patriots team that has won 20 regular-season home games in a row. Hmm. Radio silence. The Pats lost in Pittsburgh last week, and the last time Belichick's boys lost two in a row was during the Jurassic Period (if my research is correct). Still, facing a paper-thin Patriots' defense (32nd in the league against the pass at 323 yards a game) Eli will keep the Giants in the game but not close enough."
Dave Blezow, New York Post: Patriots. "Just know, though, that Bill Belichick has had 3 1/2 years to stew about what the Giants did to his team in the desert, and remember how many teams have gone into Foxborough thinking they may have the Patriots licked -- and trash-talked them, even -- and were sadly mistaken."
Globe staff: One (Greg Bedard) out of five picks the Patriots. (New England by 9)
It says here: Patriots 27, Giants 21. Home game following a loss? AGS and all, but that mix doesn't bode well for the Giants.