This is a much different Patriots offense than it has been the last several years and much different than the one the Giants faced in 2007. That year and for the next few years, the offense was based on deep vertical threats that forced the defense to sit back deep and extended the field of play. This also opened underneath routes for quick-but-not-fast receivers like the dangerous Welker and others like Faulk.
Welker and Faulk are still on the team; Faulk seems to have slowed down, but Welker is as good as ever and looks really dangerous. He is so quick coming out of the slot that he looks impossible to cover. However, when he was protected by the deep threats on the outside, he had lots of space underneath to find open seams in the zone. The Steelers may have found the formula last week - don't play a lot of zone against the Pats, play more man and be very physical with him. Of course, you need the personnel to do that, but it may be a good plan for the Giants to do that on defense. Patriots have an excellent OL and a good running game, which has not been a strength for this Giants defense. More difficult to stop are the Patriots excellent TEs, especially if they get matched up against Giants young LBs. These Giants LBs are very talented, can run and will be very good players, but now they seem to make some mistakes in coverage as well as in plugging holes in the running game.
When the Giants play man-to-man, Corey Webster, who is having a really good season so far, will probably match up against Welker. Webster is big and is better geared to stop the big WRs on the outside, not the slippery slot receivers, so that may be a tough match-up for him. The Patriots TEs are also a tough cover for Giants LBs. Giants need Boley to have a big game and perhaps Jacquian Williams gets back into the flow, since he is the fastest of the Giants young LBs and may have to cover Gronkowski. Giants need a big game in coverage from the safeties, to give help deep when Welker eludes the first wave, but perhaps more important to match up against the TEs in the middle of the field. Giants need to get Amukamara on the field this week and he needs to play well. This relieves a little coverage responsibility from Rolle and the other safeties allowing them to pay some attention to the TEs. Giants need to play their best defensive game of the year and it still may not be enough to handle Brady.
On offense, Giants should use the running game only for some balance and to keep the Patriots guessing. But this game, I would put the ball in Eli's hands and hope he can come through. Hoping Nicks can play, but if he can't Barden will probably be activated off PUP list and get his first action in about a year.