EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Safety James Butler seemed to raise an eyebrow when asked how the young guys in the Giants' secondary might prevent Randy Moss and Tom Brady from setting single-season records for touchdown catches and TD passes.
``Man, you're trying to make it sound like I should be scared to play these guys,'' Butler said Wednesday after the Giants (10-5) practiced for Saturday night's game with the Patriots (15-0).
When told that some people might be afraid of Moss and Brady, Butler seemed ready to strut his courage. That is until cornerback Kevin Dockery called out from about 10 feet away.
``Don't fall into the trap! Don't give anything for the bulletin board,'' Dockery yelled.
Butler laughed and brought out the company line: The Giants are going to prepare, play hard and whatever happens, happens.
When it comes to the Patriots and their bid for perfection, defensive backs have found it almost impossible to stop Brady and Moss.
Brady's 48 touchdown passes are one shy of the record set by Peyton Manning in 2004, while Moss' 21 TD catches are one shy of the standard by Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49ers in 12 games in 1987, a strike season.
Only Cleveland, Philadelphia and the Jets have prevented Moss and Brady from combining for a touchdown pass this season.
``He is an unbelievable receiver, and now he has found a quarterback who's not afraid to throw him the ball,'' veteran Giants cornerback Sam Madison said. ``He's a quarterback who launches it, and he lets his receivers go and play.''
Moss has resurrected his career after two subpar seasons in Oakland, where he had 11 touchdown catches combined.
``He just does it all,'' Butler said of Moss. ``He is a good player, whether it is deep, short or midrange. He is just catching and going with it.''
Veteran cornerback R.W. McQuarters said Moss has given the Patriots a deep threat for the first time in years.
``Any receiver can go deep, but when Moss comes into the picture, he is a deep threat,'' McQuarters said. ``Now that they have a deep threat, everything else the Patriots do continues to work, and even better - the underneath stuff, all of it. Randy Moss added another target, but deeper down the field.''
McQuarters is familiar with Moss, having played against him twice a year during his five seasons with the Chicago Bears when Moss played for the Vikings.
``What we did with him in Chicago is what we see a lot of teams doing with him now, that's double him, hit him at the lines, those types of things,'' McQuarters said. ``You want to slow him down. If you don't, the quarterback can wait until he gets 6 yards downfield and just launch it, and he'll run up under it. The Patriots do the same thing. Brady can just throw it up.''
Against the Dolphins last weekend, McQuarters said Brady threw into double coverage a couple of times with New England comfortably ahead.
``They were just fine-tuning for the postseason,'' he said.
Before joining the Giants, Madison played against the Patriots twice a year for nine seasons while with Miami. Brady was New England's quarterback the last five.
``He's a competitor,'' Madison said. ``It doesn't matter if he is playing golf at Dan Marino's tournament. I know he is a competitor, and he wants to win. He is going to go out there with that mind-set. We have to be ready to go.''
With Butler and rookie cornerback Aaron Ross in the lineup, Brady will be facing two young defensive backs besides Madison and veteran safety Gibril Wilson. Nickel back Corey Webster has only three years experience.
With the secondary facing a tough test, the Giants' front seven will have to pressure Brady and slow down the run.
``We have to get in his face and hit him when he is getting rid of it,'' linebacker Kawika Mitchell said. ``He is real comfortable back there. He gets a good presnap read on the defense and makes adjustments and gets the ball out. We have to be on our game.''
If the Giants aren't, Moss and Brady could set all kinds of records this weekend.
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