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New York Giants vs. New England Patriots Super Bowl XLVI

New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
Super Bowl XLVI (36)
February 5th, 2012
Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN), 6:29 PM ET

Analysis of the New York Giants
The Giants (9-6) barely got into the playoffs after downing the division rival Cowboys in the final week of the regular season. From there they went on an improbable run through the playoffs, getting by the Falcons before upsetting the (consensus best team in the NFL) Packers and 49ers, both on the road. Their defense has stepped up big in every one of these games and the play of QB Eli Manning has helped them earn their 5th Super Bowl berth in team history.

Analysis of New England Patriots
The Patriots had another dominate season, going 13-3 en route to the 1st overall seed in the AFC. They thoroughly dominated the Denver Tebows Broncos in the divisional round before squeaking out a tight victory against the Ravens in the AFC Championship. As always two people have led this team: their head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady. Their leadership has again made the Patriots Super Bowl contenders, participants, and favorites.

Key Players
As a side note, the two most important players on the field will be Manning for the Giants and Brady for the Patriots. In the Super Bowl, QB-play matters more than anything else. Period. The following players will also have a great impact on the game though:

Patriots: Rob Gronkowski
‘Gronk’ is suffering from a high ankle sprain that occurred during the AFC Championship game against the Ravens. That has been the only bad news to an otherwise record-setting year for the 2nd year TE. Gronkowski caught 17 TD’s in 2011-2012 with 1327 receiving yards, both of which are the highest numbers ever for a TE. His presence alone on Sunday will be enough to put Brady’s mind at ease and to present a matchup challenge to the Giants.

Giants: Osi Umenyiora & Jason Pierre-Paul
This was a tough call, as RB Ahmad Bradshaw needs to step up as well for the Giants to win. The D-line for the Giants is most important though as they absolutely have to put pressure on Brady in order for the Giants to come out with their 4th ring ever. That task falls on DE’s Umenyiora and Pierre-Paul, both of which have stepped up in all 3 playoff games leading up to Sunday. The Giants could really use constant pressure and 3 or 4 sacks so as to scramble the Patriots tough pass-first offense.

Key Statistics
Passing Yards:
The Giants ranked 29th in the league in opponent passing yardage during the regular season and the Patriots ranked even worse, coming in at 31st. While both defenses have stepped up during the playoffs, their secondary play against two of the best QB’s in the league is vital for each team to victory. Both defenses have big defensive line presences already, it’s just a matter of which QB will get around that and which secondary will take advantage.

Prediction
Few need reminders that these two teams met just 4 years ago in Super Bowl XLII, one of the greatest of all time. In that Super Bowl the Giants upset the undefeated Patriots, both teams being led by their current QB’s. This rematch is more than just any other game to these teams then, not because it’s the Super Bowl, but because each squad has something to prove. The Giants are out to prove they belong here after a mediocre season and the Patriots are out to prove they can beat the Giants in the most important of games. When bragging rights are on the line QB-play matters the most, and while Manning has played out-of-his-mind lately I’ll still favor the future Hall-of-Famer Brady.

Prediction: New England Patriots: 27 – New York Giants: 21

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