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I’m sure people from New York and Boston don’t need to be reminded, but, in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever, the Giants knocked off the Patriots in January of ’08. Fast forward four seasons and the rematch looks completely different. While it does feature the same two teams, this isn’t the 16-0 Patriots of 2007, and the Giants look as good, if not better than they did in ’07. That being said, there are certain elements to the Patriots offensive barrage that are better than their record setting season, most notably Rob Gronkowski, assuming he is able to play, and Wes Welker, who is at the peak of his powers.
How exactly have the Patriots gotten to the Super Bowl? It has to be the improved play of their defensive line and linebackers. They’ve been able to get pressure on the opposing quarterback, which in turn has taken pressure off their much-maligned secondary. Of course, the same could be said about the Giants, who boast one of the most feared D-Lines in the NFL. Led by Justin Tuck and J.P. Paul, the Giants should be able to get after Brady.
Therefore the matchup will come down to, you guessed it, whichever team runs the ball best. The Patriots have added a new and effective wrinkle, Aaron Hernandez at running back. I think that statement says it all about the state of the Patriots rushing attack. As much as it should make the Giants nervous, the game may very well rest of the shoulders of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. They’ll be fooling themselves if they think they can throw the ball as many times as they did in their game against San Francisco and win. They need to keep the ball away from Tom Brady. The Giants win because they are the tougher more physical football team.
What would a Giants win do to the legacy of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning? That’s a question for another day. Let’s get there first. Giants 27 Patriots 23.