We’ve had four straight closely contested Super Bowls. On paper, this is the most even evenly matched game yet.
Here are 11 reasons why the Giants can break the Patriots' hearts again.
1. Eli Manning is at his best when pressure is on
I don’t mean “pressure” in a figurative way. No quarterback completes more passes than Manning while he’s getting hit.
SB XLVI (Giants 21, Patriots 17)
2. Third-and-long is never that long
Down and distance don’t matter to the Giants. They thrive in third-and-long situations. They converted more than half their third downs against the Falcons in the wild-card round, including five straight on third-and-long.
They converted half their downs against the Packers, including three third-and-long conversions early in the game that set the tone. Life was tougher in the NFC title game, but they kept the ball moving enough to run 90 plays against the 49ers. (San Francisco had 57.) The key play in the entire game came on Manning’s 17-yard touchdown toss to Mario Manningham ... on third-and-15.
Manning led the NFL in third-down passing yardage and yards-per-attempt all season. And he has played his best in the fourth quarter. That’s a winning recipe.
The Giants played better football in the regular season than their 9-7 record indicated. Their biggest problem: injuries and the toughest schedule. Most of those injuries are no longer a concern.
4. Ahmad Bradshaw in shotgun
New York’s best running back wasn’t available when the Giants won in Foxborough. The Patriots invited the Giants to run, New York Giants couldn’t take advantage because Brandon Jacobs’ mouth runs faster than his legs.
Bradshaw's runs are more dangerous. Quicker and violent. New York can spread New England out with three wide receivers and use Bradshaw to gash the defense out of the shotgun formation. The Patriots' lack of speed at linebacker will show up against Bradshaw in the passing game as well. He’s capable of a Super Bowl MVP-type performance.
5. The three amigos
Bill Belichick is crafty, but he can’t create new players out of thin air. The Patriots can’t match up against the best wide receiver trio in the league: Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham.
Look at the Patriots' secondary. At cornerback, their key players are Kyle Arrington (seventh-round pick), Sterling Moore (rookie undrafted converted safety released by Raiders) and Julian Edelman (converted receiver). At safety, they roll with Devin McCourty (cornerback beaten so badly he converted to safety), James Ihedigbo (journeyman Jets reject) and safety Patrick Chung.
Coaching is nice, but NFL games usually come down to talent. Nicks, Cruz, and Manningham can run circles around the Patriots secondary.
CSN: Tom Brady personally has done enough to be 5-0 in Super Bowls and has never been surrounded by Hall of Fame teammates as the others in the “greatest ever” conversation were.
Off the Bench: New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs reacts to remarks made by Tom Brady's wife Gisele Bundchen, who criticized New England Patriots players after their Super Bowl defeat Sunday.
See the best moments before, during and after the Giants' win in Super Bowl XLVI.
Video: Super Bowl XLVI from NBC Sports
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