Defense wins championships and the defensive play of these two teams in the playoffs is a major reason why they will be playing for such an honor.
Throughout this piece we’ll be breaking down what the New York Giants and the New England Patriots will bring on defense come Super Bowl Sunday.
Both are strong in their own right, however they do it in very different manners.
Take a look.
New York Giants
The Giants have made an improbable run through the NFC playoffs, due largely in part to the play of their defense.
As a unit, the Giants are giving up a measly 12.3 points per game in the playoffs thus far—including giving up only 20 points to the high-powered Green Bay Packers offense and shutting the Atlanta Falcons out on Wild Card Weekend.
What the Giants do best is rush the quarterback with their trio of elite pass-rushers.
On the season, New York sacked the opposing quarterback 48 times and 31 of them came from the trio of Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck.
Their defensive line has also been very good at stopping the run in the playoffs. In three games so far, the run defense of the Giants has given up an average of 83.3 yards per game, including holding the Falcons’ Michael Turner to only 41 yards on 15 carries.
If there is a weakness on this New York defense, it has to be the linebacker corps and they will need to come up huge in the Super Bowl facing elite tight ends like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Just look at the way Pierre-Paul attacks opposing quarterbacks. He has a rare ability to use power moves and finesse moves to beat opposing tackles as he bears down on the quarterback.
That, and I wouldn’t ever want to face off against Justin Tuck’s face mask.
New England Patriots
The Patriots defense has caught more slack than any other defense in the NFL this season and for good reason, because they give up an average of 411.1 yards per game.
However, in their two playoff games they’ve looked much better—especially against the run.
The Pats defense gave up only 3.6 yards per carry against the league’s top rushing offense in the Broncos, and then followed that up by bottling up Ray Rice for only 67 yards on 21 carries.
And while they may give up a lot of yards—including nearly 300 through the air—they are above average when it comes to forcing turnovers.
As a team they’ve forced 23 interceptions (second in league) and cornerback Kyle Arrington was tied for the league lead in interceptions with seven.
They’re stout up front with Vince Wilfork, Brandon Deaderick and Shaun Ellis and also employ a strong linebacker corps that includes Rob Ninkovich and Brandon Spikes.
Watch here how the Patriots front seven attacked and eventually shut down the Broncos offense led by the dynamic dual-threat quarterback, Tim Tebow.
Super Bowl XLVI is a rematch of Super Bowl XLII that saw the Giants defeat the Patriots 17-14.
This edition of the Giants-Patriots is sure to be one for the ages. It features two elite quarterbacks, and two defenses that are playing good football right now.
That’s what football is—it’s about the “what can you do for me now” attitude and there aren’t two better teams in the league right now than New England and New York.
Prediction: New York Giants 27 New England Patriots 24