Super Bowl Predictions 2012: Giants Defense Poses Big Problems for Tom Brady

Josh MartinNBA Lead WriterJanuary 24, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 06:   Michael Boley #59 of the New York Giants knocks the ball out of the hands of Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots  on November 6, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Tom Brady may be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL, but he's hardly unflappable.

The New York Giants know that, or at least they should. They're one of the few teams that's had repeated success "flapping" the New England Patriots star over the years.

And they'll look to use a heap of pressure at the line of scrimmage to do it once more at Super Bowl XLVI, to give Eli Manning a shot to win another title on the field that older brother Peyton calls home.

The G-Men did a masterful job of keeping Brady, then the NFL MVP, under wraps at Super Bowl XLII. The Golden Boy was fresh off one of the greatest performances for a quarterback in league history, setting a new single-season touchdown record with 50 scores, against just eight interceptions.

He had the Pats at 18-0, on the path to a fourth Vince Lombardi Trophy, albeit after a less-than-flattering performance against the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Championship Game. Brady threw for only 209 yards with two touchdowns and three picks in a tilt that the Bolts very well could've (and, perhaps, should've) won.

Two weeks later, Brady found himself back on the fritz against a Giants defense that pressured him all night. Big Blue's pass rush, in particular, had Brady's number, sacking him five times, limiting him to one touchdown and forcing a fumble in the second quarter.

As you may recall, the Giants ended up winning that game, 17-14, in what turned out to be the lowest-scoring game for the Pats that season.

Fast forward to the present day and you'll find Brady in a similar predicament. He followed up a superb performance against the overmatched Denver Broncos with a flat-out forgettable one—239 yards with two interceptions.

As Brady said himself, he "sucked," though the Baltimore Ravens defense had quite a bit to do with that. Charm City's front seven was able to harass the future Hall of Famer all day, allowing the team's stellar defensive backs to confuse and contain the Pats' potent attack.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants reacts against the San Francisco 49ers in the second quarter during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Do
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Which brings us to Indianapolis, where Brady will face a Giants defense not unlike the one that haunted him in Arizona four years ago. Michael Strahan and Fred Robbins aren't around anymore, though Jason Pierre-Paul and Chris Canty have proven to be eminently able replacements, alongside Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora.

Not that the play of the defensive line will be enough on its own to slow down Brady, much less guarantee a victory.

But it's a pretty darn good start, and the parallels between the two Super Bowls are just too much to ignore in that regard.