The most painful part of Super Bowl XLII was that the second half was just as bad as the first. The New England Patriots couldn’t make the proper adjustments to neutralize what the New York Giants were throwing at them.
Week 9 from 2011 added insult to injury. All four quarters followed the exact same script from 2008. Between both meetings, it was eight quarters of the exact same football game.
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Now here the Patriots are with a third shot at this team and several layers of history on the line.
Can you get fooled three times? Is it possible to see 12 straight quarters of the same game? Fool me thrice, shame on...who?
The Giants want to hurt Tom Brady. They want to hurt him physically and mentally. New York’s secondary is mediocre, but the efficiency of a team’s secondary doesn’t matter when the quarterback’s being roughed up all night. Neutralizing the thrower neutralizes every receiver on the field.
The Giants want to keep the score low. Both games ended at 17-14 and 24-20. The low scores indicate just how brutal those games were from Brady’s perspective. The Giants cut the head off the snake and eliminated the venom.
The tightness of both games allowed Eli Manning to swoop in with late game-winning drives.
The key to a New England victory in Super Bowl XLVI can be summed up in one word: protection. It’s a game of chess, and the Patriots must protect their king. If they don’t, then Super Bowl XLVI will end in shambles.
It’s important to stress the significance of adjustments. The stunning comeback victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 was a perfect illustration of New England’s ability to make mid-game adjustments. But the Giants render this aspect of their game useless. Eight quarters against the Giants, and zero adjustments.
Why won’t the Patriots make adjustments against the Giants? Perhaps they can’t. Maybe New York’s pass rushers really are that good.
Jason Pierre-Paul fills the void of Michael Strahan perfectly. The Giants’ front four are tough, aggressive, they’re not intimidated by anyone and they love hitting Brady.
Here’s what we know: the secret blueprint for a Giants victory is there to be seen. It’s the NOC list from Mission: Impossible. As Tom Cruise said in the film, “The list is in the open!”
But here’s the flip side of the coin: The Patriots have the NOC list, too. There are no surprises here. The Patriots know how the Giants intend to beat them.
Two straight carbon-copy games have revealed the keys to winning the Super Bowl.
The odds of New York throwing four or five touchdowns against New England’s defense is slim. Defense is essential, but the Patriots' very best defense can only keep this game close. To pull away, Brady must get the protection he needs to throw four or five touchdowns.
This game can’t be about defense. The last two Giants vs. Patriots games were all about defense, and we know how that turned out.
Great defense from both teams will keep this game within a single possession. This will spell doom for New England. A close game is not an option.
Giants fans want a tight game. Tom Coughlin wants a low-scoring affair. Manning thrives on pressure-packed situations where one drive will win it all.
Most analysts on New England’s sports radio network have been predicting a close game. Patriots fans, this cannot be allowed to happen. A close game is not what we need. It’s the one thing we don’t want.
Forget the down-to-the-wire scenario. Push that idea out of your minds. The Patriots need to smash the Giants with all of their strength.
All season long, we’ve watched their defense evolve into the beast it's become. No one is more appreciative of that than me. But in this game, against this opponent, Brady must shine.
These are the two best teams in the NFL. Everything is riding on this game. This is no time to play it safe. To win Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots must force their will upon the Giants.
New England must dominate this game.
In Game 6 of the 2007-08 NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics won by 39 points. They didn’t just win, they beat the Lakers into submission. Game 7 was never an option. A Game 7 situation favors Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, just as a close Super Bowl favors Manning and the Giants.
For the Patriots to win, this game cannot be tight. Forget the “enjoyment factor.” This is war.
The Giants must be destroyed completely. Forget the ratings; this needs to be the most anticlimactic Super Bowl ever. This game needs to be a let-down. This game must disappoint every football fan in the world except Patriots fans.
This must be total slaughter. This must be the worst Super Bowl ever. If it is, then the Patriots are bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to New England.
Brady must show no mercy. His pass protection must be fantastic. There will be errors in the protection, of course, but these errors must be held to a minimum. Brady must put points on the board. Points, points, points and more points.
Super Bowl XLVI shouldn’t be competitive, it should be total devastation. This isn’t about football, it’s about revenge.