Super Bowl XLVI is just about a week away and now it's time to start analyzing the game until our faces are blue.
With that being said, here are five keys to a New England victory in Super Bowl XLVI.
1. Protect Tom Brady
What was New England's biggest downfall in 2007 against the Giants? They were unable to protect Tom Brady, as the Giants were able to get to him five times.
In general, whenever the Patriots struggle it's usually because their offensive line is unable to protect Brady.
If New England doesn't protect Brady and keep him off of his back, then they will have a very hard time winning Super Bowl XLVI.
2. Contain Victor Cruz
It's understandable if Hakeem Nicks has a big day but the Patriots cannot let Victor Cruz run wild, as he's New York's biggest playmaker.
Cruz had an incredible 2011 season, as he recorded 82 receptions for a whopping 1,536 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
If Cruz is able to make a few big plays, then New England's chances of winning will be slim.
3. Establish a Running Game
There's nothing that complements a passing game better than an effective running game.
With that being said, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead need to have a solid day for the Patriots to improve their chances of winning the game.
Take a look back at the AFC Championship when Tom Brady and their passing attack struggled, a main reason why they were able to win that game is because of their respectable rushing attack, as Green-Ellis ran for 68 yards and a touchdown.
4. Create Offensive Mismatches
With receivers like Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, the New England Patriots thrive in creating mismatches.
The way New England scores points is when Tom Brady is able to take advantage of the mismatches that his receivers and the play-calling creates.
When playing against a pass rush as effective as New York's, it will be critical to find the open receiver as soon as possible.
5. Tom Brady Needs to Have a Quick Release
One of the reasons why the Patriots failed in 2007 against the Giants is that their offense took so long to develop with Randy Moss running his deep routes that New York's pass rush was able to get to Brady.
In this year's version of New England's offense, most of their passes are short-to-intermediate—which obviously takes less time to develop than throwing the ball deep.
New England needs to make sure that they have quick pass plays, with Brady getting rid of the ball quickly in order to ensure that New York's pass rush does not rattle Brady.
Super Bowl XLVI Prediction: New England 31, New York 27
Be sure to check out Tony Santorsa's blog: PatriotsPlus
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