Outstanding quarterback matchups are par for the course at the Super Bowl, so on the face of it, there’s no reason Tom Brady and Eli Manning should necessarily produce an offensive explosion next Sunday. What is different about Super Bowl XLVI, though, is that those great quarterbacks will be battling two of the worst defensive backfields in the history of the big game.
The Giants, in spite of an outstanding pass rush, finished the regular season ranked 29th in the league in passing yards allowed. Even then, they were 600 yards better than the Patriots, who placed 31st in the NFL with just under 300 yards allowed per game.
Even with the extra week to prepare for their respective foes, those two defenses don’t exactly match up well with a pair of top-five passing offenses. The result, more than likely, will be Super Bowl history in the making.
The Super Bowl record for combined passing yards is 649, set by Brady and Jake Delhomme of the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII. Those Pats, with Ty Law and Tyrone Poole in the secondary, ranked a more respectable 15th in the league against the pass, while their opposite numbers from Carolina placed ninth behind Ricky Manning Jr. and a killer pass rush.
Brady’s offense is just as explosive as it was eight years ago, and the Giants have a lot more weapons than those Steve Smith-led Panthers. It wouldn’t be any surprise to see a shootout to eclipse that yardage figure, and even a challenge to Kurt Warner’s record of 414 yards in a game is a possibility.
Fans of high-scoring football should also be in for a treat, as these two offenses have an outside chance to break the record of seven combined passing TDs. That mark was first set way back in 1979, when Terry Bradshaw out-dueled Roger Staubach in a 38-35 thriller, and a similar game isn’t out of the question for next Sunday.
Defense has been the order of the day in the 2012 postseason, but the low-20s point totals that won both conference championships aren’t going to cut it on Super Sunday. Expect an offensive show and another nail-biting finish in what’s becoming a great interconference rivalry.