New England Patriots
They remember David Tyree's helmet catch, Eli Manning's magician-like escape from a collapsing pocket and Lawrence Tynes' game winning field goal.
Both teams have seen improvement in personnel this year over previous teams. It can be argued that the Patriot's offense is even more dangerous and that the Giants' defense is even more suffocating.
There are a few keys for the Patriots to claim victory in Super Bowl XLVI.
Here they are.
The record-setting tight end for the New England Patriots has a high ankle sprain that he suffered in the win over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game. If he does practice at all leading up to the game, it will be in a limited role.
However, Gronk is so good that even if he is playing at 75%, he will still be effective. He is at his best when he can run his in routes 10-15 yards past the line of scrimmage. Since he is a premier pass-catching tight end, he will be most effective in the red zone.
One key to the Pats winning the Super Bowl will be finding Gronk in the end zone, where he can create nightmare matchups against the Giants' linebackers.
The key for Wes Welker is somewhat unorthodox. He needs to go unnoticed leading up to the game.
People have been focusing so much on the two tight ends for the Patriots and the whole Eli vs. Brady match up that people seem to be overlooking the 5 ft. 9 wide-out. He has quietly had a spectacular year with 122 catches for 1,596 yards and 9 touchdowns. So far this postseason, he has 12 catches for 108 yards and a single touchdown.
If Welker goes into this game with little attention being paid to him, then he will be poised for a huge game with the Giants defense keying in on Hernandez and Gronk.
The jack of all trades, Aaron Hernandez, has lined up as a wide receiver, tight end and even running back. He keeps the defense guessing as to what is going to happen because even though he is mostly plays tight end, he can still play a decent running back. This was evident in the AFC Championship game, where he had five rushes for 61 yards, including a 43-yard scamper.
Having a 6' 1", 245 lbs. running back to complement the three other backs that Belichick employs is a great tool. He can be a perfect choice to give the ball to in short yardage situations when it is third and fourth down.
Aaron Hernandez can help the Pats win the Super Bowl by being effective at multiple positions, running back and tight end.
Patriot's Offensive Line
The New York Giants have one of the best, most athletic defensive lines in the NFL this season. It is one thing to know how good they are, but it is quite another to actually stop them. That is the goal the Patriots offensive line.
The offensive line has given up 32 sacks this year, and in the regular season match-up between the Patriots and Giants, Brady only got sacked twice. However, the defensive line hurried Brady multiple times, causing him to make off-balance throws resulting in two interceptions.
The offensive line for the Patriots is going to have to limit the number of times that Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora can get into the backfield and hit Tom Brady.
Most of the focus this year has been on Brady, Gronkowski and the rest of the Patriots offense. Few people have paid attention to the defense.
Led by Vince Wilfork, who had a monster game against the Ravens, this group has been known to allow sub-par offensives to gain a lot of yards. Look at the game against the Miami Dolphins, where they gained 488 yards.
While they did give up a lot of yards, they did force turnovers. They intercepted the ball 23 times and recovered 11 fumbles defensively. The defense as a whole only scored two touchdowns all year though.
The key thing the defense needs to do is harass Eli Manning. If the defense can do this and limit the amount of damage that Manning can do in the air, then the defense will be much better off. However, they still won't be out of the woods quite yet. They still have to stop the big running backs that line up behind and next to Manning.