The New England Patriots and New York Giants meet Sunday in Super Bowl 46, a rematch of their 2008 contest that saw the Giants defeat the heavily favored Patriots, 17-14.
This time around the final score will be different, but the outcome will be the same, with the Giants besting the Patriots yet again.
The Giants' 2011 season had a number of eerie similarities to their 2007 run, and while that's an interesting storyline, it really has little bearing on what is going to happen this week.
Both the Giants and the Patriots are wholly different teams than they were when they first met. New York has found itself a leader in quarterback Eli Manning while in the 2007 season, it was hoping he wouldn't manage to harm the team with his inconsistent play.
The Patriots are still one of the best offensive teams in the league, but they've gone about it a different way this year.
Instead of relying on traditional wideouts to make plays for him, quarterback Tom Brady has leaned on two game-changing tight ends and trusty receiver Wes Welker, effectively revamping what a top-tier offense can look like.
Both the Giants' and the Patriots' offenses are likely to make a number of big plays. Neither team fielded a reliable secondary this season, with New England giving up an average of 293.9 passing yards per game and the Giants giving up 255.1.
It's quite possible for both Brady and Manning to pass for over 300 yards on Sunday, but it's going to be the team that does so with the fewest mistakes that will ultimately win this contest.
To play a near-flawless football game is a lot to ask of a team, whether that's in Week 6 or in the Super Bowl. Both teams will have their fair share of errors, and I don't expect either quarterback to end the day without at least one turnover.
However, the Giants defensive line is going to be keyed in on producing turnovers, not just by forcing Brady to make bad throws that end up in the hands of their corners and safeties, but also by bringing pressure up front.
In the teams' Week 9 meeting, the Giants forced four Patriots turnovers. While four might be a tad high for this Sunday's game, it will come down to those all-important picks and fumbles that will help secure a New York win.
Brady is prone to frustration under pressure. As soon as he gets off his rhythm, he's unsure who to throw to and he often is intercepted as a result. If the Giants can control Brady's pace, he will play right into their hands.
Ultimately, this game has all the hallmarks of being a shootout, one augmented by hard-hitting defensive plays by both teams. However, the Giants are a more complete team than the Patriots, have momentum on their side and have more weapons at their disposal than the first time the two met in the Super Bowl.
While the same can be said for the Patriots—they are more dangerous than ever, to be sure—it's the Giants who are going to emerge victorious in this high-scoring game. I predict a New York victory and a 34-31 final score.
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