Super Bowl 2012: 5 Ways the New York Giants Will Beat the New England Patriots
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
The backdrop of the 2008 Super Bowl celebration read, "We Wanted It More."
Who wants it more this year?
Both teams come in to the Super Bowl extremely driven and motivated to take home the Lombardi Trophy.
Here are a few things the New York Giants have to do if they want a Super Bowl victory on Sunday.
Hope Eli Manning Has the Ball Last, Not Tom Brady
Manning and Brady are both having spectacular seasons.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Eli Manning has played brilliantly in crunch time this season.
He has proven he can do it against the New England Patriots as well. In Super Bowl XLII, he drove downfield in a stunning drive that resulted in a game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds remaining.
Earlier this season, he drove downfield in a drive that started with 1:36 remaining in the game. He finished that drive with a touchdown to Jake Ballard with 15 seconds remaining.
Tom Brady is capable of driving downfield and doing the same thing if he is given enough time.
Fortunately for the Giants in that earlier regular-season matchup, they had the ball with only minutes left, and scored with only seconds left. They did not allow Brady to have a minute on the clock and stage a comeback of his own.
This game might be decided by the team with the ball with two minutes remaining.
The Giants have to make sure they get the ball last to avoid Brady doing his best Manning impersonation.
New York Eliminates the Tight Ends
The Patriots would not be in the Super Bowl if not for Gronkowski and Hernandez.
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
The most dynamic part of the Patriots offense is their duo of tight ends.
Rob Gronkowski, who is nursing a high ankle sprain, has 1,559 yards and 20 touchdowns this season entering the Super Bowl.
Aaron Hernandez has 1,031 receiving yards and eight touchdowns this year. He also has compiled 70 rushing yards this postseason.
The Giants' biggest task will be limiting the production of these two guys.
In New York's win this season against the Patriots, Gronkowski had eight receptions for 101 yards while Hernandez added four catches for 35 yards. Both had touchdowns as well.
Although New York controlled Hernandez, they allowed Wes Welker to grab nine catches for 136 yards. They need to pick their poison again in this one. They will give up yards, but can only allow for two of the three receivers to produce.
They barely won in their first matchup, and if Hernandez had a big game as well, it would have been a loss for the Giants.
The Defensive Line Gets to Tom Brady
Rich Schultz/Getty Images
The New York Giants have a couple different looks on the defensive line.
The defensive line combination of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka have played 74 snaps together in the regular season.
The highest amount of snaps they played together in one game this season?
The 26 that came against the New England Patriots in the Giants' 24-20 win.
New England, who led the league in points per game with over 32, had difficulties against the Giants defense.
The New York Giants as a whole had 46 sacks this season, good for fifth in the NFL.
The Patriots will likely rely on the passing game in this matchup, allowing the Giants to evaluate their attack with the front four. If they get to Brady and rattle him, mistakes might be made.
The more times they hit Brady, the more likely the Giants win this game.
Control the Turnover Battle
Bradshaw was a part of a controversial play in the NFC Championship game.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
In Super Bowl XLII in 2008, the New England Patriots and New York Giants each committed one turnover. The final score was 17-14. It is fair to say that a turnover for either team could have proved costly.
Along with the defensive line getting to Brady, the Giants will need to force turnovers by the Patriots.
If they cannot force any, then Manning, Bradshaw and the rest of the Giants must do their best to not commit any turnovers.
In the NFC Championship game, turnovers decided the Super Bowl representative.
A bounce one way or the other could have resulted in a different outcome. Manning was almost intercepted numerous times. Who knows what would have happened if the 49ers defense was able to pull in one of the passes that deflected off their hands.
And if Ahmad Bradshaw was not the beneficiary of a controversial quick whistle, the New York Giants might not be in Indianapolis today.
Footballoutsiders.com estimates a turnover in an NFL game contributes to four points on average.
If we use their math, then another New York turnover and the Giants would have lost to the Patriots in 2008.
Ignore the Expectations
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
The Giants may be the favorite in this Super Bowl in everyone's eyes but Vegas'. Las Vegas still continues to favor New England, but all of the hype this week has been about the Giants.
In 2008, they were huge underdogs against the Patriots and were not given much of a chance to defeat them. New England carried all of the pressure as they were in pursuit of the perfect season.
This year, the Giants went from the outside looking in on the playoffs all the way to the Super Bowl—all in a matter of weeks.
New York is riding a five-game win streak; every game in the streak was a must-win. They began their run on Christmas Eve against the New York Jets. It does not get more pressure-packed than facing the team that shares your stadium in basically a do-or-die game.
Week-by-week they have dismissed the pressure that has been a part of each game. They were underdogs in three of the five games they have won.
Although the line may say the Giants are the underdogs again, the media and fans seem to say otherwise.
Tom Coughlin is doing his best to keep the Giants modest: "It's still us against the world. That's the way we play it, period...We're still the underdogs. We still have an awful lot to prove," said Coughlin in a press conference this week.
The Patriots as the Vegas favorite is another reason that the Giants are motivated.
Ahmad Bradshaw feels insulted by being the underdog, saying "We're going to use it as an insult. And we're going to play with all our heart. We're going to give it our all and we're going to prove everybody wrong."
The Giants need to keep this perspective in order to avoid becoming cocky and letting the Patriots live up to their Vegas hype.