The New York Giants have gone from postseason underdogs to NFC champs largely on the strength of outstanding performances by their defense. For New England to avenge their Week 9 loss to the G-Men, they will have to avoid letting that defense dictate the game, a task that starts with containing Jason Pierre-Paul and the mighty New York line.
The Giants have racked up a combined nine sacks in the postseason, an effort that paid particular dividends in holding Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to a mere 20 points. Moreover, the first meeting between these two teams saw Brady sacked twice and pressured into throwing a pair of interceptions (one to D-lineman Mathias Kiwanuka).
In their own postseason run though, the Patriots' overlooked offensive line has done an admirable job of protecting Tom Brady. He’s only been sacked once in their two playoff games, which is no mean feat considering that the Ravens’ defense tied New York’s with 48 sacks in the regular season, good for third-most in the league.
The Giants have survived subpar games from the pass rush before, but against New England they can’t afford a letdown. New York’s secondary has done an appalling job of covering opposing tight ends this season—Vernon Davis had 112 of the 49ers’ 196 receiving yards in the NFC title game—and even if Rob Gronkowski is slowed by his bum ankle, Aaron Hernandez is more than capable of picking up the slack.
The Giants are playing too well to get blown out, even by Brady’s high-powered offense. Without a dominant showing from their pass rushers, though, they’ll give up too many points for Eli Manning to equal.