Super Bowl Spread: 3 New York Giants Who Will Ensure Underdog Win

Jeff ChaseSenior Analyst IIFebruary 4, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants in action against the Green Bay Packers during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The New York Giants have been deemed the underdogs in this weekend's Super Bowl matchup against the New England Patriots, but there are players on this team that can make a difference to that predicament.

The team comes into the big game with the Pats being three-point favorites. Both teams have been playing excellent football this postseason, so it is not a shock that the spread is close.

It will take a team effort to take down the mighty Patriots, but it certainly isn't out of reach. These players will need to show up in this game to make sure that happens.

 

Antrel Rolle: Free Safety

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 18:  Donte' Stallworth #19 of the Washington Redskins tries to get by Antrel Rolle #26 of the New York Giants  during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 18, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevan
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

It is no secret that the Patriots run a pass-heavy offense, one that likes to go up the middle a lot more than streaking down the sidelines. 

The team often finds wide receiver Wes Welker or tight end Rob Gronkowski up the middle, so it will be important for Rolle to be ready to get to them and stop the play before it goes for a huge amount of yards.

He already has 18 tackles this postseason, but the team really struggled to stop San Francisco 49ers' tight end Vernon Davis. Rolle only had four tackles that game, his worst game thus far in this year's playoffs.

 

Hakeem Nicks: Wide Receiver

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants makes a reception in the second half against Dashon Goldson #38 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco,
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Although wide receiver Victor Cruz received all the hype this season, nobody has been bigger for the Giants over the years than Nicks.

The former UNC standout has had yet another big season, totaling 1,192 yards with seven touchdowns. While that is impressive and all, he has been even better in his last three playoff games totaling 335 yards with four touchdowns.

He struggled in the team's last game against the 49ers only having 55 yards on five receptions, so it will be important for him to get things going.

The Giants have other options in Cruz and Mario Manningham, but the Giants have had much more convincing wins against their postseason opponents when Nicks goes off.

 

Eli Manning: Quarterback

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants reacts after he threw a 17-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter to Mario Manningham #82 against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

It shouldn't be a surprise that Manning is an important piece in this win, but the fact of the matter is that the former No. 1 pick is playing out of his mind right now.

He has nearly thrown for 1,000 yards this postseason, completing 76 passes for 923 yards. He has eight touchdowns to just one interception, being as consistent as anyone through these three playoff games.

He has done a great job in trumping all of his competitors this postseason, throwing for at least 300 yards in his last two games, as well as having three touchdown passes in each of the team's first two.

Manning has been making things happen with all of his receivers being healthy, and there is no reason that he will fall off against a Patriots' defense that lets up nearly 300 yards a game.

If No. 10 keeps playing the way he is, it will be a nearly impossible task for this Patriots defense to slow down this high-powered passing attack.

 

Jeff Chase is a Featured Columnist for the Chicago Cubs and Arizona State football.

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