The old adage is that lightning doesn't strike twice, but when it comes to beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, the New York Giants have all the tools to do so for the second time in four years.
It's tough to argue with the Patriots' success as they may very well have the most explosive offense in football thanks to quarterback Tom Brady. The fact that New England had the second-worst pass defense in the league during the regular season simply hasn't mattered because of the prowess of Brady and weapons like Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker.
The one thing that has proven successful in slowing Brady down over the years is a great pass rush. Few teams truly have one, but the Giants certainly do. The G-Men ranked third in the league during the regular season with 48 sacks, and they roll out a seemingly endless supply of quality pass rushers.
Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Chris Canty are all perfectly capable of providing a strong push. When the Giants miraculously defeated the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, they sacked Brady five times and consistently sent pass rushers straight up the middle so "Tom Terrific" couldn't step into his throws.
It certainly showed as the prolific Pats offense mustered a measly 14 points in the game. New York largely has the same group of pass rushers, only the athletic Pierre-Paul has replaced Michael Strahan, who was at the end of his career four years ago. With that in mind, there's no reason to think Big Blue can't turn the trick again.
If that isn't convincing enough, consider the fact that the Giants upset the Patriots 24-20 during the regular season in Foxboro, Mass. New York used a similar formula, and while Brady was only sacked twice, he was consistently pressured, leading to two crucial interceptions.
Also, just like in the Super Bowl, Giants quarterback Eli Manning led the G-Men on a dramatic game-winning drive. The Patriots took a 20-17 lead with a mere 1:36 remaining in the game and it looked as if they would escape with a victory. Manning led the Giants on a furious 80-yard drive, however, culminating in a touchdown to Jake Ballard with 15 seconds left.
Pretty much anyone would consider Brady to be a better overall quarterback than Manning, but perhaps Eli is better in the clutch. After all, Manning has twice led the Giants to late-winning drives over the Patriots, including once in the Super Bowl.
If that weren't enough, Manning was by far the best fourth-quarter quarterback in the league this season. He has an impeccable 110 rating as well as 15 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Even with pressure continually in his face against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, Manning somehow found a way to get the job done.
When you take into account an elite pass rush, an elite quarterback (particularly in crunch time) and a weak New England secondary, all the pieces are there for the Giants to come out on top again. It truly is incredible how much this year's Giants team resembles the squad of four years ago, and because of that I believe we'll see some Super Bowl deja vu.