New York City and Boston will renew their rivalry on the football field when the New York Giants battle the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday.
This is a rematch of Super Bowl XLII when the Giants beat the Patriots 17-14 on an Eli Manning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left.
This year, the Giants were 7-7 after 14 games in a season that seemed lost.
Coach Tom Coughlin was on the hot seat with a defense that ranked 26th in the NFL.
New York ended the regular season strong by beating the Jets and Cowboys to clinch the NFC East title.
In the playoffs, the Giants beat the Falcons 24-2 in the wild card round before two big road wins over the Packers and the 49ers.
The Giants team MVP this year is Manning, who has made a great case for showing why he is an elite quarterback this year after throwing for over 4900 yards and 29 touchdown passes.
Manning’s strength is his ability to focus and keep calm in big games. He is even-keeled and makes great decisions when the game is on the line.
Manning has a great group of receivers led by Hakeem Nicks, who has great hands, and Victor Cruz, who has emerged as an elite player after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2010.
The New England Patriots are looking for their first championship since 2004 and their fourth in this century.
Future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick and his two-time MVP quarterback Tom Brady have led the Patriots for over a decade.
Brady and Belichick are playing to join Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw as the only coach-quarterback duo to win four championships together.
The Patriots strength is the passing game, where Brady throws to three guys who all have over 79 receptions on the year.
The best of Brady’s receivers is Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is a huge target at 6 foot 6 inches tall and 260 pounds. He runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.
Gronkowski caught 17 touchdowns in the regular season, a record for tight ends.
The offense also features Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, who are key weapons for Brady.
A high scoring affair
Both teams’ weaknesses is their pass defenses.
The Patriots have the 31st ranked pass defense and the Giants are 29th in the league. With both quarterbacks on top of their game, a high scoring affair is expected.
These two teams played each other in Week 9 of the 2011 regular season with the Giants winning 24-20 on a Manning-led 80-yard drive ended by a 1-yard pass to Jake Ballard.
The last two times the Patriots and Giants played, the key to the Giants’ wins were the defensive line getting pressure on Brady.
In Super Bowl XLII, the Giants sacked Brady five times and pressured him on several other occasions. This year Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, who all are great pass rushers, present the biggest factor in this game.
If they can put constant pressure on Brady, it will be hard for the Patriots to move the ball through the air.
This will be a higher scoring game than the Super Bowl four years ago. Manning will cement his legacy as an elite quarterback by leading the Giants to a 31-27 win over the Patriots.