Two weeks ago, the New England Patriots and New York Giants fought for their playoff lives and prevailed. Now, they will face off in Indianapolis at Super Bowl XLVI in an epic rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl.
New England was able to outlast Baltimore in the AFC Championship as Billy Cundiff missed a late field goal. However, the Patriots faced a huge scare in what has been a hot topic of conversation on the week leading up to the Super Bowl.Â During the AFC Championship, tight end Rob Gronkowski suffered an ankle injury, but was able to finish the game.
Gronkowski was forced into a walking boot for a few days. On Super Bowl media day, Gronkowski had removed the boot and was asked if he would be available for Sundayâ€™s game. Gronkowski repeatedly stated that he and the organization was taking it â€œday by day,â€ according to ESPN.com. Gronkowski has been a major part of New Englandâ€™s offense as he set the record for the most touchdowns (17) in a season by a tight end.
The Patriots are hoping to turn their fortunes around from four years ago when the Giants ended their perfect season.
Eli Manning is looking to get his second Super Bowl victory, which would surpass his brother Peyton and put him into an elite company of quarterbacks. There are some similarities and differences between the two teams from â€™07 and this year. The Giants still have a tough defense that is peaking at the right time. Despite the low regular-season stats, the Giants defense has been extremely improved this year.
One major difference for this yearâ€™s Giants team is the receiving core. The Giants have had stellar play from Victor Cruz to help them advance to the Super Bowl.
They have several solid receivers including Cruz, Mario Manningham, and Hakeem Nicks, making it difficult for opposing defenses to cover them all. The major difference for this yearâ€™s Patriots team from the last is the tight end play in their offense.
The Patriots have always had a top offense in recent years, but the great play from Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski has made them the best tight end tandem in the league. However, with Gronkowskiâ€™s health in question, the Patriots may have to adjust their game plan.
The biggest questions of this Super Bowl will be how the Patriots will defend the Giants receiving core and also how the Patriots will keep Tom Brady protected against the great Giants pass rush. New England turned the ball over four times in their Week 9 meeting. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick must figure out a way to cut down on turnovers, because this Giants team has been efficient on capitalizing on opponents turnovers this postseason.
Super Bowl XLVI will be a great event capped off by what should be an epic showdown by the two best teams of the 2011-12 season.
Although the Patriots have a great team, the Giants are just a much more balanced squad. With a dynamic receiving core that creates a dangerous offense, to a stout defense that has proved itself in the playoffs, Eli and company are poised to get their second Super Bowl title in five years. I have the Giants prevailing in a close game, 24-17.