February 5, 2012

Defense, big plays will be the difference

Tom Brady took a beating in his last Super Bowl, and the Giants intend to do it again.

By TOM CANAVAN The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Offensively, Eli Manning has had a career year, and the Giants can match the Patriots point for point. With New York's running game struggling much of the season, the key will be keeping Manning upright. San Francisco sacked him six times and hit him 20 times overall in the NFC title game.

However, the Patriots' defense isn't in the same category as the 49ers.

Vince Wilfolk will stuff the middle, but Manning should have a field day against a shaky New England secondary. There's no way Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington and nickel back/receiver Julian Edelman can stop Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham and tight end Jake Ballard.

Championships often are decided by a big play, and Cruz and Nicks have been turning little plays into touchdowns all season.

With both offenses so formidable, former Bills coach Marv Levy thinks the game is going to be decided by a special teams play, a blocked punt or field goal, or some other play.

"Both teams are here because of special teams plays," Levy said. "When you get two very closely matched teams, look for the kicking game to determine the outcome."

Not likely. Not with the Giants' defense. 

FINAL SCORE: Giants 31, Patriots 17.


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