The keys to the game have been laid out for a couple weeks now. The Giants have to pressure Tom Brady and get physical with Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski so he has trouble getting off the line with his injured ankle.
The Patriots need to run the ball and force the Gints front four to at least give running backs a passing glance on their way to Brady.
And so on.
But here are some considerations.
All week the slight edge in terse has been with the Patriots, who seem to be remembering that it was the Giants who last beat them this year, 10 games ago, and the Giants who ruined a historic perfect season in Super Bowl XLII. That wont be on the New England minds at game time but anything that provides motivation during the week translates into preparation, and nobody does that better than Bill Belichick teams.
The early guess here is that Belichick will come at Eli Manning and the New York offense with something previously unseen. Maybe its a 2-5 package for added linebacker support against the running of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, as well as a coverage maze underneath for Manning and blitz worries for the New York line.
And during the week, two Giants pass rushers pointed out that New York has lost games despite big sack totals. Rex Grossman was sacked four times and the Redskins still beat the Giants, and the Seattle Seahawks shook off six sacks to win by 11.
Both teams are 3-1 all-time in Super Bowls and both coaches have won Super Bowls. Both quarterbacks have won Super Bowls. The Giants have won five straight coming into this game; the Patriots have won 10.
All of which means that even with the firepower on both sides under center, this game will be close.
Patriots 24 Giants 23