The rematch that every Patriots fan has been waiting for since Asante Samuel‘s dropped interception and David Tyree‘s absurd helmet catch, the Patriots now have a chance for payback against the team that ruined what could have been the greatest season in NFL history.
Throughout the 2011 NFL playoffs, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants have proved to be fairly similar teams. Both teams have explosive offensives led by Pro Bowl quarterbacks, both defenses are playing at a much improved level compared to earlier in the season and both teams have been battling injuries for the better part of the year.
The most significant of these injuries being the left ankle injury that record-setting tight end Rob Gronkowski sustained late in the third quarter of New England’s 23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Barring any setbacks, Gronk appears to be good to go for Super Bowl Sunday.
Eli Manning is having one of the best seasons of his career, helped in part by the Giants dangerous wide receivers led by Hakeem Nicks and UMass alum Victor Cruz, who finished Sunday’s playoff game with 10 catches for 142 yards.
The Patriots defense has done a decent job defending the pass so far this postseason, but they have done so without facing a top-tier, or even a middle of the pack, quarterback. A healthy Patrick Chung and Brandon Spikes certainly give the defense a little bit of a spark, but will it be enough to hold Eli and the Giants in check come Feb. 5?