Scouting report

The Baltimore Sun


Edge: Patriots

Eli Manning hasn't thrown an interception in 85 postseason passes, but Tom Brady is 14-2 in the playoffs, including 3-0 in the Super Bowl.

Running backs

Edge: Even

Laurence Maroney dominated in the AFC championship game, and Kevin Faulk has been the Patriots' unsung hero this season. The Giants' 1-2 punch of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw can be dangerous.

Wide receivers

Edge: Patriots

New England has the NFL's elite receiving group: Randy Moss is a touchdown machine, and Wes Welker is Brady's security blanket. New York's Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer are above average.

Tight ends

Edge: Patriots

Kevin Boss is more of a complete player than injured Jeremy Shockey. Still, New England's Benjamin Watson is a weapon in the red zone. (Two of his three catches in the playoffs have been for touchdowns.)

Offensive line

Edge: Patriots

Three New England linemen - left tackle Matt Light, left guard Logan Mankins and center Dan Koppen - are going to the Pro Bowl. New York's offensive line is underrated but nothing special.

Defensive line

Edge: Even

The Giants have scary pass rushers in Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. The Patriots' defensive front - especially Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork - curtail the run.


Edge: Giants

New York middle linebacker Antonio Pierce is the backbone of the defense, and weak-side linebacker Kawika Mitchell has stepped up his play. New England's linebackers have begun to look old, although Mike Vrabel is a do-it-all player.


Edge: Patriots

New England cornerback Asante Samuel is a ball magnet, and safety Rodney Harrison is a physical presence in the box. New York's defensive backfield is a weakness, but cornerback Corey Webster has played better lately.

Special teams

Edge: Even

Both teams have the potential to break long returns, especially on kickoffs with the Patriots' Ellis Hobbs and the Giants' Domenik Hixon. Both teams also have inconsistent kickers.


Edge: Patriots

New England's Bill Belichick rarely loses when he has two weeks to prepare for a team. New York's Tom Coughlin was on the hot seat all season.


Edge: Patriots

New England has 20 players with Super Bowl experience. New York has three.


Patriots, 34-17

Bad ankle or not, Brady is golden in the Super Bowl. He'll finish off a perfect season with a near flawless performance.

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