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A closer look

The Baltimore Sun

There are questions about Brady's injured right ankle. He hurt it in the AFC championship game, in which he threw a season-worst three interceptions. (He had eight interceptions in 16 regular-season games.) But this is Brady's time. In three Super Bowls, he has thrown for six touchdowns and one interception for a 99.8 quarterback rating. Manning hasn't turned the ball over in the playoffs, but he threw an NFL-high 20 interceptions in the regular season. This could be the time that Manning costs the Giants with poor decisions.

Patriots WR Randy Moss vs. Giants cornerbacks

Although Moss has only two catches in the playoffs, he should be featured prominently in the game plan, especially because the Patriots are playing in the pass-friendly weather of Arizona. The Giants cornerbacks will take turns on Moss because they don't switch sides. They'll likely try to jam Moss at the line of scrimmage to take him off his routes, which could be costly. Moss burned New York for 100 yards and two touchdowns a month ago. At 6 feet 4, Moss will use his 4-inch height advantage over Sam Madison, Aaron Ross and Corey Webster.

Patriots LT Matt Light vs. Giants DE Osi Umenyiora

There's some bad blood in this matchup after Umenyiora accused Light of late hits in their previous meeting. Umenyiora is more athletic than Light and has a tremendous first step. Light didn't allow a sack the last time because he got help double-teaming Umenyiora, a strategy the Patriots will likely use again. Umenyiora led the Giants' pass rush with 13 sacks, but only seven came against regular starters at offensive tackle.

Patriots SS Rodney Harrison vs. Giants RB Brandon Jacobs

The Giants will want to control the clock, which means a commitment to a punishing ground attack. Jacobs, a 264-pound running back, has bowled over defenders at timely moments. He hasn't averaged more than 4 yards a carry in any game this postseason, but he has scored a touchdown in each one. To match New York's physical play, the Patriots will move Harrison into the box at times. Harrison is like a linebacker on the field and won't back down from Jacobs.

Patriots K Stephen Gostkowski vs. Giants K Lawrence Tynes

Each of the Patriots' three Super Bowl wins has been by three points. Tynes has had an up-and-down run with the Giants. He missed two game-winning field-goal attempts in the NFC championship game before hitting a 47-yarder in overtime. During the regular season, he missed four attempts from 29 to 38 yards and failed on two extra-point conversions. This is the Patriots' first Super Bowl without Adam Vinatieri. Gostkowski is 1-for-2 on field goals in the playoffs, but he connected on nine of his final 10 in the regular season.

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