Sunday’s highly anticipated game between the New England Patriots and New York Giants isn’t just another Super Bowl, it’s the sequel to what many consider the best of the previous 45 Super Bowls between these two teams four years ago.
This season, as with that season, the Patriots were expected to reach the Super Bowl. This season, as with that season, few outside the Giants’ locker room expected them to be the Patriots’ Super Bowl opponent – this time at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis.
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Five former Seahawks will participate in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday:
This season, the Patriots rode yet another exceptional performance by Tom Brady (5,235 passing yards and 39 touchdown passes) to a 13-3 record and the top seed in the AFC. In the postseason, they have dispatched the Denver Broncos by 35 points and Baltimore Ravens by three.
The Giants, meanwhile, had more forks stuck in them than all the baked potatoes in Idaho as they were losing four in a row to fall to 6-6. Tom Coughlin’s job was in jeopardy (again) and Peyton Manning’s position as the best quarterback in his family was secure. But the always-say-try Giants won three of their last four regular-season games and captured the NFC East title with a victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the final game of the 2011 season. In the postseason, the Giants held the Atlanta Falcons to two points on wild-card weekend and then took to the road to beat the NFC’s top two seeds – the 15-1 Green Bay Packers and 13-3 San Francisco 49ers – to claim the conference championship.
On Feb. 3, 2008, the Patriots entered Super Bowl XLII “clean” – 16-0 in the regular season, and having scored at least 30 points in 12 of those games; 2-0 in the postseason, with an 11-point win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and a nine-point win over the San Diego Chargers.
The Giants? They had the keys to the backdoor that season as well. They entered the postseason as a wild-card, despite their 10-6 record, and then had to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (by 10), Dallas Cowboys (by four) and Packers (by three) – all on the road – to reach the Super Bowl.
But thanks to some late Eli Manning magic, the Giants pulled a 17-14 victory from the top of David Tyree’s helmet to spoil the Patriots’ march to perfection.
So similar, yet so different.
The Patriots are the expected participant in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday; the Giants the opponent that exceeded expectations.
So, who wins “The Sequel”? We asked seven Seahawks for their prediction. Remember, the Seahawks upset the Giants in Week 5 this season. The last time the Seahawks played the Patriots was in 2008, and they lost by three points. Here’s who the current players favor in Sunday’s Super rematch:
Score: Giants, 21-14
Score: Patriots, 24-21
Score: It will be close
Score: Patriots, by a lot
Score: I don’t really know, no one has a clear-cut advantage
Score: Patriots, 24-14
Wide receiver Ben Obomanu: “I’m going Giants. It’s always about the team that’s been hot. They have a lot of confidence and the defense is playing pretty well, too. Eli Manning is having a great year, a great postseason. I think with all the attention on his brother, he has a big chip on his shoulder to go out and do well and get another Super Bowl to top his brother a little bit. I think some of those things kind of play a big role to him, as far as silencing some of his critics.”
Score: Giants, 35-28
So that’s three for the Giants, three for the Patriots and one too close to call. Talk about prediction parity.