MANNING WILL FIND A WAY -- AGAINBy Ohm Youngmisuk
No matter how great the deficit or how little time is left in the fourth quarter, Eli Manning will find a way to lead his team to a win.
Just ask the Cardinals and Cowboys.
It also won't matter how many times he gets hit in the pocket. As the 49ers will tell you, this quarterback doesn't get rattled and is virtually unshakable.
Manning is having the finest season of his career. He'll finish it by beating Tom Brady again and hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy beneath a downpour of confetti.
The Giants quarterback also is in the prime of his career and has been so good this season that he can outduel Brady -- again. These two have met three times in the regular season and postseason combined. And Manning has taken the past two meetings.
It doesn't seem to matter how well Brady plays in the fourth quarter. If Manning gets a chance to respond, he'll deliver a winning drive. He stunned Brady and the Pats in Super Bowl XLII, and that was in February 2008, when he wasn't the elite and experienced quarterback he is today.
He did it again in November, when he calmly answered Brady's go-ahead touchdown with 1:36 remaining by marching 80 yards for the winning score with 15 seconds left.
Manning has won despite a lack of a strong running game and a shaky defense earlier in the season. Now his defense is playing at its best. And even if Brady gives the Patriots the lead late in the fourth, he'd better not leave time on the clock.
Otherwise, Manning will stick it to him again, and end any debate as to whether he is truly elite and in Brady's class.Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.
NO STOPPING BRADY WHEN HE HAS SOMETHING TO PROVEBy Mike Rodak
OK, so Tom Brady wasn't at his best the last time the Patriots and Giants met, on Nov. 6. Two interceptions. Quarterback rating of 75.4.
He also was mortal four years ago in Glendale, Ariz., hammered by pressure from Big Blue's agile defensive front. It wasn't Brady but rather Eli Manning making the winning drive and hoisting the Lombardi trophy.
And in the most recent AFC Championship Game, he even admitted he "sucked," throwing a critical interception on a boneheaded decision when his team could have put the game in the bag.
So why will Brady be the better quarterback over Manning on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVI? Quite simply, he won't let it happen again. Brady made a name for himself early in his career as a winner. A competitor. A charismatic leader. A champion.
Brady is 34 years old and knows the opportunities for him to add another championship to his legacy are dwindling. Just like the young, wide-eyed quarterback who led his ragtag veteran team to its first Super Bowl victory in 2001, Brady has something to prove. Can he win as the elder statesman, carrying the team on his shoulders more than he did early in his career? Is he the best quarterback to play the game? These are still questions that need to be answered, and Brady's time to do that is now.
And sure, the Giants' defense has tightened up in the playoffs, but it's barely above the Patriots in the basement of pass-defense statistics and isn't the same force it was in 2007. Playing in a dome, Brady will seize the chance to show the world why he's the best. Yes, Eli is becoming an elite quarterback, but he's no Tom Terrific.
Mike Rodak is in Indianapolis covering Super Bowl XLVI for ESPNBoston.com.
- Mike Reiss retweeted