BIG BLUE WILL HAVE BRADY SEEING GHOSTS ... AGAINBy Rich Cimini
The Giants' four-defensive end package is nicknamed "NASCAR." On Sunday, the Giants will unleash NASCAR in the city known for its speedway.
This will cause trouble for the Patriots' Tom Brady because, unlike most teams, the Giants have the ability to pressure the quarterback with a four-man rush. Sometimes, when they want extra speed on the field, they go to their unusual four-end defensive line -- Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka.
It could be a hard day's night for the Patriots' offensive line.
The four ends played 74 snaps together in the regular season, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and it's interesting to note their season high (26) came in Week 9 against the Patriots. They pressured Brady into two ugly interceptions in that game, a Giants victory.
At times, they made him look bad. On the first play of the third quarter, Brady dropped back and flinched for no good reason, thinking he was about to get hit. In reality, no one was within a few yards of him, but that's what happens when a quarterback absorbs a lot of hits. He starts to see ghosts.
The Giants also have the ability to use defensive tackles in their four-man rushing package, and it still adds up to pressure on the quarterback. They don't have to rely on exotic blitzes and pressure-oriented schemes. In fact, they recorded 34 sacks when rushing four or fewer, second-most in the league.
There will be a lot of pressure on Patriots LT Matt Light. The Giants produced 25 sacks from the right-end position (many of them by Pierre-Paul), so Light will have to bring his A game. They also have the ability to move players around the formation. At times, Tuck will rush from the middle.
In Super Bowl XLII, the Giants established the blueprint for beating Brady: Hit him. A lot. They intend to copy that.
Rich Cimini is in Indianapolis covering Super Bowl XLVI for ESPNNewYork.com.
GIANTS' PASS RUSH WILL BE A FACTOR, BUT WON'T BE THE FACTORBy Mike Rodak
Yes, containing the Giants' pass rush will be a formidable task for the Patriots. In their last meeting, a third-quarter blitz by Giants linebacker Michael Boley turned into a strip-sack of quarterback Tom Brady, and a blink-and-you-missed-it touchdown run by Brandon Jacobs resulted.
That's the danger for the Patriots here. Big third down plays, in a neutral but loud venue, where the Giants can get after Brady and make him uncomfortable, bring back some memories of Super Bowl XLII four years ago.
But is the Giants' pass rush Brady kryptonite? Maybe I need to brush up on my retro comics, but kryptonite is some pretty serious stuff. Even a superhero couldn't overcome its awesome power.
Let's be real here. The Giants' pass rush is good. It will be a factor. But it will not be the deciding factor of this game. It was arguably better four years ago, and the Patriots were still a missed interception or a missed sack of Eli Manning away from winning that game.
In the AFC Championship Game, the Ravens brought to Foxborough a powerful front seven of their own. Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis. And who was credited with the only Ravens sack in the game? Paul Kruger. Take note, Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck.
Even the Bills (in Week 17) were able to take down Brady in the backfield four times and New England still hung 49 points on the scoreboard.
Just like in that game, and in Super Bowl XLVI, there's a lot more to football than one team's pass rush. It will help the Giants if they are able to pressure and hit Brady over the course of the game, but defense is a team effort, and the only thing that could be Patriots kryptonite is a complete team effort from Big Blue.
Mike Rodak is in Indianapolis covering the Patriots at Super Bowl XLVI.
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