Patriots vs. Giants: 3 Key Matchups

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Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws the ball as he is pressured by Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) during the second quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady vs. Giants’ Offense

It’s that classic phrase: sometimes, the best defense is a good offense. It seems to apply to this game.

I just don’t see the guy on the Giants’ defense to stop Julian Edelman from catching 6-8 passes. I don’t know if anyone in football can stop Rob Gronkowski from scoring a touchdown or two. And even without Dion Lewis, New England will find a way to get James White and Brandon Bolden to catch some passes out of the backfield. They don’t turn the ball over. They just do everything.

It’s not really a matter of stopping them as much as slowing them down, not letting them get into too much of an offensive rhythm, and sprinkling in a few key defensive plays (maybe a turnover… or three?).

The way to do this, for this game, is to just keep them off the field as long as possible. The Giants established a sort of run-by-committee backfield against Tampa—if they can get that going, that’d certainly help. And players like Dwayne Harris and Rueben Randle will need to step up, run the right routes, and make those short-intermediate passes that’ll move the chains. It’s about controlling the clock, and at the very least limiting New England’s opportunities to score because, well, they take advantage of pretty much every one they’re given.

I’m not saying if the Giants do this they’ll stroll to victory, but it’ll give them the best chance of staying in this game. Mistake-free football is always the best formula for keeping a team in the game, but winning the time of possession battle isn’t a bad way of going about things either. It’s something the Giants will have to do if they’re going to stay close.

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