Editors square off in Super Bowl showdown - Part 2

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Eli Manning

Gazette File Photo

"ANOTHER MANNING TO DISPOSE OF? THIS IS BECOMING UNFAIR." Eli Manning hopes to turn the tables next week and overshadow his older brother Peyton versus Tom Brady's intimidating New England Patriots.

I won’t bore you with over-hyped chatter about Tom Brady’s ankle and Randy Moss’ alleged beat-down of a Florida woman. The Giants won’t win Super Bowl XLII because of contrived distractions and mild high-ankle sprains. They’ll win because they’re an excellent football team playing like they refuse to lose.

New York’s drive has been apparent in the previous two weeks versus Dallas and Green Bay. Against the two top teams in the NFC, the G-Men have put up the kind of gut-check performances it takes to win a Super Bowl.

I’m talking about the drive behind last-minute and overtime interceptions by defensive backs R.W. McQuarters and Corey Webster, each of whom prevented game-winning drives in the divisional and conference championship rounds. Kicker Lawrence Tynes may have tried his best to lose against Green Bay, but there wasn’t a chance New York’s defence was letting Favre put the game away.

I’m talking about Plaxico Burress tearing what little is left of his left ankle ligament off the bone in a 154-yard performance in the freezing cold. If the Packers’ Al Harris and a torn ligament can’t stop him, New England’s Asante Samuel will have his hands full next Sunday.

But most of all, I’m talking about a team that possesses the one ingredient most necessary to take down the Patriots " a bona fide pass rush.

The key to phasing the league MVP this season has been to blitz him from every angle " no small feat facing a tough offensive line and a near-unflappable pivot.

If anybody can break through and rattle Brady, though, it’ll be Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. The Giants’ defence is exactly the force necessary to play at New England’s level.

The Patriots are perhaps the best football team ever " but don’t get caught up in their mystique.

Eli Manning has proved he can put together a solid game. Is there potential for a meltdown? Absolutely. But I’d rather have an inconsistent quarterback with big-game potential like Manning than a consistently average offence going up against the New England juggernaut.

The Giants proved in Week 17 that Belichick and Co. are more than beatable, and have only played better since that time.

That’s why I’ll take Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw, Plaxico Burress and a shot of cortizone to spoil New England’s perfect season.

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