Both the New York Giants and the New England Patriots squeaked out a Conference-championship win on Sunday, but as they take two weeks off to rest, both teams will be searching for an edge going into Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5.
It's difficult to tell which offense performed better against the excellent defenses of the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.
The Patriots offense managed 330 yards at home against Baltimore. On the road and in the rain, the Giants managed 352 yards against arguably the best defense in the NFL, but also had the overtime period to add to that total.
From an offense standpoint, New York probably out-shined the Patriots on Sunday, but by a very slim margin.
The 49ers and Ravens both boasted a rather under-rated offense. Most NFL experts went into the 2011 NFL season with skepticism about both clubs' offenses, but each over-achieved this season.
On Sunday, New England's defense conceded 398 total yards to Baltimore. The Ravens came within a simple 32-yard field goal of tying the game, and wide receiver Lee Evans's dropped pass in the end zone could have knocked New England out of the playoffs. Quarterback Joe Flacco, who struggled against Houston in the Divisional playoffs, had a solid game at Gillette Stadium, throwing for 306 yards on 22 completions.
Meanwhile, the 49ers' offense had only 328 total yards in a game that including overtime. The Giants failed to adequately slow the 49ers' ground game, but certainly contained Alex Smith. The 49ers' quarterback completed just 46 percent of his passes, and fell short of throwing for 200 yards.
Again, by a slim margin, the Giants' defense looked better than the Patriots' defense.
Then there's the regular season. The Giants weren't expected to win their division, and seemed to only have an outside shot to make the playoffs. The Patriots, on the other hand, have been perennial Super Bowl contenders for the past decade.
It's difficult to gauge which team should feel more confident going into the Super Bowl. Both teams have plenty to feel good about heading into Indianapolis trip.
But the Giants seem to have a slight edge in momentum as they are riding a strong winning streak, and simply for having exceeded expectations this season.