When the Super Bowl kicks off at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sunday, it will be another example of the underdog New York Giants trying to play spoiler to the New England Patriots.
But not only the Giants defeat the Patriots four years ago in a Super Bowl upset, the Giants also defeated the Patriots earlier this season on the Patriots' home field, 24-20, on Nov. 6. That turned out to be the last team to beat New England this season.
Do the Giants have the Patriots' number?
New York forced four turnovers in their most recent clash. However, New England had more total yards (438 to 361), and quarterback Tom Brady threw for 342 yards.
This time, the Patritos won't have Rob Gronkowski at full strength, and Giants' quarterback Eli Manning has been on top of his game.
Though the game features two great offenses, the defenses will be highlighted.
The Patriots were second-worst in opposing passing yards in 2011, but the unit still have some intimidating weapons on defense.
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Vince Wilfork had another outstanding season, and defensive end Andre Carter also received a Pro Bowl selection, after leading the team in sacks. However, it may be up to 24-year-old cornerbacks Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington to slow down the Giants' offense by limiting big plays from Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
The Patriots' defense have the ability to over-achieve. Against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC title game, New England held Baltimore to just 20 points, even though their offense was clicking.
The Giants defense is led by a strong line that includes Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The 23-year-old finished fourth in the league in sacks with 16.5, and has been imposing against the run, as well. Former Pro Bowl safety Antrel Rolle led the team in tackles with 96 in 2011, and also had a pair of interceptions.
The line backing unit is rather obscure, but has had some bright spots this season. The cornerbacks excelled in the postseason, particularly against the Atlanta Falcons, who failed to do much damage despite a pair of big-play wide receivers.
In the regular season, the Giants' defense had some forgettable games, like giving up 424 total yards at home to a rather feeble Seattle Seahawks offense. New York's fortunes steadily improved as the defense regained its confidence and its ability to pressure the quarterback, as they did against MVP Aaron Rodgers and the unflinching Green Bay Packers offense in the divisional playoffs.
The Giants' defense will probably have to be at their best against New England. The Patriots have had one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL over the past decade, and a future Hall of Fame quarterback to lead the passing game.