The Patriots and Giants have met in the preseason a few times since Super Bowl XLI, but Sunday will be the first meeting between the two teams in which the game actually means something. No Patriots fan wants to remember that game, but it was hard not to this week with the two teams facing off for the first time.
Rewatching the final drive of that game in which Plaxico Burress scored the winning touchdown with 35 seconds left, it is still hard to believe the Patriots actually lost that game. From Ellis Hobbs falling down on Burress’ touchdown catch, Asante Samuel dropping an interception, Jarvis Green and other members of the defensive line failing to sack Eli Manning on a 3rd and 5, and David Tyree making a miraculous catch, the Patriots had so many chances to put the game away on the final drive.
Players and coaches from both sides are quick to point out that what happened in that game has nothing to do with Sunday’s matchup. While that may be true, the Giants have a defensive line very similar to the one in the Super Bowl that caused the Patriots’ offensive line and quarterback Tom Brady havoc.
The Giants still have defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora playing for them now. Protecting Brady will be one of the bigger keys to the game for the Patriots. In the Super Bowl the high-powered Patriots offense only scored 10 points, and the Giants pass rush was a major factor for that.
The Patriots on the other hand only have one defensive player on the roster that played in the Super Bowl, and that is Vince Wilfork. One can say the Patriots defensive hasn’t been the same since this game.
The Patriots and Giants met in the final game of the preseason this year, but the majority of the Giants starters did not play, as they were playing on only three days rest. The Patriots starters played about a quarter, but did not really run anything except basic plays because of the fact that they would be meeting again.
Even though revenge for Super Bowl XLI isn’t on the Patriots’ players minds, coming off a tough loss to the Steelers last week this is a big game and the players need to be ready to go.