Tom Brady f the New England Patriots celebrates a touchdown by teammate BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New York Giants are scheduled to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The two teams last met in the Super Bowl in 2008, where the Giants defeated the Patriots to win Super Bowl XLII. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
They won't be on the field at the same time, but as the buildup for the 2012 Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots continues let's go position-by-position and compare the offenses for the two Super Bowl combatants.
Tom Brady of New England is a seven-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro with three Super Bowl rings, two Super Bowl MVPs and two regular-season MVPs. At 31, he is still at the top of his game.
Eli Manning is coming off a career season in which he passed for 4,933 yards and led sixth fourth-quarter victories. Manning has one Super Bowl title, a Super Bowl MVP and two Pro Bowl berths.
There will forever be comparisons between these two. This is the first time in NFL history two quarterbacks with Super Bowl MVPs have faced each other in a Super Bowl game. There was also Manning's preseason assertion that he was an elite quarterback in Brady's class, which he has backed up all season with his play.
Advantage: Patriots ... In reality, giving the advantage to New England is splitting hairs. These are both great quarterbacks at the height of their powers. Giving the nod to Brady, though, is simply acknowledging the resume.
The Giants rushed the ball for a league-worst 89.2 yards per game during the regular season, but have been getting 117.3 yards per game during the playoffs, and averaging 4.2 yards per carry while doing it. New York ran for a season-best 172 yards in the playoff opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Giants have a two-headed rushing attack with Ahmad Bradshaw (659 yards) and Brandon Jacobs (571 yards). Bradshaw (cracked bone in his foot) did not play in the Giants' 24-20 victory over New England in the regular season. Danny Ware is a capable third-down back.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis (667 yards, 3.7 per carry) was New England's leading rusher during the season. Danhy Woodhead is a situational player for the Patriots. New England has been using tight end Aaron Hernandez (eight carries, 70 yards) as a running back to try and generate a ground game.
New England has the amazing duo of Rob Gronkowski (90 catches, 1,327 yards, 17 touchdowns) and Hernandez (79 catches, 910 yards, seven touchdowns). Gronkowski suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game, so his effectiveness in the Super Bowl might be an issue.
The Giants got a good season from Jake Ballard (38 catches in 14 games), and reserve Travis Beckum has seven postseason catches. Ballard, Beckum and third tight end Bear Pascoe can't compare to Gronkowski and Hernandez, however. Really, no one can.
Wes Welker led New England with 122 catches, and he is an incredible weapon in New England's short passing game. After that, though, the Patriots rely heavily on their tight ends. Veteran Deion Branch was second among the wide receivers with 51 catches.
The Giants have a trio of explosive wide receivers. Victor Cruz has, of course, been the big story all season. In his second season, Cruz caught 82 passes for a franchise record 1,536 yards after having no NFL receptions entering the season. Cruz caught 10 passes in the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco. Hakeem Nicks had 1,192 yards on 76 catches. Nicks has been on fire in the playoffs with 18 catches for an average of 18.6 yards per reception and four touchdowns. Mario Manningham is a big-play third receiver who had 39 catches.
Advantage: Giants ... New England's offense is built around its tight ends. The Giants offense is built around these guys.
The Giants have struggled with injuries and inconsistency in their offensive line all season. Left tackle David Deiehl, left guard Kevin Boothe, center David Baas, right guard Chris Snee and right tackle Kareem McKenzie are hardly a stellar group. Football Outsiders ranks the Giants line 28th in the league in run blocking and sixth in pass blocking. The Giants struggled mightily in pass protection against San Francisco as Manning was sacked six times.
The Patriots have Matt Light at left tackle, Logan Mankins at left guard, Dan Connolly at center, Brian Waters at right guard and rookie first-round draft choice Nate Solder at right tackle. Football Outsiders ranks the Patriots No. 2 in run blocking efficiency and No. 8 in pass blocking efficiency. This group will have its hands full with the Giants defensive front, but it is better than the the group the Giants use in front of Manning.