10 Keys to Super Bowl XLVI
1) Pressure Tom Brady.Some of the names changed, but the philosophy is just as simple as it was four years ago. The Giants sacked Brady five times in Super Bowl XLII: two were by Justin Tuck while Michael Strahan, Jay Alford and Kawika Mitchell each had one. Now players like Jason Pierre-Paul will be the new variables in the old formula.
2) Keep an eye on Aaron Hernandez.With Rob Gronkowski nursing an ankle injury, Aaron Hernandez can be just as effective and versatile. Tight ends usually find success against the Giants when they are in zone coverage, so Perry Fewell will be mixing it up on Sunday.
3)Tackle.This is one of those obvious ones, but the Patriots don't have much success throwing the long ball. Rather, they can crush defenses with breaking tackles and finding space for chunks of yards after the catch.
4) Keep the balance.Without running back Ahmad Bradshaw and center David Baas in the regular-season matchup, the Giants still racked up 111 yards on 29 carries in the victory. The run game hasn't been pretty all season, but it has been effective when the Giants stick with it. They will need to do so in Indy to keep the Patriots off balance.
5) No early mistakes.In one of the biggest sporting events in the world, players will have some anxious energy in the early going. Get that first hit in, take a breath, and get engrossed in the X's and O's.
6) Attention to detail. Two of the most prepared coaches will be playing a game of chess on Sunday. You know Tom Coughlin has drawn up anything Bill Belichick could possibly throw at him. It will be time to execute.
7) Put a dent in Wes Welker. Arguably the best slot receiver, Welker will get his catches. In three career games against the Giants, he has 31 catches and hit the 100-yard mark in each of them. Like with the tight ends, the Giants will mix it up to contain him the best they can.
8) Someone come out of the woodwork again. In the NFC Championship, it was Devin Thomas and Jacquian Williams. Four years ago, it was David Tyree. There are no small plays in the Super Bowl.
9) Recapture the "battletested" mentality. While the week in between gave a chance for some to lick their wounds, the Giants would have liked to play right after the San Francisco game. They need to recapture that momentum to come out strong.
10) Finish.It was the first thing Coughlin told his players in training camp and it will be the final word before they take the field in Lucas Oil Stadium.