Not one, not two, not three, not four, but five Super Bowls are soon to be under the belts of New England's dynamic Duo of coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. This blessed pair have made each others careers with a combination of skill, luck, and whatever other intangible you want to through in their. In a historic sense, these guys are fast approaching the stuff of legends and with three SuperBowl wins out of the four appearances, a fourth win would cement themselves as the best coach/QB combo of all time.
All they have to do is beat the New York Giants, who just happen to be the team to beat them the last time they were in this position.
The years between then and now may still feature the same quarterbacks under center and the same head coaches prowling the sideline but most other regards, this is a game that is going to be very different than the last one. To get ready to this titanic rematch, let's break down this Patriots team, taking a look at their road here and what players we need to keep an eye on.
The road to SuperBowl XLVI
The New England Patriots, unlike the New York Giants, started the season as the prohibited favorites to win the AFC, a tag they are more than used to having. The first six games were typical Patriots wins, marred only by a loss to the Buffalo Bills where Brady uncharacteristically threw 4 picks. Weeks 8 and 9, however were both losses to the Steelers and Giants respectively. The two losses caused many to doubt the ability of this team and whether they had what it takes to earn that number 1 seed.
In typical New England response, though, the Pats proved the doubters wrong and won the final eight games of the season to finish 13-2 , good for best in the AFC.
After enjoying a bye week, the Patriots dismantled the Denver Broncos 45-10 before hosting the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game. With a little luck and some help from the Ravens special teams, the Patriots edged out Baltimore 23-20 to earn the AFC's spot in the SuperBowl for the franchise's 7th time.
Key Players to Watch
Tom Brady: Brady had another monster season that saw him be the second QB to break Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season. For the year, he had 5235 yards on 65.6% passing with 39 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a QB rating of 105.6.
Rob Gronkowski: Bucking the trend, the main receiver for the Pats high flying offense was none other than tight end Rob Gronowski. Gronk had a breakout year that will go down as one of the best ever for the position. He is nursing an ankle sprain heading into the SuperBowl so his effectiveness may be limited. For the season he had 90 catches for 1327 yards with 17 touchdown grabs.
Kyle Arrington: Arrington is one of the few bright spot on a defense that hasn't had a lot to brag about this season. He led the league with 7 interceptions and will be vital in keeping Eli Manning in check.
The New England patriots have all the tools necessary to win their fourth SuperBowl but it isn't going to easy. With their questionable defense and with the uncertainty of the extent of TE Rob Gronkowski's injury, you can make a strong case for the Giants being favored in this game. However, whenever you have a Tom Brady, you have more than a fair shot to win and that's the defining edge that the Patriots have in this game.
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