If you’re a football fan, avid or casual, then you’ve heard the rumblings. You’ve noticed how undoubtedly similar this New York Giants team is to the 2007 squad, a team that got on a hot streak late and went all the way to the Super Bowl and ended what would have been a historic season for the once 18-0 Patriots. Don’t get it twisted though; this is not the same exact team, they’re BETTER and for a couple of reasons.
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A major contrast this team has with its 07’ counterpart is its absence of two former difference makers on both sides of the ball. On defense it was the well known sack king- Michael Strahan. Strahan holds the single season record for sacks and will most likely pass rush his way right into the hall of fame when he becomes eligible. On the other side of the ball it was Plaxico Burress. Yes the man who many non football fans would know for channeling his inner Cheddar Bob and shooting himself in the leg in a nightclub after the 2007 season. That incident (unfortunately) overshadowed his game clinching touchdown catch in the super bowl just days before.
Although, these guys are gone and were great in their Giant careers, they’ve been replaced with some youthful playmakers that any of the other 31 teams would love to have. The Giants (still) have a ferocious pass rush, who don’t fall too far from their super bowl tree ranked third this year with 48 sacks as opposed to the 50 they tallied in 07. Instead of Strahan this group is led by the second year phenom Jason Pierre Paul, who had a whopping 16.5 sacks this year. Veteran’s Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, two holdovers from the Super Bowl team, are still there and balling. They also replaced Plaxico and that group of receivers with some young blood. The giants trio of Manningham, Cruz, and Nicks, who in particular is setting postseason receiving records, are playing at Pro Bowl levels right now.
The biggest reason why the Giants will win the Superbowl is Eli Manning. Yes the same Eli manning that threw a league high 25 interceptions one year ago and would often times have you scratching your head thinking “this guy is Peyton’s brother?!” Well this has been a career defining year for Eli as he ranked 7th in passer rating, set a career high in yards and completions, while keeping his interceptions to a modest 16. The Same Eli who in the beginning of the season was mocked and ridiculed for saying he was an Elite quarterback. After winning his second playoff game in Lambeau field, one of the most difficult places to play, no one has a right to argue with him. He turned out a sensational performance and is the number one reason this team has had success this season. So with only 2 victories keeping him from his second Superbowl, the next time Eli says he’s elite, not a single person should laugh or chuckle, in fact he doesn’t even have to, his play says it all.