That low-scoring contest has been indicative of most of their meetings as three of the four match-ups have gone under the total. In fact, the last time they met on Nov. 6, the two teams combined to score 44 points despite a a 51.5 posted total.
Tom Brady has had pretty decent numbers the last three contests against the Giants, averaging 321 yards per game with a 64-percent completion percentage and five touchdowns compared to two interceptions. Nevertheless, he has won just one of those games.
On the other side, Eli Manning has been extremely consistent, throwing for 250, 251 and 255 yards in the three meetings, completing 58 percent of his tosses, three of which fell into the hands of the Patriots defense. Despite those totals, he's thrown eight touchdown passes - three more than Brady.
Most of the recent Super Bowls have favored the under, including the previous match-up between these two clubs. In fact, only two of the last seven games went over the total and both of those contests involved the Steelers.
If the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, they will have followed their own footsteps of winning three road playoff games and then the Super Bowl. Furthermore, another victory will mark the fourth time in the last seven years a wild-card representative has gone on and taken the big prize.
One thing is for certain, they will not be underestimating New England despite their recent success against coach Bill Belichick's squad. The Patriots are very capable of winning their first title since 2005 and, in fact, should be hungrier than New York since they have not won the Super Bowl in seven years.
On the other hand, the Giants beat New England this season with wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and running back Ahmad Bradshaw out of the lineup, and the addition of those two skilled players should keep this one close throughout.
Four years ago, I predicted a Giants' cover along with a possible upset in Super Bowl XLII. I am less confident about New York's chances of covering this time around, considering the line is only three points.
New England is a far better team than it showed last weekend against Baltimore, which has one of the better passing defenses in the NFL, and this time around, the Pats take on a defense that ranked 29th against the pass this season. Sure, the Giants have fared much better in this category during the postseason, but it's asking a lot to shut down Brady and his offensive arsenal after they played so poorly against Baltimore. Conversely, Manning has clearly reached "elite" status and New England's pass defense is just as bad as New York's, so this contest should be evenly matched.
The Rematch Favors The Loser
When two teams meet for the Super Bowl after playing each other during the regular season, the loser of the regular season game has come back to win the Super Bowl the last three times.
Ironically, it happened when these two clubs met a few seasons ago. The Giants won the Super Bowl as 12.5-point underdogs after New England prevailed in the final week of the regular season, 38-35, as a 13-point favorite.
The Patriots also were involved in comparable circumstances back in 2001. They beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, 20-17, as two-touchdown underdogs after losing to St. Louis, 24-17, as eight-point dogs during the regular season. Two years earlier, the Titans faced the Rams in Week 8, winning outright as three-point underdogs, 24-21. Still, St. Louis bounced back to win the Super Bowl, 23-16, as a seven-point favorite.
New England is faced with a scenario similar to the Rams that year. The Patriots, who were favored and lost the regular-season match-up, are now the betting choice to win the rematch.
Will New York be able to stop the streak at three or will New England continue the trend and make it four straight? The one thing going for the Giants is their ability to hold onto the football. Coach Tom Coughlin's club has committed just one turnover in three postseason games.
It is interesting to note that both squads did not have much success against playoff-bound teams during the regular season. New England was 1-2 in beating Denver and losing to Pittsburgh and the Giants. New York's lone win came against the Patriots. The Giants lost to New Orleans, Green Bay and San Francisco.
On the positive side, New York has bounced back with solid playoff performances, including victories over two of those teams, the Packers and 49ers.
I am not 100-percent confident in the Giants' ability to win this game outright or even to cover the three-point spread. However, I am convinced they are good enough to keep the game inside single digits. Additionally, I feel the final score will be similar (or slightly higher) to this season's earlier meeting when New York came away with the 24-20 victory.
When those two beliefs merged together, the best way to attack Super Bowl XLVI is to play a teaser, taking New York plus nine points along with under 61.5 points.