Super Bowl Matchups: O-Lines

In first of a series, we take a unit-by-unit look at Sunday's game between the Patriots and Giants. Leading off, who has the edge between the offensive lines?

Offensive lines

With a pair of pass-heavy offenses, it's little surprise the Patriots allowed 32 sacks during the regular season and the Giants 28. That's despite being run by highly aware veteran quarterbacks with excellent pocket awareness.

Tom Brady has only been sacked more times once in his career, when he was dropped 41 times in 2001, his first season as a starter. It's far more an indication of how slanted the offense is to the passing game than it is a slight on the offensive line. OGs Logan Mankins and Brian Waters were voted to the Pro Bowl, and Mankins is the current standard bearer at the position. Strong and agile, he'll often pull for the ground game.

The main concern is at right tackle. With Sebastian Vollmer battling a back injury, rookie Nate Solder has been thrown into the fire. With Justin Tuck firing off that end, the Patriots might need to dedicate a running back or tight end to chip without losing track of Giants' sacks leader Jason Pierre-Paul. Brady has been sacked just once this postseason.

The Giants' offensive line was blamed for much of the team's midseason malaise. The team finished last in the league with just 89.2 rushing yards per game in the regular season, forcing similarly pass-dependent gameplans. While the run-blocking has gradually improved, Eli Manning has been sacked eight times in the playoffs and LT David Diehl is a popular target on Manning's blind side. C David Baas is the one to watch. He has been battling a neck injury and LG Kevin Boothe slides over when Baas is out of the lineup. RG Chris Snee remains the old reliable of the unit and the Giants rely on his agility in the ground game.


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