Super Bowl Matchups: QBs

In Part 2 of a series, we take a unit-by-unit look at Sunday's game between the Patriots and Giants. This is the marquee battle: three-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady against one-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning.


One is uber-polished, known for his cool, calm dissections of defenses ... along with his supermodel wife and "GQ" covers. The other often looks like he got dressed in the dark and didn't bother to check his hair before rolling out the front door.

But it's the Giants' disheveled Eli Manning who has engineered a pair of dramatic fourth-quarter comebacks in the past two meetings. One was in Super Bowl XLII and the other in Week 9 of this season. Meanwhile, the Patriots' Tom Brady will tie John Elway's record with his fifth Super Bowl appearance and is a two-time Super Bowl MVP.

While both have Super Bowl titles on their resumes and are in the dropback passer mold, Manning and Brady have pointedly different styles.

Manning battled the propensity to sail the ball early in his career to become a more accurate passer, although he certainly still works best with the benefit of a strong play-action threat. He has an acute awareness of where all of his receivers are on the field and avoids a lot of sacks with last-second dump-offs or shovel passes — which can also get him into trouble. Manning has a lot of faith in his receiving corps, which overcame an early-season bout with deflected passes that led to a slew of turnovers. Manning has the arm strength to make any throw, and will spread the ball around judiciously.

Brady takes far more snaps out of the shotgun and will need to rely on quick releases to thwart the Giants' pass rush. He was hit 13 times in Super Bowl XLII, but just three times in Week 9. The question will be how he responds if the Giants' pass rushers are in his face and disrupting his ability to step into passes. Brady attacks the hashes, using his tight ends and WR Wes Welker to exploit mismatches. After saying he "sucked" in the AFC Championship Game, watch Brady's accuracy early on. The Patriots' offense thrives when he's hitting receivers in stride and setting them up to rack up yards after the catch.


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