Super Bowl Matchups: DLs

In Part 5 of a series, we take a unit-by-unit look at Sunday's game between the Patriots and Giants. New England has indomitable Vince Wilfork while the Giants have a bevy of top-notch pass rushers.


The Patriots will throw a lot of packages at Eli Manning — 3-4 and 4-3 looks and even the occasional two-man front or whatever else Bill Belichick can dream up. A well-devised scheme can make up for the lack of elite individual pass rushers. But the star of the unit is nose tackle Vince Wilfork, who chews up double-teams and flat-out dominated the AFC Championship Game (six tackles, three for loss and a sack). Wilfork is extremely agile for a 325-pounder; he can penetrate the backfield and will slide out to end. He'll cause C David Baas and RT Kareem McKenzie fits.

The Giants' front line is a stark contrast, chock full of beastly pass rushers who can blow up passing games and create turnovers. They also have a good rotation inside, with the goal of creating long passing downs in which defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora get the green light as attack dogs. Pierre-Paul burst onto the scene with the athletic freak showing relentless hustle in chasing down quarterbacks in the backfield and ballcarriers downfield. Umenyiora recovered from a late-season ankle sprain and leads the NFL postseason with 3.5 sacks.


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