Super Bowl: A Closer Look at the Numbers

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This is the first time that the Super Bowl is a rematch of a regular season game since the 2007 season, in which these same Giants and Patriots played each other in the regular season finale, with the Patriots finishing their perfect regular season. In the 45 year history of the Super Bowl, there have only been 12 rematches of regular season games. It’s difficult to beat an NFL team twice in a season, as is evident by the results of those games, in which the loser of the regular season matchup came back to win the Super Bowl seven times, including three of the last four.

The Patriots had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL this season, averaging 32 points per game this season, good for third in the league. They have been held under 30 points five times this season, and were held under 20 points in one game against the Steelers. In the Patriots losses and lowest offensive outputs, New England was done in by turnovers. The Patriots turned the ball over 15 times, with Brady throwing 8 interceptions. Against the Giants, Brady threw for over 330 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two interceptions and fumbled, which the Giants turned into 10 points.

This will be the third rematch in this postseason for New York. After the Giants beat the Patriots in week nine, they lost four consecutive games. Two of those losses came to San Francisco, and Green Bay. The Giants exacted revenge against the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs by dismantling them at home to the tune of a 17 point win. The Giants followed that win up by beating the 49er’s in a rematch game in the NFC Championship game. That trend carried the Giants this far, but may aid the Patriots more considering that they lost to the Giants at home in the middle of the season.

The New York Giants have the best scoring defense this postseason, allowing only 13 points per game , including shutting out the Atlanta offense (the Falcons defense forced a safety against the Giants). New England, has the second best scoring offense in the playoffs, scoring 34 points per game, with a demolishing of Denver in the divisional round of the playoffs. It would be obvious to say that this game comes down to the New England offense against the New York defense, but the Patriot defense allowed 21 points per game in the regular season, while the Giants allowed 25. While the New England offense was expected to be explosive, the New York offense was also top ten in scoring this season, scoring 24 points per game in the regular season. And those stats are right, the Giants are the statistical quirk of this Super Bowl, having scored 394 points in the regular season, while giving up 400 points.

A number that will be shoved down our throats leading up to the Super Bowl is that the Giants got 48 sacks this season. The maligned Patriots defense wasn’t far behind, registering 40 in the regular season. Even into the postseason, the Giants have nine sacks in three games, while the Patriots registered eight in just two. New York has the more celebrated pass rush, which will be a major factor in the game, but the more important one may be the Patriots pressure on Manning, which won’t be a major headline anywhere you look.

There were two 99 yard touchdowns this season. The first came in week one, where Brady hit Wes Welker for a 99 yard touchdown against the Dolphins. The other came in week 16 where Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 99 yard score against the Jets. Welker had the number one statistical season in 2011, somewhat forgotten behind the tight end play. Cruz was the fifth best receiver during the regular season. Cruz was also second in the league in 40+ yard catches with nine during the regular season. Despite splitting catches, Cruz and teammate Hakeem Nicks are the top two receivers this postseason, with six 20+ yard catches, and two 40+ yard catches from Nicks.