New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts after defeating the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 during the 2011 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

Patriots Open as Small Favorite

The New England Patriots opened as a small favorite 3.5 point over the New York Giants with the Superbowl odds and that is likely to fluctuate in the two weeks leading up to game day as this looks to be an even matchup. It is so even that it may come down to a last second score as was the case four years ago when the Giants upset the Patriots on a touchdown in the final seconds to shatter the Patriots dreams of an undefeated 19-0 season.

A majority of the players from that game are gone but the makeup and style of the two teams makes for what looks to be an even matchup in the Superbowl. Just seven New England Patriots return from that 2007 Super Bowl team while 12 Giants are back this time around.

The big difference in this game is what has not changed and that is quarterback Eli Manning of the Giants and quarterback Tom Brady of the Patriots. In Manning’s case he has emerged as a quarterback that is no longer under question about his elite status, as was the case four years ago, and is now secure in his place as a respected leader, clutch performer, and picture passer.

For Brady the road grows ever closer to a first ballot Hall of Fame spot in Canton, Ohio. Brady is without question the best quarterback in the game, an efficient machine like winner that puts the Pats in position year after year.

The ownership contrast is quite interesting between the teams as Tim Mara heads the Giants group with the Mara family being in charge of the Giants for a third generation. The Mara’s are the ultimate old school ownership clan in that they are low key and let the product on the field speak for itself. With coach Tom Coughlin, as button down of a coach as there is, the Mara’s have the perfect company man leading the team on the gridiron.

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