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When the Patriots have the ball

The Spokesman-Review

Unquestionably, the key for New York is slowing Randy Moss, who overwhelmed Giants cornerbacks and safeties in the last meeting. Moss had six receptions for 100 yards and two TDs as he broke Jerry Rice’s NFL mark with 23 touchdown catches. While Corey Webster (23) has made some big plays in the postseason, he’ll need help from Gibril Wilson (28) and the other safeties.

Of course, that usually leaves Wes Welker (83) with single coverage, and Welker can be destructive on underneath routes. He had 11 catches for 122 yards in the season finale.

There’s also Donte’ Stallworth (18) and Jabar Gaffney (10) for New York cornerbacks Webster, Sam Madison (29), rookie Aaron Ross (31) and R.W. McQuarters (25) to watch. The safeties have to handle tight end Benjamin Watson (84), who is extremely dangerous in the red zone.

Plus, there’s RB Kevin Faulk (33) on screens, flares and other short passes he turns into decent gains, particularly on first down.

Faulk won’t do a lot of running with RB Laurence Maroney (39) a focal point of the offense. Maroney has run for 244 yards and two TDs and is averaging 5.2 yards per carry.

Engineering it all is the league MVP, Tom Brady (12), who is 3-0 in Super Bowls, twice earning MVP honors. Unless the Giants get ample pressure on Brady with their standout linemen – Michael Strahan (92), Osi Umenyiora (72), Justin Tuck (91) and Fred Robbins (98) – and linebacker Antonio Pierce (58), Brady might get a third MVP.

Brady supposedly has a slight ankle injury. Or maybe coach Bill Belichick invented that to make his superb offensive line stauncher in its protection. Tackle Matt Light (72), guard Logan Mankins (70) and center Dan Koppen (67) are the standouts.

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