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Giants

The words "special teams" make Giants fans cringe. From the Trey Junkin debacle to last year's game against the Eagles, special teams have not been friendly to Big Blue. Thankfully, at least through 19 games (and especially in the NFC Championship game), the Giants' special teams have actually been pretty solid this season.

Steve Weatherford replaced the mistake-prone Matt Dodge and proved to be one of the best under-the-radar free agent signings of the season. Aside from his excellent punting, Weatherford has saved many a bad snap on field goal holds, including a low snap on the NFC Championship game winner.

Tags: giants, New York Giants, patriots, positions, preview, special teams, Super Bowl
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Giants

The talent is there for this unit to be a strong one. Of the three safeties and three corner backs who receive most of the playing time, there are three first round picks and three second round picks. The problem with this unit has been health and consistency.

Corey Webster has developed into an excellent starting cornerback, and although he is not the elite corner he recently claimed he is, he is probably top-15 at his position. Aaron Ross will never live up to his rookie season, but he has the ability to be a competent number two corner back, even if he is the most maddeningly inconsistent member of this defense. Had Prince Amukamara not lost so much of his rookie season due to injury, he may have wrestled away Ross' starting spot by now.

Tags: giants, New York Giants, patriots, positions, preview, Super Bowl
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Giants

Maybe it was the re-acquisition of free agent Chase Blackburn. Maybe it was the development of rookie Jacquian Williams or the healthy return of Michael Boley. Whatever the reason, somewhere along the way, the Giants' linebacking core stopped being the team's Achilles heel. Sure, they have had their ups and downs, even since turning a corner late in the season, but it's a unit that is good enough to hold offenses at bay, even when the defensive line isn't pressuring the quarterback.

The lack of an impact middle linebacker is the biggest complaint, but together, Blackburn and Williams make up one pretty solid MLB. Blackburn is strong against the run, and not incompetent in the passing game, while Williams is the team's most athletic linebacker. The pre-season injury to Jonathan Goff clearly hurt this unit early on, but recently, Blackburn and Williams' play have made Goff a distant memory.

Tags: giants, New York Giants, patriots, positions, preview, Super Bowl
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Giants

Arguably the best unit on either team, the defensive line is this franchise's defensive identity. Big Blue has thrived due to it's strong pass rush over the years, and this current unit may be the most talented group they've had in...well...ever?

Justin Tuck has been banged up all year, and Osi Umenyiora missed roughly half the season due to injury. But the two veteran defensive ends appear to have gotten healthy at the right time; they have combined for five sacks in three playoff games, and the extra week off should allow them to be as healthy as they've been all year.

Tags: giants, New York Giants, patriots, positions, preview, Super Bowl
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Giants

The trio of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham may be the best wide receiver corps in the NFL; it is certainly the most talented group this franchise has ever seen. Nicks has been banged up this season, but when healthy, he is a true number one receiver, and his postseason performance has been nothing short of spectacular. Cruz burst onto the scene with his ability to turn short and medium passes into highlight reel touchdowns. Manningham has had a down season, but in many ways is a poor man's Cruz, and a solid number two in his own right.

Jake Ballard has been a nice surprise, although a knee injury has had him off his game in the playoffs. Bear Pascoe and Travis Beckum have made useful contributions, but if Ballard is not able to find his mid-season form (he had a huge game against the Patriots), the Giants' tight ends are nothing special.

Tags: giants, New York Giants, patriots, positions, preview, Super Bowl
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