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Memories of Super Bowl game is distant memory

POSTED November 2, 2011 10:16 p.m.

Ah, the memories.
David Tyree’s against-the-helmet catch. Eli Manning’s resourceful quarterbacking. Plaxico Burress’ most meaningful reception.
Tom Brady under siege from the pass rush. Bill Belichick leaving the losing sideline with one second remaining.
The New York Giants and New England Patriots meet Sunday for the first time (excluding exhibition games) since that unforgettable ending in the Arizona desert, when the Giants ruined the Patriots’ perfect season with their own perfect ending.
Not that the players are harping back to New York’s 17-14 Super Bowl victory. Indeed, the Giants couldn’t be downplaying it more.
“I think this is a whole new environment, whole new situation,” Manning said. “Obviously, an important game, we have to have a great week of preparation. We know we’re going against a great team, a Hall of Fame coach, a Hall of Fame quarterback down the road. We just have to go in there expecting to play sound football like we’ve been doing.”
Not sound enough to impress the oddsmakers, who have the Giants as 8½ point underdogs. Each team is 5-2, and has shown some warts, with the Giants playing down to the level of their opponents too often — they barely beat Miami last Sunday and lost at home to Seattle. New England comes off a 25-17 loss at Pittsburgh that was much more lopsided than that, and has serious issues on defense.
Still, these are first-place teams facing off with a chance to truly establish their credentials as a contender.
“It’s the Giants versus the Patriots,” tackle David Diehl noted. “This isn’t the Super Bowl.
“They’re a different team. We’re a different team. Obviously you’re going to hear all of that stuff throughout the week. We’re focusing on this season and what they’ve been doing this year.”
One thing the Patriots have been doing is winning at Gillette Stadium: Brady has won 31 consecutive regular-season games at home, the longest such streak for a quarterback in NFL history. Eighteen straight NFC opponents have fallen at Foxborough.
Make it 19, but make it close ... PATRIOTS 28-25

Denver (plus 8) at Oakland — Even with all his rust, Carson Palmer will outperform Tim Tebow. ... BEST BET: RAIDERS, 32-14
Cincinnati (plus 3) at Tennessee — Time to take the Bengals seriously — except against Baltimore or Pittsburgh. ... UPSET SPECIAL: BENGALS, 16-14
Green Bay (plus 6) at San Diego — Error-filled Chargers have unenviable task of facing rested, unbeaten defending champions. ... PACKERS, 27-17
Baltimore (plus 3) at Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh short on LBs. Wonder where Jack Lambert is these days. ... STEELERS, 21-20
Chicago (plus 8) at Philadelphia, Monday night — Two teams previously written off. Eagles are writing impressive comeback script. ... EAGLES, 30-21
Atlanta (minus 7) at Indianapolis — Falcons have won five straight in November. Colts are losing in every month. ... FALCONS, 27-10
Tampa Bay (plus 8) at New Orleans — Saints brought Bucs back into NFC South race by stumbling at St. Louis. ... SAINTS, 30-23
Cleveland (plus 11) at Houston — Browns are regressing. Texans come off signature division wins and could get caught off-guard.
Nah. ... TEXANS, 30-13
New York Jets (plus 1½) at Buffalo — Winner here should be AFC factor rest of the way. ... BILLS, 23-20
Miami (plus 5) at Kansas City — Chiefs on a terrific, if lucky role. Only Luck for Miami might be Andrew. ... CHIEFS, 20-10
San Francisco (minus 3½) at Washington — Niners are one of NFL’s best road teams, with dynamic defense. ... 49ERS, 20-13
Seattle (plus 12) at Dallas — Cowboys are too hard to figure out. Seahawks aren’t. ... COWBOYS, 27-10
St. Louis (OFF) at Arizona — No line because both QBs are uncertain. What is certain: not much quality here. ... CARDINALS, 17-16


Against spread: 5-6 (overall 64-44-3); straight up 9-4 (overall 80-36).
Best Bet — 2-6 against spread, 4-4 straight up.
Upset Special — 6-2 against spread, 4-4 straight up.


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