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Giants' defensive line renews chess match with Brady, Pats

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- While some of the players may have changed since the last meeting in the Super Bowl, the New York Giants' defensive line has the same goal this Sunday this Sunday when it comes to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots -- stop the run and then pressure, pound and pummel the guy who runs the show.

Four years ago, the formula helped the Giants limit the then-undefeated Patriots to two scores and 274 total yards in a 17-14 victory.

New England gained 45 yards rushing in the game and Brady was sacked five times and hit nine other times while passing. He finished 29 of 48 passing for 266 yards and one touchdown.

How good was that?

Well, the Patriots scored an NFL-record 589 points that season and Brady threw a league single-season record 50 touchdown passes, including 23 to Randy Moss, another milestone. No team had held them under 20 points.

"With a guy like (Brady), it's always a chess match and you try to stay one step ahead of him," said Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck, who had two sacks and two hits on Brady in the title game in Glendale, Ariz. in February 2008.

The Giants' defensive line might be the deepest in the NFL with Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, Dave Tollefson, Rocky Bernard and Mathias Kiwanuka moving up to the line in passing situations.

"Most times, a team may have one player that is the caliber of a rusher that you have to game plan for. But the Giants have about five of them," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "They have so many guys and they are all very good. They have great speed and athleticism, great pass rush technique, they get off on the ball well, they are a hard group to block. (Defensive coordinator) Perry (Fewell) does a good job of scheming and putting them in different positions so you don't know where Pierre-Paul is going to be or Tuck or Kiwanuka.

"Sometimes it is hard to find them and it is hard to block them."

Brady said the Giants probably pressure better than anyone in the league, and they can do it at times with just the front four.

"Obviously you commit more people to coverage and they do a good job of that," Brady said. "They're very good against the pass. We have to go out there and be balanced and execute certainly better than we did last week."

Umenyiora, who had a team-high five quarterback hits and also recovered a Brady fumble in the Super Bowl, said the Patriots are not running the exact same offense as four years ago.

"They have different personnel and their tight ends are a lot better now and they have a better offensive line," he said. "So it's going to be a mix-and-match thing. It's not all about pressure. Obviously, you want to do that, but he can hurt you if you do that too much."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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