One of the funny little subplots that plays out before any big game is how each team invariably fights over the right to be deemed underdog. The New York Giants are generally the team fighting the hardest for that label, but this year it's a little different. As Giants blog Big Blue View points out, heading into Super Bowl XLVI, it's the New England Patriots angling for the underdog and the Giants happy to give it up.
"They should feel like they're the team to beat. They're playing some good, good football. They're probably playing the best football that's out there," said New England defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. "And their defensive line can play, too. You can't say anything negative about what they have going on. They can talk the talk and walk the walk."
And here's Giants defensive end Justin Tuck happily handing off the label:
"We didn't really buy into all the underdog stuff last time. We knew it was there, and we knew nobody was giving us a shot, but we always believed in ourselves. It's still the same here," Tuck said. "I hope to say it would be the same if we were favored or not, that we believe in ourselves. That's all that really matters. We never really cared what other people outside of those guys in that locker room or our owners or our coaching staff has said anyway."
The statistics, of course, say otherwise. The Patriots went 13-3 in the regular season, while the Giants were 9-7. The Patriots outscored their opponents by 171 points, the Giants were outscored by 6. The Giants did win their regular-season encounter and have looked better in the playoffs, but those are pretty small sample sizes. Good thing an actual game will determine the champion.