Can the New York Giants end the New England Patriots' perfect season?
They'll be the last team with a shot at it, when those two teams tangle at Super Bowl XLII in Arizona. New York came close to pulling it off in the regular season finale, which New England won 38-35.
"When you lose to a team, you always want to have a chance to avenge yourself," wide receiver Plaxico Burress observed after his team beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game Sunday night.
"I think we learned a lot about ourselves and about our team in that game," center Shaun O'Hara said. "I think that game really kind of set the tone for believing in each other and believing in the talent on the team. When we're not playing bad football, when we're eliminating turnovers and penalties, we're a good football team."
"Who could have ever thought that we would have an opportunity to compete with those guys who they're saying is the greatest team in football history with their dynamic offense?," Burress continued in a USA TODAY story.
"They're just an all-around great team. And we have a chance to compete against them for a world championship. You couldn't ask for a better position to be in. You're not just satisfied with just getting there. You want to win the game."
It'll be difficult to win the game with Tom Brady at QB for the Pats. Without him, well, that could be a different story.
Brady was photographed wearing some sort of protective boot on his right foot after the AFC Championship Game, but he insisted it was nothing to worry about.
"Ah, you know, there's always bumps and bruises. I'll be ready for the Super Bowl," Brady vowed during his weekly appearance on sports radio station WEEI. "I'm not worried about that. I'm not missing this one. I'd have to be on a stretcher to miss this one. There will be treatment this week. In games like this, you get a little nicked up. It's nothing serious."
When Brady hasn't been at his best, New England's defense has helped bail out the Pats in recent games, as The New York Times points out.
"Tom can't go out there and throw for 400 yards each and every week," safety Rodney Harrison said of his quarterback, Tom Brady. " For our defense to get the red zone finally corrected, it felt pretty good because that's a point of emphasis that's so important. Our philosophy was, with a great offense like that [on our side], if you can hold [the other team] to 3 points, that's a victory."
Meanwhile, Packer fans may be disappointed that their team isn't playing in the Super Bowl. But the state of Arizona isn't complaining.
In fact, officials there say the Patriots-Giants match-up will be great for their economy.
"From a competitive standpoint, it's a great matchup. From a visitors and economic-impact standpoint, they (New York and New England) are the largest markets and have the most media coverage," the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee President Bob Sullivan told the Arizona Republic newspaper. "I think we'll see a groundswell of people coming in from the Northeast."
Added Bill Crandall, manager of a sports apparel store in the shadow of University of Phoenix Stadium, "I think there would have been more fans here if it was the Packers, but I still think it will be crazy chaos."
And a self-described 'huge Patriots fan' who manages a Phoenix-area hotel predicted, "I would expect for us to be sold out by this coming weekend."
A former NFL GM thinks the Giants will make the Super Bowl 'exciting' for the Patriots.
The Sporting News offers its first tale-of-the-tape for Super Bowl XLII.
The Giants' connection to New England runs deep, as a column in today's Boston Globe reminds us.
And The Providence Journal says the Pats kept their promise in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.