A deja view Giants have been here before, giving them edge

January 25, 1991|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Evening Sun Staff

TAMPA, Fla. -- You're on the scene and you're looking for clues about Super Bowl XXV.

You see Lawrence Taylor of the New York Giants show up for the final five minutes of a scheduled 75-minute interview session. You realize that if Taylor shows up this late Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, there won't be any need to interview anyone on the Giants defense.

You see Marv Levy of the Buffalo Bills blow off the medi altogether on media day, and risk a $5,000 fine. Then you hear him say he's been preparing for this game for 40 years. Hmmm. Sounds like he means business.

You see CNN and you realize again how little this all means. A least you haven't had to hear about how this Super Bowl will be a war.

Two days before the Giants and Bills decide the NF championship, all you really know is that the 49ers can't win it and the Broncos can't lose it.

But you come up with five keys to this Silver Anniversary specia at Tampa Stadium. And here they are:

* The no-huddle offense

Bills quarterback Jim Kelly knifed through the Dolphins an Raiders like melted butter. Thurman Thomas thought he was running track, so uncluttered were his running lanes.

The biggest challenge the Giants have is dealing with the Bills quick- trigger attack. But Buffalo hasn't played a defense like this since, well, its 17-13 victory over the Giants last month.

"We do not anticipate marching up and down the field agains these guys," said Bills receiver James Lofton.

The way the Giants look at it, their best defense might be strong offense.

"The key might be to keep Buffalo's offense off the field," sai Giants nose tackle Erik Howard, "and to keep us rested."

What about it Buffalo? Worried about the Giants' ground game?

"I'm sure that's what the Raiders tried to do, too," said Bill linebacker Shane Conlan. "You can throw your game plan out the window if our offense puts up points like it's been doing. I hope the Giants are out there trying to run the ball so we get more action."

* The quarterback matchup

It's Kelly vs. Jeff Hostetler, who has only started six NFL game in seven years but won them all.

Not since the Bears' Jim McMahon was matched up with th Patriots' Tony Eason has there been such a seeming mismatch.

But Kelly hasn't faced a pass rush since coming back from hi knee injury two weeks ago, and he's certain to get some heat from the Giants. He won't be picking cherries back there this week.

Hostetler says the Bills defense reminds him of the 49ers, an we all know how Hostetler avoided those guys. If the Giants control the ball, Hostetler can surprise the Bills in the air.

Kelly will put up good numbers no matter what, though.

* The Giants' running game

With Rodney Hampton out, the workhorse once again is Otti Anderson. And he's pumped. Ottis played his college ball in Miami. He's got family down here. He's nearing the end of a distinguished career.

"It's the perfect scenario," Anderson said. "I always wanted t play in a Super Bowl in Florida. I always wanted my family to be close and see me play in it. I always wanted to be the featured back on a team that played in a Super Bowl. This is just a perfect ending to a story."

* Distractions

The Giants have been here before. There are 19 players left o the roster from the team's Super Bowl XXI victory four years ago. They're cool to the scene.

The Bills are making their first Super Bowl appearance ever They wanted to come to Tampa on Tuesday, but were forced by the league to come Monday. They changed hotels. A large number of Bills were spotted at a night club in the wee hours Wednesday night. Defensive end Leon Seals' mother died last Saturday. Defensive end Bruce Smith's father was placed in intensive care. Running back Don Smith's wife Erica, seven months pregnant, experienced premature labor Wednesday and was hospitalized.

Get the picture?

* Momentum

The Giants (15-3) have won four in a row. In the playoffs, the beat a Bears team that couldn't pass and a 49ers team that couldn't run.

The Bills (15-3) have won six of their last seven. In the playoffs they hammered Miami and Los Angeles on the snow-covered carpet at Rich Stadium.

Prediction: The NFC has won six straight Super Bowls. Make tha seven.

Giants, 17-16.

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