Super Bowl opponents pulling out all the stops

Among the similarities: tough defenses, recycled QBs, run-oriented attacks

Analysis

Ravens 16, Raiders 3

Ravens Extra

January 15, 2001|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

OAKLAND, Calif. - In a year when defense dominated the postseason, it's only fitting that two of the NFL's best defensive teams advance to Super Bowl XXXV.

The Ravens and New York Giants are similar on offense, too.

They've both got recycled quarterbacks (Trent Dilfer and Kerry Collins) and a predilection for the ball-control running game.

But it's defense that sets these two teams apart from the pack.

The Ravens ran first in rush defense, the Giants second.

The Ravens were second in total defense, the Giants fifth.

The Ravens allowed 10.3 points a game, the Giants 15.4.

While the Ravens overwhelmed the Oakland Raiders with defense in a 16-3 AFC championship game victory yesterday, the Giants riddled the Minnesota Vikings with big-play offense, breaking from their conservative mode.

Collins threw a Giants playoff-record five touchdown passes in New York's 41-0 rout of the Vikings in the NFC championship game.

"That's a great football team," Dilfer said of the Giants. "At the beginning of the season ... I thought the Redskins, Bucs and Rams would be very good, but I did believe the Giants would be good, too.

"I have a great respect for Kerry Collins, because I did feel that he would be good. I've played that defense, I believe, for four consecutive years, and they are good.

"I know a lot of guys in that defense and they are excellent. They are not as good as our guys, but they are close. It's going to be a great Super Bowl."

Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Fla., will match owners (Baltimore's Art Modell and New York's Wellington Mara) who are longtime friends, and coaches (the Ravens' Brian Billick and the Giants' Jim Fassel) who are considered offensive gurus.

"We are honored to be in the Super Bowl two weeks from today," Modell said. "But I'm doubly honored to be playing Wellington Mara and the New York Giants. Wellington is a great friend of mine and has been for 40 years. And he will be two weeks from today."

Among the other matchups to watch are Ravens right tackle Harry Swayne against Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, and the Ravens' cornerback tandem of Chris McAlister and Duane Starks against Giants wide-outs Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard.

This will be Baltimore's first Super Bowl since the Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys, 16-13, in Super Bowl V on Jan. 17, 1971. The Giants' last Super Bowl was in 1991 - in Tampa - where they beat the Buffalo Bills, 20-19, in Super Bowl XXV.

This also will be a rematch of the NFL championship games between the Colts and Giants of 1958 and 1959. Baltimore won both.

Ravens vs. Giants

A comparison of the Super Bowl teams' regular-season per-game statistics and rankings:

Statistics

Offense ................ Ravens ..............Giants

Points ....................20.8 .................20.5

First downs ..............18.0 .................19.4

Yards rushing ...........137.4 ................125.6

Yards passing ...........175.9 ................210.4

Total yards .............313.4 ................336.0

Sacks .....................2.7 ...................1.8

Turnovers .................1.6 ...................1.5

Defense .................Ravens ...............Giants

Points ....................10.3 .................15.4

First downs ..............13.5 ..................17.1

Yards rushing ............60.6 ..................72.3

Yards passing ...........187.3 ..................211.9

Total yards .............274.9 ..................284.1

Sacks .....................2.2 .....................2.8

Turnovers .................3.1 .....................1.9

Rankings

..........................Offense ...............Defense

.......................T ....R ... P ..........T ....R ..... P

Ravens ..............16 ....5 ...22 ..........2 ....1 ......8

Giants ...............13 ...11 .. 13 ......... 5 ....2 ....16

T=Total. R=Rush. P=Pass.

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