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Eli Manning's tips for beating Tom Brady, Patriots in Super Bowl LII

By
Alex Butler
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning stands on the field in the first half against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14 of the NFL season on December 10 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning stands on the field in the first half against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14 of the NFL season on December 10 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Eli Manning always beats Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. That is a matter of fact.

The New York Giants quarterback owns a 2-0 mark against Brady's Patriots in the postseason. He also has two Super Bowl MVP awards sitting on his trophy shelf from the epic clashes.

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Nick Foles might want to give him a ring for some advice, as the Philadelphia Eagles are set to take on the mighty Patriots at 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII.

Manning was at the Mall of America Friday to talk about the Courtyard Super Bowl Sleepover Contest. The winner of the contest gets to stay in a transformed guest room inside U.S. Bank Stadium the night before the big game. They also get to attend Super Bowl LII.

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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady have faced off twice in the Super Bowl, with Manning's Giants winning both matchups. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Manning said he won't be in town Sunday to watch the game in person, but he knows exactly what it's like to rest his head on a pillow, dreaming of playing in the Super Bowl the next day. He said that the night before the game is exciting more than anything else

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"It's just knowing that this is the last game of the season," Manning said. "So you know you are going to give it your all. You want to be prepared. I slept well. I knew I worked and prepared. I've done my normal routine, I've been doing the previous 20 weeks of the year and just kinda said stay with my normal routine that has gotten me here and just keep doing it."

Manning said he hasn't talked to Foles to give him advice, but you wouldn't know that from listening to the Eagles quarterback.

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Lesson One: Routine

"You just sort of block it out," Foles said. "In this moment, you just appreciate it. It's awesome to be here and it's part of it. You just sort of embrace it, but at the same time I think that's where you know what you have to do to prepare for the game and that's what you focus on. Make sure you get that stuff done before coming here. So we've been working before we got here. Preparing the body, preparing the mind before doing the interviews and continuing to rest and getting ready for the game. I think when you keep it at that perspective it doesn't get too big."

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In addition to keeping a normal routine, Manning gave some Patriots-specific advice.

Lesson Two: Ball Control

"Nick is playing great football," Manning said. "He doesn't need any advice from me. Just go out there and play your normal game. Be aggressive. Make throws and hopefully you get an opportunity in the fourth quarter. It's a game when you have a chance to score some points and have a big lead to keep Tom Brady and the Patriots from storming back."

That's exactly what the Patriots did in last year's Super Bowl, coming back from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons.

Brotherly Love

Manning said he received similar advice -- and more about playing against the Patriots -- from his brother Peyton Manning. The middle Manning brother told his youngest brother what he had discovered about the Patriots' defense, schemes and tendencies while facing them throughout his career in the postseason.

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Peyton was also part of Courtyard's giveaway. He presented the prize to contest winner Courey Marshall, who will stay in the stadium with his wife. Marshall is a diehard Peyton Manning fan.

Another key in the Giants' two Super Bowl victories against the Patriots was a relentless pass rush, which included the likes of Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, among others. The Eagles' front seven could also keep Brady uncomfortable on Sunday. Philadelphia owned the top rush defense in the NFL in 2017. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, while defensive end Brandon Graham had a team-high 9.5 sacks. The Eagles had four players with at least five quarterback takedowns en route to the top seed in the NFC.

Patriots left tackle Nate Solder will be tasked with keeping those pass rushers off of NFL MVP favorite Tom Brady. He also happened to be playing with the Patriot in their second Super Bowl loss to the Giants in 2012. Starting his Patriots career with a Super Bowl loss gives the 6-foot-8, 314 pound lineman a unique perspective.

"It has been awhile now," Solder said Tuesday. "That was a tough one to get over. I know that. I know if you make it to this game, there is no point not just trying your hardest to win the game. There is no second place in this one, that's for sure."

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Manning said he doesn't have any extra pride from beating the dynasty-era Patriots. His is more proud of what the wins meant for the Giants.

"It's more just about the fact that I cherish those Super Bowls because it's what we accomplished ... winning the championship is not about who you beat or anything about that. It's more for the fans, for the ownership and for all the players and that bond that you have with those players after you win a championship."

When Manning wasn't hoisting the Lombardy Trophy, he was in a pressure-packed locker room. He watched longtime coach Tom Coughlin's unceremonious departure from the franchise. Manning was even benched in Week 13 for journeyman Geno Smith this season, ending his streak of 210 consecutive starts.

Manning of the People

After the benching, support poured out from Manning's current and former teammates and players around the league.

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"It was overwhelming to see the support from fans, teammates from current players around the league, from current coaches ... you know I got tons of texts and calls and letters from so many people," Manning said. "It helped with the circumstance. It also reminded me [that] I've been a good teammate all these years and I need to continue to be a good teammate during this time, and help Geno and help the guys and do my part and don't make this a bigger distraction than it is already becoming."

The Giants later fired general manager Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo and Manning returned to his starting role in Week 14. Still, rumors swirl this offseason linking Manning to several quarterback-needy teams.

But Manning says that "all indications" are that he will be back to his role as quarterback for the Giants in 2018. He is signed through 2019.

The 14-year veteran says the Giants still have a lot of talent, citing their 11-win season in 2016. He has been around the Giants' practice facility this offseason and met with new coach Pat Shurmur.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning talks to reporters on Friday outside of Courtyard’s 4D Virtual Reality Dome at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minn. Photo courtesy of Courtyard.

Manning wouldn't give a prediction for Sunday's Super Bowl, but did say he thinks the game will come down to which team has the ball last.

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