No Haynesworth. The cancer of the Patriots D-Line, he waited until his last game in a Pats uniform to put on the most pathetic display. He was seen on the sidelines in a shouting match with the Pats DLine coach and by Week 10 was released. Pats have gone 10-0 since then, while the Bucs who picked him up went 0-8 with Big Al. How bad was he? On several plays vs. the Giants he literally stopped moving his feet, literally just walking out there and pretending to be fighting in those trenches.
No Carter. Andre Carter was truly one of the feel-good stories of the season, a little-noticed FA signing that the Redskins let walk. He became our premier pass-rusher, a great run defender, and a great locker-room presence. He's IRed.
Less 4-3. Without Haynesworth or Carter, the Pats have predominately gone back to the 3-4. Vince Wilfork has also picked this post-season to put on a HoF-calibre performance, putting on some of his best games ever against the Broncos and the Ravens. In place of Andre Carter is Mark Anderson(former Bear) at DE/OLB, another relatively quiet free-agency transaction that almost no one knew of given the noise from the low-price Haynesworth/Ochocinco deals.
No LB Gary Guyton. His playing time this season came as a result of injuries to LBs Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, and Dane Flecher. They're all healthy now, and shouldn't be as easy to pick on as Guyton was. Brandon Spikes was playing well for the Pats until he went down with injury in the 3rd quarter at which point the Giants finally managed to score. He's back now and looking electric, adding a heavy dose of intensity to the middle of the second level. Jerod Mayo isn't looking gimpy anymore and Fletcher's thumb is finally back in place, leaving the Pats healthier at LB than they've been all season.
Less of LB Tracy White. He was that linebacker that didn't seem to know what to do to stop a TE who was going for a game-winning TD pass at Foxborough.
No Phillip Adams at 3rd CB. He was cut. It was Julian Edelman in there as 3rd CB against Baltimoe, a DB/WR/KR/PR. Uhuh it's been that kind of season..
Less Ihedigbo. Safety James Ihedigbo, the former Jet, was picked on all day in coverage, but now he's usually not in the lineup on obvious pass plays. Giants would be wise to pass in 44's general direction as his strength is in the box and no further. On obvious pass-plays Pats bring in former-Raider Sterling Moore who's got great instincts, mixing him and Devin McCourty at both RCB and FS.
Almost no Sergio Brown. You might remember him as the guy who came out in the last minute when S Patick Chung went down with injury and on his first(and only) snap, he gave up a huge PI call that set up the game-winning TD to Ballard with only seconds remaining. Brown is just a ST guy now.
The big question heading into the Super Bowl for us fans of the Pats and G-Men?
Who's got it better than us?