When you think about New York's upset of New England in the Super Bowl, you think about the winning drive, Eli Manning's remarkable poise and, if you're a New England fan, at least one dropped game-ending interception.
I think about New York's defensive line. I think about beating it gave Tom Brady and the way it made the New York blockers look old.
While several factors will determine tonight's outcome, the biggest is New York's defensive line versus Carolina's offensive line. If Carolina consistently gives DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart room to move and Jake Delhomme time to throw, Panthers will win this game.
As deep as the line is, the absence of right guard Keydrick Vincent hurts. Vincent might be the team's best run blocker. An unrestricted free agent, he joined the Panthers this season, and until today he was the only lineman to start every game. Because of a groin injury, however, he'll miss the rest of the season.
Vincent fit immediately. He's a smart guy and a funny guy and he helps keep the locker room loose and the line firm. He will be missed.
Some of you undoubtedly heard Keyshawn Johnson take a shot at Delhomme before the early games. It's a theme with Johnson, who played with Jake for a season. Keyshawn contends that Jake throws the ball up and hopes his guy catches it. Grenades, Keyshawn calls the passes.
But watch. Those passes don't go to everybody. They go to Steve Smith. Delhomme believes that if there is a jump ball, a race for the ball or a fight for the ball, Smith will win it, and he tries to put Smith in position to do that.
It's worked so far.