The same holds true for the Patriots' Tom Brady, who would join Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.
Standing in their way, of course, are the Giants, much less the underdogs than they were four years ago. Eli Manning would surpass his brother Peyton in Super Bowl rings with a victory.
When the Giants pass
Sunday's game will be about pressure points and which team can better expose the other's weaknesses.
The Patriots pass defense and cornerbacks are suspect. Kyle Arrington led the NFL with seven interceptions, but he is vulnerable. Devin McCourty is having a sophomore slump. Julian Edelman typically plays on offense but has been utilized as a fifth defensive back.
They will have their hands full against the Giants trio of receivers - Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. But if the Patriots can pressure Manning they can slow the Giants' air attack.
When the Giants run
The days of Bill Parcells' ground-churning Giants are long gone, as is the New York run-oriented offense that helped win a Super Bowl four seasons ago. Because of Ahmad Bradshaw's hairline fracture in his foot and Brandon Jacobs' gradual decline, the Giants were less reliant on running the ball this season.
They need to establish some sort of presence on the ground, though. Patriots defensive tackle Vance Wilfork is as great a presence up front as there is and will wreak havoc if not doubled.
When the Patriots pass
Despite a high ankle sprain and not practicing most of last week, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski appears as if he'll suit up and play. Whether the All-Pro is effective remains to be seen. His importance to the Patriots offense cannot be overstated. He's their best red-zone threat, and his ability to get open down the middle of the field gives space to receiver Wes Welker underneath. The key for Brady is having enough time in the pocket. He's been sacked only once this postseason, but the Giants pass rush, led by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, is peaking.
When the Patriots run
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis gets the largest share of carries, but Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead lead the team with 5.1 and 4.6 yards per carry, respectively. The Giants run defense isn't spectacular - it ranked 19th in the NFL during the regular season - but outside linebacker Michael Boley anchors a unit that has been stout in the postseason.
Patriots punter Zolton Mesko (46.5-yard average) and Giants punter Steve Weatherford (45.7) were among the NFL leaders in average yards. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski was good on 28 of 33 field goal attempts, while the Giants' Lawrence Tynes connected on 19 of 24 during the regular season.
The Giants are playing much as they did four years ago when they fearlessly upset one team after another on the way to a Super Bowl XLII victory. There perhaps is a little more to lose this time around because a win here would further legitimize that title. The Patriots could find themselves pressing again because of what is at stake.
Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Jeff_McLane on Twitter.