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Charles Krupa, Associated Press
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) tries to get rid of the ball while being tackled by New England Patriots strong safety James Ihedigbo (44) during the second half of the AFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012, in Foxborough, Mass.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots secondary has another difficult task when it faces Eli Manning and the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.

The defensive backs were good enough to help the Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens 23-20 in last Sunday's AFC championship game. But Sterling Moore missed a tackle on one touchdown before stripping Lee Evans of a potential winning catch in the final minute. And Julian Edelman, primarily a wide receiver, gave up two big catches on that last drive.

The Patriots had the second worst pass defense in the NFL in the regular season. But the secondary improved late in the season as injured players returned. Now it must face Manning and dangerous wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz on Feb. 5 for the NFL championship.