Greg, a life-long Giants fan, and Mike, a life-long Patriots fan, square off to tell you why their team will win the Super Bowl.
The New York Football Giants will win the Super Bowl, and here’s why:
To put it simply: As good as the New England Patriots are, right now, the Giants are better.
Sure, at 9-7 the Giants are tied for the worst record ever for a Super Bowl team. Sure, they looked downright abysmal in a number of those seven losses. But at this point, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because now they are battle tested. They know adversity. They know what its like to be down. And most importantly, they know what it takes to get back up. To fight back. To rise.
This is a team that has been in playoff mode since early December, each week defeating a more dangerous opponent with even more on the line than the last. The Jets in the battle of New York. The rival Cowboys with the NFC East on the line. A hungry and talented Atlanta Falcons team in the first playoff game at MetLife Stadium. The defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The San Francisco 49ers’ top defense in the muck and mire of Candlestick Park for the NFC Championship. Looking at this trend, it should surprise no one that there could be only one team waiting for them in the Super Bowl:
The New England Patriots.
They may not be going for a perfect season this time around, and their defense is not nearly as formidable as it has been in their past Super Bowl years. But they still have Tom Brady under center and Bill Belichick in a hoodie on the sideline. And that is reason enough for any team to be concerned.
Belichick is arguably the greatest coach of his generation and a defensive guru for the ages. He has two weeks to prepare for this game and make no mistake, he’s going to install one hell of a game plan to try and neutralize this explosive Giants offense. In fact, It would not surprise me to see Belichick take a page from his own playbook, that being his defensive game plan in Super Bowl XXV for, you guessed it, the New York Giants. In that game against the Buffalo Bills and future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, Belichick shut down the Bills high flying pass attack and forced them to run. “If Thurman Thomas runs for 100 yards,” he said “we win the game.” Thomas rushed for 135 yards. The Giants won 20-19.
And so I expect Bellichick and the Pats to double up on both of the Giants key receivers, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. They will dare the Giants to win on the ground with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs who, despite a recent bounce-back, have struggled most of this season. But try as he might to out-scheme the Giants, the Patriots simply do not have the defensive personnel necessary to stop what I think will be the coronation of Eli Manning as a New York legend and an all-time NFL great. Much like the beginning of his career, the start of the 2011 season saw Eli Manning being hammered by the media and fans. Following a season where he led the league in interceptions Manning had the bravado to claim that he was in the same elite class as Tom Brady. He heard the laughs all over again. He heard the people calling him crazy. And what did he do? He responded with a career defining year that I believe will be punctuated on Super Bowl Sunday with a career defining game. Yes, Belichick will have an intensely complicated scheme designed to stop Manning and ground his receivers. But the great ones aren’t bothered by any of that. The great ones find the opportunities and make big plays. And against this New England secondary, the greatest quarterback and wide receiving corps the Giants have ever known will find those big plays. In very big ways.
But that will only be half the story. Because on the other side of the ball is Tom Brady, the greatest big game quarterback of them all, with an arsenal of equally explosive weaponry.
This season, the biggest of those weapons has been tight end sensation Rob Gronkowski. After suffering a high ankle sprain in the AFC Championship Game against Baltimore, many believe that “Gronk” will be unable to go on Sunday, and if he does will not be himself. My opinion? I think that this has Terrell Owens in Super Bowl XXXIX written all over it. Few thought that Owens would be healthy for the Super Bowl, and even if he was, no one thought he would be 100%. What did T.O. do? He ended up giving an MVP caliber performance on the grandest of stages. And I expect the same from Gronkowski. We’re talking about a guy who takes pride in being the biggest meathead in the league. And if you’ve ever met a meathead football player, you’ll know that if he can stand up, he’s playing in the big game.
To put it simply: Gronk play Sunday. Gronk play good Sunday.
And you better believe that the Giants know it. Make no mistake, he WILL get his catches, mostly across the middle which has been the weakest spot of the Giants defense all year. He WILL make an impact. Because even if he doesn’t play at full strength his mere presence on the field will require extra coverage and open up so much of what New England wants to do offensively. And outside of Gronkowski, that means getting the ball to Wes Welker and establishing the run.
But unfortunately for the Pats, the unit that will have the biggest impact on New England’s offensive game plan will be the defensive line of the New York Giants. Yes, Brady will get the ball to his receivers and put up yards. But in the long run, the defensive front of Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty, and Dave Tollefson will prove to be too much for New England. They will find their way to Brady. They will knock him down. They will sack him. And that will be the difference in this game. Whether it be a tipped pass, a forced fumble, or a rushed interception, Brady is going to be rattled into making a mistake that will change the course of the Super Bowl.
The Patriots are a tremendously talented, seasoned, and dangerous team, and this will be a high scoring and entertaining Super Bowl. But ultimately the air attack of New York and the pass rush of the Giants defense will be too much for New England to overcome.
This Sunday, The New York Football Giants will win their fourth Super Bowl 34-24 and Eli Manning will win his second Super Bowl MVP.
Destiny vs. Dynasty
The New England Patriots will win the Super Bowl, and here’s why:
I’m not going to lie this is a scary game. The closest Super Bowl spread we’ve seen in 30 years. If either fandom isn’t just a little bit worried, they are ridiculous. One of the reasons I believe in the Patriots is Vegas. Ask around, not a lot of people are picking the Patriots. The line has already moved multiple times towards the Giants. Listen, Vegas knows what they’re doing, there are a lot of big expensive buildings in Las Vegas.
If the Giants win, they’d have the worst record to ever win the Super Bowl. As bad as the Patriots D is, the Giants are almost as bad. Whichever team wins will have the worst defense to ever win the Super Bowl. In fact, the Giants gave up more points than they scored this year. The Giants are hot, but the Patriots are hotter, having won 10 in a row.
Last time these two teams played in the Super Bowl, the Patriots were a completely different team. Both teams were. But the Patriots were reliant on Randy Moss. The Giants D-line would t-off on Brady while he stood in the pocket waiting for Randy to get open. This time the Patriots offense is based around their two dynamic tight ends. Brady will get the ball out sooner this time. Now the Giants D-line is still great, but they are one of the worst teams in the NFL against two tight ends. I’m sure Gronk will play, but how effective will he be? Imagine trying to block Pierre Paul with an injured ankle. That’s the real question. It’s been beaten to death but Gronk had the best season that we’ve ever seen from a tight end. So his health is as important as any story line. Believe it or not, I think this offense operates better than the ‘08 offense. I say that in the fact that it was easier to stop that offense if you figured out the right game plan, this offense is much more diverse and can adjust better.
The Giants are lucky to be in the Super Bowl but sometimes that’s a good thing. The 49ers did everything they could to hand the Giants the game. Of course, the Patriots got the same type of luck during their early Super Bowl runs, so maybe it’s a destiny thing? I don’t know, I don’t believe in destiny.
I expect the Giants to try to force the Patriots to run. But this year more than recent years, the Patriots have a decent rushing attack. They didn’t run often, but there were a handful of games as of late that the Patriots just ran it down team’s throats. Believe it or not, their best running back is Aaron Hernandez. He’s also their best screen player. He has an uncanny ability to make players miss. Usually that’s because he’s matched up against a DB.
When it comes to the Giants running, I don’t expect Jacobs to do a lot. He’s got to run past Vince. Bradshaw should have a decent game, but I expect most of his damage to come on receptions.
What scares me the most about the Giants are their wide receivers. It’s crazy to think that Julian Edelman will most likely be covering Manningham. Although the secondary isn’t great, they do get a lot of turnovers. If Eil were ever to revert to his old turnover prone ways, this would be the team to cause it.
The Patriots defense is banged up. The secondary is patchwork. Not having Carter to rush the passer will hurt. One third of the roster is undrafted free agents. Believe it or not, the Patriots are the underdogs. They have plenty of billboard material, not that anyone needs extra motivation in this game. But Belichick is a great motivator.
Someone who I think will actually have an impact is Chad Ochocinco. Crazy, right? Chad has always been one to be in the spotlight, and this is the brightest that the spotlight has ever been. And can we all agree that Chad is playing to stay in the league next year? If he wants to be in the NFL next year, he better at least show up to the game.
Can you believe that I’ve written this much without even mentioning Wes Welker the reception leader in the NFL.
The Giants are a good offense, and like I said, they scare me, but they don’t have what it takes to win the Super Bowl this year. I still don’t believe that Eli is elite.
When all is said and done, the Patriots will win 31-27, Brady will get another MVP, and him and Bill will add to their legend as some of the greatest ever.