Posted Sun Feb 3rd by Monty
The New England Patriots and New York Giants are set to square off in Glendale, AZ (which, by the way, is about 90 minutes south of where I live. If only I made, oh, $20,000 more per year…).
While many are expecting a blowout, and that certainly wouldn’t surprise me, I’m expecting a much closer game than the majority of NFL fans. Most championships come down the superior running game and the better defense – and the Giants just might have the edge in both categories.
Of course, it warrants mention that no one has run the football as well as the Patriots in the postseason. Their defense has stepped up as well, holding the San Diego Chargers to 4 field goals.
If the Giants can pressure Tom Brady (they will)… if the Giants can run the football effectively (two-headed beast in Ahmad Bradshaw and Bradon Jacobs)… if Eli Manning can remain efficient and not turn the ball over (we’ll see), the Giants have a real decent shot at winning this game.
Seriously. I know this is going to be a great weather game, and the Patriots are going to take every advantage they can of that. But that means the Giants pass rush will be able to use all of their quickness and power to get to Brady as well.
The Giants might be one of the only teams that can effectively push Brady around with only four down linemen. Strahan and Osi on the edges, with Justin Tuck disrupting the middle – it’s a very difficult personnel group to account for, and one against whom the Patriots struggled earlier. Antonio Pierce has grown into the middle linebacker the Giants always hoped he would be, and their secondary has been playing well for the most part. Defensively, the Giants should be able to hold Brady and company to, oh, about 31 points.
Which may or may not be enough to win. I don’t think it will be.
On the flip side, when the Giants have the ball, look for a healthy mix of Jacobs and Bradshaw to open up the passing game. The Giants are playing well offensively behind a conservative passing game and a bruising-then-explosive running attack. I thought the short passing game of Eli Manning would be disrupted against the press coverage of the Packers – instead, Plaxico Buress outplayed and outfought Al Harris in that game. These receivers are playing exceptionally well, something that’s making Eli look good along the way.
I think the Giants are going to be able to score on the Patriots, too. I’m expecting about 3-4 lead changes throughout this game. Kyle’s final score: 31-27 Patriots.
Earl has another type of game on Sunday in mind…
I can’t pick Eli “Scattershot” Manning, for some reason. And while I really am not ready for the Patriots to have yet another ring this decade, and I’d love to see them blow their 19-0 (I like knowing that the only time a perfect record was made was the year after I was born), I can’t pick anything but the Patriots. I think the good game the Giants gave them in week 17 was an illusion; all the Patriots were playing for was a perfect record, but I don’t think that’s the same motivation. The Giants were playing for their lives.
This is the big game. I expect a Patriots win and it won’t be a good game unless you’re a Patriots fan.
Last but not least, Jonathan pulled the trigger…
NYG 35 vs NE 33
Why not, everyone in the world thinks the Patriots are going to run away with it.