February 5th, 2012
Super Bowl 46
New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
Line: Patriots by 2½
And so it goes…five months of grinding, pounding and aching has come to this, a moment in time…revisited. When we last saw these two teams battle for the crown, we saw the most unlikely outcome take place. The Patriots were gunning for perfection. 18-0, they were the team of destiny. The only thing standing in their way was the upstart New York Giants, the team that no one expected to be in the big game. When the dust settled, the G-men, 12 point underdogs, pulled off the greatest upset in sports history, a thrilling come-from-behind victory over New England 17-14 to win their third Super Bowl Championship. This time around, the game is set in another dome, Lucas Oil Stadium. There’s no perfection from the Pats, but there’s the Giants again, unlikely NFC champs, gunning for another improbable win.
Here’s our rundown of the game and the important analysis of who we think will win on Sunday.
Quarterbacks – What can you say about two of the best quarterbacks in the game. Tom Brady has three Super Bowl rings; Eli is a Super Bowl MVP. Both had outstanding seasons, Brady threw for over 5,000 yards, threw Eli 4,900 yards. A win would put Brady in company with Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw with four rings. A win for Eli would give him more rings than his brother, Peyton. Some may put Brady in a bigger class than Eli, but Eli is right up there.
Advantage – Slight Edge to
Running Backs – Both teams suffered from weak run games all season with none having a back with more than 700 yards. BenJarvus Green-Ellis does have 11 touchdowns for the Patriots and is an effective back when needed for New England. As for the Giants, Ahmad Bradshaw’s injuries during the season have slowed down his progress. Brandon Jacobs has also been a disappointment. However, recently the Giants run game has become healthier during the playoffs, giving them the edge on the ground.
Receivers – The Patriots depend on their Tight Ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for the short passing game. As for the long routs, they rely on Wes Welker and Deion Branch. The Giants passing threats are their triple tandem of Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks. Short passing yardage will go to Tight End Jake Ballard and Fullback Henry Hynoski.
Offensive Line – A big reason Brady has over 5,000 yards is because of their outstanding offensive line, led by Offensive Tackle Matt Light, but as much as its been able to protect Brady, they still gave up 32 sacks. As for the Giants, their O-line has struggled with injuries all season to key personnel, including center David Bass. Despite that, Eli Manning had his best season as a quarterback.
Defensive Line – The Patriots’ starting front four led by Defensive Tackle Vince Wilfolrk has been outstanding all season long, getting 18.5 sacks this season. The Giants starting d-line has been nothing short of exceptional. Led by second year all-pro Jason Pierre-Paul, they had 28.5 season. Add Osi Unmeniyora and you have a dangerous pass rush.
Linebackers – The Patriots core of starting linebackers are hurting with Brandon Spikes and Mark Anderson questionable to play. Despite this, Jerard Mayo who led the team with 95 tackles will be the player to watch. As for the Giants, Mathias Kiwanuka and Michael Boley are the main playmakers who will have their hands full with the Patriots Tight Ends.
Secondary – The Patriots defensive backs have been much maligned all season, with their pass defense ranked 31st for the year. Patrick Chung has been injured most of the season and Kyle Arrington has been the one defensive back teams have exploited. It’s been a challenge all season for the Giants finding quality DB’s all season after major injuries to to of their best players in the secondary, but they withstood the task, led by Safety Antrel Rolle and Corey Webster.
Special Teams – Punter Zoltan Mesko had 7 punts within the 10 yard line. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski has made 28 of 33 field goals. Punt and Kick returns rely on Danny Woodhead and Julian Edelman, who ran a punt back for a TD this season. Punter Steve Weatherford had only 6 touchbacks all season. Lawrence Tynes has twice kicked the Giants into the Super Bowl. The G-men doesn’t have a punt or kick return for a touchdown all season.
Coaching – Both Bill Belichek and Tom Coughlin are directly tied to Bill Parcells. Both coached in Super Bowl 25. Both are good friends. Both know the meaning of keeping your teams fully prepared. Even though Belicheck has more rings, Coughlin has the upper hand, winning the last time out for years ago.
Advantage – Even
Intangibles – Let’s face it, people. This is about New York and Boston. Both cities claim they’re the best sports towns. So it all comes down to the rings. Yankees & Red Sox? Don’t even go there (27 to 7). Celtics & Knicks? No comparison (18 to 2). Rangers and Bruins? Pretty close (5 to 4). Total title count? NY 47, Boston 34.
Final Analysis – At first glance, you’d think the Giants would be favored in this game. But Las Vegas gave the Patriots the edge, due to the better record. But I’ve always believed by the motto, “Offense scores the points, but defense wins championships”. Right now, this Giants defense is playing the best I’ve seen since the Bill Parcells led Super Bowl teams. Without the need of a blitz, the Patriots O-line will be busy with the Giants defensive line. Yes, the Brady will find the end zone a couple of times. But Eli Manning will be the one to watch. He’s gonna have a field day with the Patriots secondary, who had trouble all season. And with the Giants running game returning, it might be “lights out!” Even though I picked the Patriots the last time around, I smelled an upset brewing.
This time, that familiar aroma has returned.
Smooth’s Pick – (37-24)