The day has finally arrived. There’s really no hype or anticipation needed for the Super Bowl. It’s the only thing anyone’s talking about today and come 6:30 EST, it’ll be the only thing on television. We all know what’s at stake here. Eli’s going for his second ring where Tom Brady is knocking on the door step of possibly the greatest quarterback to ever…you know what, never mind.
David D. and AJ are the last two standing from our playoff predictions gauntlet. And instead of the usual five reasons supporting each team’s claim to victory, we beefed it up to 10 this time around. So, let’s get right down to what we all came here for. Ravens and Niners fans, you can stop reading now.
10 Reasons The New York Giants Will Win (David D.)
1. The Pats are known for focusing their efforts to stop who they feel is the most dangerous player. Which means they’ll probably try their hardest to stop Victor Cruz from doing his salsa dance all over Edelman’s face. While they may shut down Cruz, they can’t shut down him AND Nicks. One receiver is going to go ham.
2. Tom Brady throws for less than 40% when he’s under pressure and he should expect to be under tons of pressure with the Giants front four being more than enough to rattle the Hall of Fame QB. The game might be over by the first time JPP knocks the Golden Child on his arse.
3. Yes, Wilfork is a monster in the middle of the Pats D-line, but their ends are particularly weak. Bradshaw and Jacobs are probably going to attack the edges in their run scheme and get a few extra yards to help Eli manage 3rd and shorts.
4. Gronk’s ankle is going to be key. A high ankle sprain is tough to deal with and a hobbled Gronk kills the Pats.
5. Remember early in the season when the Giants weren’t that good? Well, they beat this same Patriots team in New England thanks to a last-minute drive by Eli. This Giants team is much better.
6. The pressure sits solely on Brady and Bellichick’s shoulders. Can Brady become a top QB of all time? Can Bill win post-spygate? Can they avenge an upset from four years ago? Legacies are on the line for the Pats and they have all the pressure. And we all know what happened last time they had to deal with that.
7. The Pats have played two top-tier QBs this season: Eli and Ben, and they account for two of the team’s three losses. Beating the Grossmans, Sanchezes, and Tebows of the world aren’t going to prepare them for Eli.
8. The Giants are essentially a home team with the Indy locals probably adamantly booing their Rival Pats and cheering on Eli’s little brother. This is as close to a home Super Bowl game as there is these days.
9. My dark horse pick for a player that’ll cause major problems for the Patriots secondary: Jake Ballard. He scored the game winning touchdown against the Patriots in the regular season and he’s a sure hand. While the Pats will focus on the receiving core, Ballard should steal some big gains.
10. Dude, Eli Motherf*cking Manning. His third down play this season has been unreal and even if the Patriots bring a stellar gameplan, nothing will account for the way Eli will elude the defense and extend plays.
10 Reasons The New England Patriots Will Win (AJ)
1. For the umpteenth time, Tom Brady. If he wins one more ring, a very legitimate argument can be made hailing him as the best, ever. The uber-competitive Brady doesn’t want to be remembered any other way.
2. Should Rob Gronkowski play, he represents the biggest missmatch on the field. But the Patriots shouldn’t miss a beat even if he doesn’t play, because…
3. Aaron Hernandez isn’t a slouch. For the season, Gronk’s ‘back-up’ shredded defenses to the tune of 79 receptions, 910 yards and seven touchdowns. Tom Brady doesn’t discriminate; if you’re open, you’ll get a gift-wrapped ball tossed your way. Hernandez will pick up the slack.
4. Wes Welker balls, too. Considering the chemistry developed between him and Brady, those quick seem routs should prove to be the perfect antidote to the touted New York pass rush.
5. The old adage that ‘defense wins rings’ simply isn’t true anymore – if that were the case, we’d be getting treated to an all-Harbaugh Super Bowl. The Patriots poorly-ranked pass defense won’t prove as much a factor as you would think, despite what some (like D) try to tell you. Offense wins out in today’s NFL.
6. That being said, the Patriots feature playmakers on defense. Look for twin pass-rushers Mark Anderson and Andre Carter to live in the Giants’ backfield. Both registered double-digit sacks this season. Vince Wilfork is still Vince Wilfork. And Jarod Mayo, Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty are all solid young players looking to make noise in their first Super Bowl.
7. If you look at the Patriots from a week-by-week perspective, you begin to realize the amount that Bill Belichick tinkers with his roster, especially on defense. Don’t be surprised to see receiver Julian Edelman lining up as a nickelback. It’s very hard to game plan against this team.
8. Coach Belichick is in the same boat as Brady: win one more ring, and he’s tied for most Super Bowl rings all time, with Chuck Noll. Safe to say that that fact will light a little extra fire under him.
9. The Boston/New England area made a pact with the devil back in 2,000. For whatever reason, a Beantown team seems destined to win a ring every couple of years. This year, it will be the Patriots.
10. Isn’t this game a rematch or something? The Giants have owned the Patriots lately, including a 24-20 victory back in November. And then there was that whole David and Goliath game back in 2008. Football fans have to believe that, with a little motivation, a Bill Belichick squad is capable of damn near anything. They won’t overlook anything this time around.
Score: 20-17, Patriots