If you have visited this blog before, you know that I am totally biased, and I’m a die hard Giants fan. One of the reasons I love writing for this blog is: I wrote for another blog for a long time and had a great time doing it, but I wasn’t allowed to joke around, let my freak flag fly or even hang out with my wang out. I couldn’t talk about gambling, hard drinking, or which women are the hottest. Now I can be as brash and biased as I want, and I’m glad I can, no more filters. I’d like to start by admitting one thing:
I’m nervous about the Giants.
The Super Bowl is HUGE for the legacy of whoever wins it. If the Giants win, Eli Manning officially becomes a “Big Game Quarterback” has double the Super Bowls as his big brother, and he and head coach Tom Coughlin are both likely headed to the Hall of Fame. If the Patriots win it, Tom Brady (already an All-Time Great and First Ballot Hall of Famer) becomes only third quarterback to win four Super Bowls, joining Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana. The Patriots exorcize the demons of Super Bowl XLII, and although it still will not erase the Giants ending the Patriots shot at perfection (19-0) that season, it will still be a bit of sweet revenge.
The Patriots are three point favorites, but everyone is talking like the Giants have won the game already, which is terrible for the Giants. The Giants play their best when they feel disrespected by the media, and nobody is giving them a chance, and now everyone is discussing how good the Giants match up with the Patriots.
I am confident. Eli is playing the best football of his life, there is not a team in the league that can match up with the Giants receiving core, plus the Giants have the best pass rush in the league. However they are talking and acting like they have won this game already, which I’m sure Belichick and Brady are loving right now. They are first ballot Hall of Famers for a reason, and the Patriots will be prepared with a flawless game plan.
Here are a few bold predictions that nobody else is talking about, but I’m pretty sure they will be on Monday:
- The Giants will receive the ball to start the game no matter what. The Pats always defer, they like to have the ball at the start of the second half, so they can get points at the end of the first half and then get the ball right back. The Giants always receive, they like to set the tone early. Easiest bet on the board, the Giants start with the ball (+230) Money in the bank.
- I am hearing rumors that the Patriots are coming out in an interesting formation, which they will be using early and often through0ut the game. Their usual starting right tackle, Sebastian Vollmer, is finally healthy and will start. This means that rookie Nate S0lder, who played so well in Vollmer’s absence, will go to the bench. However the rumor is that the Pats have been working often in a formation that has Solder lining up at tight end as a “swing tackle”. The rest of the offensive line stays the same, except tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are split out wide and Wes Welker is in the slot. Of course Tom Brady is the quarterback and “The Law Firm” is in at tailback. Those are the Patriots 11 players in this set. The athletic Solder can stay in as an extra blocker, or even run routes, as he went into college Colorado as a tight end and has great hands. Hernandez and Gronkowski are nearly impossible to match up with as is, and Welker is probably the best possession receiver alive today. This is a nightmare for the Giants. In fact I have been having night terrors about this formation since I heard about it, waking up screaming in a cold sweat.
- The Patriots are going no huddle. They will throw short passes and try to control the clock and tire out Giants defenders. Welker will have a monster game. Fire up Dave Tollefson, Giants. He needs to be fresh and ready to rush.
- Clearly the biggest advantage on either side of the ball in this game is the Giants dangerous three wide receivers (Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham) against a patchwork Patriots secondary, which features a wide receiver (Julian Edelman) playing nickel back in typical Belichick fashion. In the AFC title game, the Ravens did not attack Edelman until the fourth quarter, when they matched him up with Anquan Boldin, and had a lot of success (4 catches). The Giants will get one-on-one match ups with Edelman covering either Cruz or Manningham. This is why I think: Mario Manningham will have the first touchdown 12/1 is a fantastic bet.
- I have spoken to multiple people in Indianapolis, and I am hearing that the Super Bowl will basically be a Giants home game. There are multiple factors for why Giants fans vastly outnumber Patriots fans in Indianapolis. First off, the economy sucks right now (Obama, Yes We Can!) and it was tough for either fan base to afford tickets/travel/hotel for the Super Bowl. New York is simply a wealthier area than Boston (and before Boston freaks out, it’s a fact) so more of them could afford to purchase the tickets. Many Boston fans who could not afford tickets sold them to New York fans or Indianapolis residents (Colts fans). The entire city of Indianapolis is squarely behind the Giants, as their quarterback’s little brother (Eli) is coming to town to face their biggest rival over the last decade (The Patriots). Boston has been so great at every professional sport over the last decade (Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins) that many fans would rather watch from home instead of travel again. These factors will make the crowd lean heavily towards the Giants, however this is not the Patriots first rodeo, and they will be ready for a fight.
- I expect a high scoring game. The Patriots will have some success in the passing game, as they will use the no huddle and extra blockers to keep Brady upright, and allow Welker, Gronkowski and Hernandez to make plays. The Giants pass rush will force some bad throws by Brady and will knock him down, I expect Justin Tuck (Monster Game from #91, dark horse MVP candidate, will collapse the right side), Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph, Dave Tollefson and Mathias Kiwanuka to rotate and stay fresh, keeping the pressure on. Neither team will have much success running the ball, but the Giants will try harder to do it, even running shotgun draws to D.J. Ware on 3rd and inches (It’s kind of offensive coordinator Kevin Gillbride’s thing). I think Welker has a huge game, the Giants really do not have an answer for him, and he has uncanny timing with Brady. The Giants will rush four or five, let everyone else sit back, and will force Brady to make throws under pressure. I think Eli Manning has a monster game, as Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham (who has caught a touchdown in all three playoff games) shred the Patriots secondary. One of the three Giants receivers will make a miracle catch, break a tackle, and will continue running into the end zone n what turns into the deciding touchdown. Giants – 30 Patriots – 24.
- Note: That prediction puts the Over/Under (54) at a push.