As this post is being put together, we’re approximately 24 hours away from kick-off and the excitement which has been building over the past couple of weeks is about ready to culminate in what we all hope will be a competitive, hard fought and exciting game. If it is anything like we witnessed four years ago when these two teams went at it, then we’re in for a memorable day. To us fans its called Super Bowl XLVI but to the Patriots and the Giants it’s SUPER BRAWL II.
We have all been inundated with information from the media ever since the conclusion of the AFC & NFC Championship games, and there aren’t any angles, game plans, or prognostications that we haven’t heard. There is absolutely nothing we could tell you that you haven’t heard repeatedly over the past two weeks so we’ll break the game down to it’s lowest common denominator and tell you what two things should win the game for both teams and hope you’ll find some info that you didn’t know or haven’t heard…
The New England Patriots:
1. Wes Welker- The speedy Welker needs to catch 10-12 passes and more importantly, needs high amounts of YAC (yards after catches). In a losing effort, he had 11 receptions (which tied a Super Bowl record) for 103 yards good for a 9.4 yard average. His ability to elude teams’ defensive backs once he’s made a catch is well documented as he can make some amazing cuts which can easily foil attempts to minimize his gains.
In order for the Patriots to utilize their two-headed monster Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and make them effective offensive threats, Welker’s success is tantamount. Since the Pats do not have a very formidable running attack, Welker needs to draw attention from the secondary in order to make the two tight ends more successful; (even if Gronk is only at say 70% he’s still a threat). We think Welker will have a productive day as not many defenses can keep a safe distance between him and the football.
2. The Offensive Line- Clearly in order for Welker, Gronkowski, and Hernandez to be successful, Tom Brady will need his O-line to provide him with time. In Super Bowl XLII, the Giants pressured Brady all game, never really letting him get into a rhythm. The O-line allowed the Giants pass rushers, led by Justin Tuck, to sack Brady five times. And in their November game this past season, Brady was sacked twice.
One way that Bill Belichick has of disrupting pass rushers is the ‘no-huddle offense’ which the Patriots will use and use often. If that works and their offensive line is on it’s game, then that increases the Pats chances of getting the ball downfield and ultimately betters their chances for a victory.
The New York Giants-
1. The Three Amigos- Without question, the Giants arsenal of wide receivers in this year’s Super Bowl far exceeds the talent of the two main wideouts from Super Bowl XLII; Steve Smith and Amani Toomer. Remember that Steve Smith had just come into the league from High School in 2007 and prior to the Super Bowl had only appeared in 5 games and had 8 receptions for 63 yards. The tandem of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham can be a defenses worst nightmare. They need to be successful, (Julian Edelman is no match for Cruz), and spread the Patriots secondary in order to win on Sunday. The Pats are ranked 30th in the league in passing defense which should make that a more attainable goal.
2. Ahmad Bradshaw- Like Steve Smith, Bradshaw’s first season with the Giants was in 2007, a year in which he rushed 23 times for 190 yards over 12 games; so he too had little NFL experience with the Giants in their last Super Bowl. (It’s important to note that Bradshaw also did not play in the November Giants-Pats game). He’s come a long way since then and has been another effective weapon of the Giants offense over their last five games; all wins. The more successful he is, the more it will open things up for Eli and the Three Amigos. And the more effective he (and Jacobs are), the more the Giants can control the clock. Even with a young, less experienced Bradshaw, in Super Bowl XLII the Giants’ opening drive lasted 16 plays and took a Super Bowl record 9:59 off the clock.
We think that Bill Belichick will have his bagful of tricks well in hand for this rematch and the Giants will be guaranteed a surprise or two. However, even with the duo of Brady & Belichick, the Giants just have more depth on defense and a more evenly balanced, sufficiently talented offense than the Patriots and should it all come down to a field goal, a more than able kicker in Lawrence Tynes.
The Giants, we feel, have the whole package, one that we have selected throughout the playoffs, and thus we cannot see picking against them. We will also pick Eli Manning as the game’s MVP just as he was in Super Bowl XLII when he went 19/34 for 255 and 2 touchdowns. He has been the Giants MVP all season long so there is no reason why he shouldn’t capture the award again. We’re just hoping that SUPER BRAWL II is as exciting a game as we saw four years ago…
We have gone 8-2 in the playoffs which started with the Wild Card games, and look to finish out the year 9-2…