I guess I can’t put this off any longer.  The big game’s tomorrow and I’ve been reminded (okay, threatened) several times over the past couple of days that I haven’t made my prediction yet.  The big kick in the hind quarters came only moments ago when a close friend of mine made reference to this blog on the latest post in his blog, and even furnished the link to this very spot, only to find that I had not done my duty yet. 

My only excuse is that there are so many things to consider when analyzing these two teams.  If I were to fly through this process, my prediction would be no better than any other you’ve heard over the past two weeks. 

Now when I talk about all of the things to consider, I’m talking between the sidelines, not parties, fans, food, etc.  However, if you’d like more insight in the Super Bowl food department, please check out my friend’s blog (mentioned above) at for a refreshing take on the topic. 

As for the football related issues, let’s begin with what New England needs to do to win the game.  I think they proved in the AFC championship game that when their passing game sputters, and they are forced to rely on their running game, they become a beatable team.  There are two reasons for this. 

One is that their defense is nothing to brag about.  For a good part of the season, their defense was virtually non-existent.  However, to be fair, these past few games have shown that they do have the ability to make big plays and stuff the opponents when needed.  They don’t look nearly as average as they did during the majority of the season. 

The second reason is that the offense is built around Tom Brady, and with good reason.  He is absolutely one of the best quarterbacks to step on the field.  When he is in a groove, watch out! 

This leads us to his receiving corp.  It was only a few years ago that a dangerous receiving corps meant two or three monster wide receivers and a running back with good hands.  Maybe there was a tight end that could contribute, but it wasn’t absolutely necessary. 

To get off topic for a second, I have been playing fantasy football for more than two decades, since well before there were websites that did all of the Commissioner’s work.  Anyone who has been in these leagues with me knows that the tight end position was always my final draft pick, right after my sixth string running back.  That’s how little importance I placed on that position. 

Fast forward to the 2011-2012 season.  I won several games this year thanks to the points scored by Jimmy Graham, the monster tight end for New Orleans.  Well, New England has not just one, but two monster tight ends to go with some very capable wide receivers and running backs to formulate an extremely dangerous group of receivers. 

Everyone has been focused completely on the health and status of Rob Gronkowski, one of the two dangerous tight ends for the Patriots, as if the entire game depends upon whether or not he plays, and if he’ll be at 50% or 100%.  I say, it doesn’t matter.  This team has so many offensive weapons that stopping one receiver is not the answer. 

The key for the Patriots is to protect Brady and give him enough time to make the plays.  If they do that, the Giants will not have a chance because there is no one in this league that is better than him at picking apart defenses, when he’s not running for his life, as he was last game against the Ravens. 

Which leads us to what the Giants must do to win this game.  There are several factors for New York.  Each game seems to show us a different side to this Giants team, so nailing it down for them is more difficult. 

First of all, their defense needs to be tenacious.  They need to be as physical as ever and make sure that Brady never has the opportunity to stand around looking for an open receiver.  If that happens, they’re in big trouble. 

Second, their secondary must be able to handle man coverage because there are too many potential targets for a zone coverage to handle.  In order for this to happen effectively, they cannot let either tight end come off the line unhindered.  They need to have a big body, whether it’s a linebacker or a safety, to line up in front of them and physically harass them for the first five yards on every play.  If they don’t do this, Brady will hit them for five to fifteen yards all day long. 

Third, they need to furnish the same protection for Eli Manning that I described above for Tom Brady.  He has gone above and beyond this year to convince his long time critics (including yours truly) that he is an elite caliber quarterback.  If given the time, he is also very capable of picking the defense apart. 

Fourth, they need to establish the running game early.  If Bradshaw and/or Jacobs can get something going on the ground, the Patriots will not be able double up on Cruz or Hicks all day, as they would like to.  If they are forced to offer man coverage all day long, it’s only a matter of time before Eli connects with one of them on a 76 yard TD. 

This all leads to the conclusion that there are way too many factors involved to decide.  So I’m just gonna flip a coin! 

No, I can’t do that?  All right, all right, I’ll make a decision! 

Although both teams are fully capable of winning this game, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all by either team winning, I am confident that it will be a close game and will not be decided until the final three minutes. 

In an action packed game, New England will pull out the victory 30-27!!



  1. Your analysis of the teams’ positions and their flaws and how to overcome those was good, and your prediction was correct regarding the spread and on the timing of the win — just an unexpected reversal on the team. Nice post.

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