Sunday, February 5, 2012

60 Minutes 'til "See You in April"

In an odd twist, the Super Bowl hype hasn't been nearly as tiring as expected this year, despite the standard Eli/Peyton/Brady/Coughlin/Belichick/rematch/revenge/Gronkowski's ankle/Bibi Jones storylines still being beaten to a pulp. Somehow another football season has come and gone, and the only thing left to determine is who gets to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis. At the very least, we should be in for a close game, if not a very good game. After fighting with myself for two weeks over this, the pick is in....

NY Giants (+3) over New England
From a personal standpoint, I have a tough time rooting for the team who single-handedly eliminated mine. However, I would have an even tougher time rooting for a team based in the greater Boston area. Geographical and baseball-related loyalties aside, I truly think that from a football perspective this game is there for the Giants' taking. Overall they do more things well than the Patriots do, and their trio of Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, and Victor Cruz can only be covered for so long by the patchwork New England defensive backfield. The Pats can try to blitz Eli Manning, but he is at his best when under pressure, something that the 49ers found out two weeks ago and the Patriots certainly know by now. Both of these teams make their living on the quick passing game and yards after the catch, which, in light of the way the rules are enforced in the league today, makes it no coincidence that they have each come this far. That being said, you wonder how much the Patriots truly lose due to Rob Gronkowski's high ankle sprain, considering that Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker can easily catch 10 passes each without a healthy Gronkowski on the field. Both of these teams present matchup problems for the defense, but the difference lies in the Giants' ability to rush the passer without blitzing. If the Giants can rush four men and keep seven linebackers and defensive backs to cover Brady's receiving options, then this will be their day, yet again. Giants, 24-20.