With the Super Bowl just hours away, I felt obliged to provide my own breakdown of the Pats and Giants. Let me say first that people aren’t giving the G-Men enough credit. Maybe they weren’t as pretty winning games then the perfect Pats, but no one gave them a chance to win three consecutive games on the road, and for that reason, this game should be alot closer than the Vegas odds may dictate.
Quarterback: Eli Manning (NYG) vs. Tom Brady (NE)
Advantage: Patriots. You can’t argue with the 3-time Super Bowl winner, and Eli has been anything but consistent in 2007-2008.
Running Back: Brandon Jacobs (NYG) vs. Laurence Maroney (NE)
Advantage: Giants. It’s close, but the bruiser will have to be a big factor in this game if the Giants want to win. The scat-backs, Kevin Faulk and Ahmad Bradshaw, will be X-factors, but how can you bet against the 260-pound Jacobs? I can’t.
Wide-Receivers: Burress, Toomer, Boss (NYG) vs. Moss, Welker, Stallworth, Watson (NE)
Advantage: Patriots. Disregarding Burress’s hot air, the Patriots’ off-season acquisitions make their group one of the best in the league.
Offensive Lines vs. Defensive Lines (pass rush)
Advantage: Giants. These will be the important key to the game. Both Giants’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who blitzed the Pats 50% of the time in the Week 17 matchup, and Patriots’ defensive head-man Dean Pees will bring the pressure once again, but Strahan, Umenyiora, and Antonio Pierce have manhandled competition all year.
Secondaries: Ross, Madison, Wilson (NYG) vs. Samuel, Hobbs, Harrison (NE)
Advantage: Even. The Giants get the nod at corner, but they will need all that depth they can get handling the Pats plethora of receivers. However, if it comes down to the secondary level, I’d take Rodney Harrison.
Special Teams: Tynes, Feagles (NYG) vs. Gostkowski, Hanson (NE)
Advantage: Patriots. They don’t have Mr. Clutch any longer (Vinatieri) to bale them out, and the weather won’t be a factor, but for the same reason I like Brady over Eli, Tynes has been very shaky.
Coaching: Coughlin (NYG) vs. Belichick (NE)
Advantage: Patriots. They’ve cost the team a 1st round draft pick for next year, but you better believe under that eerie hoody Belichick will conjure up a brilliant game-plan.
I will recline from making a prediction because I’m a terrible prognosticator, but if the Giants can put the pressure on Brady, it will be a lot better (and closer) game then most assume.
*UPDATE: 9:25 PM: Congrats to the New York Giants and their fans. No one gave them a chance, but Strahan, Osi and Co. lived up to their hype, and frustrated Brady all night long. I don’t agree with Eli’s MVP selection, but what can you do. David Tyree saved the game, and Mr. Burress, hey, I doubted you all season, but I applaud your resiliency through injury, and who knows, I may consider you for a 2nd or 3rd round fantasy selection next year.