New York Giants (9-7) vs. New England Patriots (13-3)
Giants - 8th
Patriots - 2nd
DefenseGiants - 27th
Patriots - 31st
I have made it through two weeks of the non-stop conversations on ESPN and the NFL Network about this game. It has become an unnecessary circus the last 10 years at least with everything except the actual game. This year offers us the rarity of a rematch, but in a not so classic way. There are some similarities with the personnel involved, but both teams have different philosophies this time around. It should bode for an interesting chess match.
Two of the oldest and without a doubt the most knowledgable head coaches in the NFL today. The question came up whether Bill Belichick or Tom Coughlin would retire if they won this game. It's an interesting question, but I don't think either one would. They absolutely would consider it, but if I were to pick one who would walk away I would say Coughlin. He has had to put up with a lot in the New York media and frankly I would understand if he retired after winning another Super Bowl. 'Go out on the high note' we always say. But he does have his work cut out for him again going against Bill Belichick. He is this generations best coach and it will be tough to beat him twice in this game, but if anyone can do it, you have to think Tom Coughlin can do it.
Players to Watch
We all know who the quarterbacks are. Eli Manning for the New York Giants and Tom Brady for the New England Patriots. If you don't by now, best of luck to you. But I want to watch a couple other players that should get the most attention in this game. And no one of them isn't Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and his ankle. Instead it's his fellow teammate TE Aaron Hernandez and for the New York Giants it's DE Jason Pierre-Paul. With Hernandez it does have to do with Gronkowski's ankle. Hernandez has benefited from being in single coverage all year long. If Gronk' has be absent for any length of time or is ineffective can Hernandez step up and be Brady's go-to guy? With Pierre-Paul he wasn't around for the last Super Bowl, but DE Osi Umenyiora, DE Mathias Kiwanuka and DE Justin Tuck were. Put those four together and you have one hell of a defensive line to combat Tom Brady and the Patriots passing attack.
Key of the Game
It's a simple one. Knock the quarterback on his butt. The Giants know that's what they have to do to beat the best quarterback in the NFL. And the Patriots know that is the only thing that's going to slow down or even stop Eli Manning from having another come from behind victory. Both teams don't really run the ball enough to offset the opponents pass rush, but they will be trying to set up the defense for the big pass plays. Make no mistake that whoever wins will have the most sacks at the end of the game.
Who will win?
Last year I came pretty close to the score, but I predicted exactly how the Green Bay Packers were going to pull away with the victory. To refresh your memory I said that Aaron Rodgers would throw a game winning touchdown pass to Greg Jennings. This time around I'm going to a different route. The final score will be the New York Giants beating the New England Patriots 27-24 thanks to their kicker Lawrence Tynes kicking the game winning field goal just before time expires. It won't be as good as the original, but this sequel should be good right til the very end.