I can’t shake the feeling that we are going to witness a good-old nature ass kicking this Sunday. I understand the prevailing consensus is that this will be a well-played game and that the Giants have a much better shot of winning the game than Vegas bookies want you or I to believe.
But the Patriots have been a team of destiny all season and the most fitting way for them to cap their perfect, record-setting season is for them to finish the way they started: blowing out teams with an all-time great aerial assault.
Many analysts would have you believe that the Pats will emphasize the running game and check-down passing game. I won’t contend that they have become more of a running team in the last five or six games and that Brady has relied on short to intermediate passes to move the chains. But that isn’t how they have become what is now an infamous team. You can bet they want to show the public one final time what has made the 2007 New England Patriots such an irresistible team to watch.
The Pats have been conscious of their place in history. Towards the end of the regular season, the players wore the giddiness of their undefeated record on their faces. This team has had a flair for the dramatic moment, an understanding of the historical impact of their accomplishments.
How else do you explain the Brady-Moss record-setting touchdown in their last regular season game?
Fourth quarter, Pats down 28-23, on the road, hostile crowd, nationally televised game, perfect record on the line, Brady and Moss each one touchdown away from breaking individual single-season touchdown records. And Moss runs a fly pattern as Brady unloads a deep throw. Moss sees the fluttering ball is underthrown and tries to come back and shoestring catch it. Incomplete. No problem, Brady thinks, we’ll try it again. Moss runs another fly, Brady throws a spiral perfectly in stride with Moss and there you have it.
Pats are again leading, a lead they would not relinquish, the hostile crowd is deflated, the nationally televised audience is in awe, and Brady and Moss own the single-season passing and receiving touchdown records.
The Pats not only want to be a great team, but one of the all-time greatest. Perhaps they’re confident enough, or arrogant or naive enough depending on the generation in which you grew up watching the NFL, to think they are the greatest.
But this team was defeating opponents by over 25 points per game in the first two months of the season. Now that they have had a number of close calls (Philly, Baltimore, the Giants, Jacksonville, and San Diego) in the final months of this season, I think New England will come out of this game with full barrels blazing, just to remind NFL fans, players, coaches, executives, and owners who the Alpha Dogs were in this 2007 season. In Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots will come full-circle in their on-going quest to prove any and all doubters wrong. They will show us what made their season one for the ages.
Patriots 52 Giants 24