Super Bowl XLVI, a rematch of a game played four years ago, has finally arrived, and finally the talking is done and the game is ready to roll.
The Giants and Patriots have talked all week, gone through meetings, and are now ready to play what’s always the biggest game on the planet.
The game is all about matchups, and there’s some really good ones in this game. From the QB’s to the ball boys, the game is all about who is facing who, and here’s some of the breakdowns of today’s game along with our winner.
1. The Gronk Factor – Who healthy will Pats TE Rob Gronkowski be for today’s game? His presence will be required for the Pats to be at full strength, as he rewrote the record books this season by amassing 105 catches, 1,559 yards, and 20 touchdowns (including the playoffs). An ankle sprain in the AFC Title Game has made him the target all week of those wondering if he’s going to be near 100 percent. While it’s likely he won’t be, he needs to play, and play well for the Pats to have the best shot at another title.
2. Giant Pressure – Tom Brady wasn’t his best in the week 7 meeting in Foxboro, the last game the Pats lost this season. He was picked off twice, and put up a QB rating of 75.4. The Pats to no shock lost the game. The Giants will look to do what they did in SB 43 and in week 7, which is pressure Tom Brady, and force mistakes. The Giants have been getting to the QB in the postsesason, and they will need to do it to Brady to get a win. If they can pressure Brady, the Pats offense won’t be nearly as effective.
3. Does the Run Game Matter? – This game is lining up to be a shootout, with two teams that have franchise QB’s in Eli Manning and Brady, and it seems more and more like this is going to be a shootout. Don’t count out the run games though, as players like Ahmad Bradshaw and Ben Jarvis Green Ellis are players that will be counted on to pound out yards when the going gets tough. The run games have gotten no attention, and Sunday one of them could hit a play that decides the game. They may need to.
4. Coaching – The last time, Tom Coughlin outwitted Bill Belichick in the biggest game of the year, winning 17-14 in Arizona. Today, it’s going to be another battle between the two minds, and it’s how does Belichick respond to the last loss that will be the big key. Can he do enough to pressure Manning, run the ball with some success, protect Brady, and find a way to score enough to win the game? To me, the pressure is all on the Pats, as they have to prove that SB 43 is out of their system.
Prediction: This isn’t going to be easy. The Giants have the momentum. They have been the better team in the playoffs, and have played better in beating the Falcons, Packers and 49ers. Sure the Pats beat the Broncos, but their win over the Ravens some say was lucky. There’s so many reasons to go with the Giants, but if Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are going to be defined as the #1 coach-QB combo in NFL history, they will find a way to win this game. Brady will play better than week 7, the Pats will have a player or two come up big, and Belichick will get his revenge. Don’t think SB 42 is not on this teams mind? Just wait.
Patriots 29 Giants 23