This is a rematch from a few years back when the Giants upset that undefeated Patriots team which was led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. This year’s Patriots team is much different from the stand point that offensively their tight ends play a major role as receivers. They don’t have Randy Moss so they’re not as much of a threat to go deep, but find ways to get into the endzone.
Eli Manning in a much more accomplished quarterback now than he was a couple of years ago. He’s got a better group of receivers, plus the offense relies more their passing game.
SUPER BOWL XLVI, THE PICK, NEW YORK GIANTS +3
Four years ago the New York Giants pulled off a “shock the world” upset against a New England Patriots team that had previously been perfect through 18 games. This year they will meet again in the big game, in Indianapolis, and the Giants will once again play the role of the underdog. Tom Brady will be looking to exorcise his demons from four years ago, while Eli Manning the Giants will try and take another step towards creating a dynasty in New York.
The Patriots have been able to reel off a very impressive ten game winning streak. Ironically though, New England’s last loss was handed to them by the New York Giants, who have been able to find ways to create matchup problems for Bill Belichick’s football team. The Giants are 2-1 straight up, and 3-0 to the spread, against the Pats since 2007.
Much of New York’s success against New England can be attributed to their fierce pass rush. The best formula for beating a great pocket passer like Tom Brady is to create pressure, and the Giants are able to do that with the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora. The Giants are very deep up front, and their speed pass rushers are able to tee off against pass heavy offenses like New England. The Giants have pressured Brady in the past, and I don’t see any reason why that would change in this weeks contest.
New England also struggled against good teams this year. The Pats played a favorable schedule, as they only had to play three teams with with winning records all season. They went 0-3 to the spread, and 1-2 straight up against teams with winning records this year. In recent seasons New England has also struggled in the role of being a slight favorite. Dating back to 2009, the patriots are just 3-4-1 to the number when they are a favorite of three points or less. Meanwhile, the Giants have thrived in the role of being an underdog. The Giants posted an impressive 6-3 record straight up, and a 7-2 mark to the spread as a dog this season.
For New England, the Gronkowski injury can’t be ignored. I would be shocked if he didn’t play, but I would also be shocked if he is very effective. I view Gronkowski as New England’s biggest threat in the passing game, and it will be very difficult for the Patriots offense to put up points unless he plays at a high level. Realistically, I would expect Aaron Hernandez to be a more effective player in this game. Though Hernandez is a very good player, Gronkowski is the best Tight end in the game when healthy, and this injury could make a huge difference in this years Super Bowl.
I would lean towards New York in this game. They are playing great football at the moment, and quite frankly they are playing at a higher level than New England. The Giants seem to have the Patriots number, and the Gronkowski injury makes it even tougher on the Pats. I see the Giants controlling the line of scrimmage in this contest, and the New York front four should be able to consistently pressure Tom Brady. Take the Giants as a slight dog in Super Bowl XLVI .