The Game: Super Bowl XLII – New England Patriots (18-0) vs. New York Giants (13-6)
The Place: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
The Time: 6:30pm
The Channel: Fox
The Skinny: You’ve heard the story lines, you’ve heard the teary eyed features, and you’ve seen the X’s and O’s. No more dilly dally, it’s almost game time! Here are my three keys.
3 Keys to the Game:
- START FAST: The bottom line is that if the Patriots can start quick and take the Giants out of their offensive comfort zone, Eli Manning will be forced to throw the ball much more and he eventually will make a mistake against the Pats opportunistic defense. Expect the Pats to come out in a four or maybe even five wide receiver set to start the game, spread the Giants out and go for the throat early on. The passing game will be key and if the Patriots can score on their first drive, the Giants will be forced to match the Pats score for score, which is something they don’t want to do.
- AVOID DISTRACTION: No one deals with adversity like the Patriots. With all of the Spygate stuff coming back into focus in the last few days, the Patriots must keep focus and use it as motivation. Bill Belichick has made a living out of motivating his team and the Pats need to make sure they leave no doubt in the minds of the country that this team, this year, is the greatest team in the history of the NFL.
- BEND, DON’T BREAK ON DEFENSE: The Patriots have played outstanding defense in the playoffs, forcing teams to kick field goals in the red zone rather than score touchdowns. The Pats haven’t allowed a TD since halftime of the Jacksonville Divisional game. The Pats need to stop the run and then take advantage of Eli Manning mistakes. The one thing the Giants cannot do is turn the ball over in their own half of the field, something which killed the Chargers in the AFC title game. Junior Seau, Tedy Bruschi and Rodney Harrison provide the veteran leadership which trumps a lot of physical ability in the biggest game of anyone’s life.
The more I think about this game and break it down, the more I like the Patriots in a two or three touchdown game. The Pats will be playing in the best weather in two months, have a full compliment of players (OL Nick Kaczur, OL Steve Neal and TE Kyle Brady missed the Week 17 game) and have the Super Bowl experience to handle the pressure and execute. The only way the Giants stand a chance is if they run the ball effectively, Eli Manning plays flawless football and the defensive line wreaks havoc with a four man rush. I just don’t see those happening. I think the game will be close near halftime but the Pats will win it going away and claim their fourth Super Bowl in seven years, truly an amazing accomplishment.
Patriots 38, Giants 20
Tags: New York Giants, Patriots, Super Bowl, Tom Brady