Four years ago, the Giants were the only team to beat the Patriots, ended a 18-0 streak, leaving a blemish on Tom Brady’s Super Bowl record in the process. Will Brady get revenge or will history repeat itself?
I remember that game as being on the best Super Bowls I’d ever seen. It was back and forth, the type of magical game where you hate to see anyone lose, but someone always does. Here’s a rundown of what to expect in this Super Bowl.
1.) When New England runs the ball.
New England doesn’t run the ball much, only ranking 20th in the NFL at 110 yards/game. The Giants don’t defend the run that well either, ranking 19th at 121/game. It would be easy to say the Giants D has tightened up in the playoffs but they allowed 150 to San Fransico and 147 to Green Bay. They need to do a job more like they did to Atlanta, whom they held to 21, because as dangerous as the Patriots are throwing the ball, they’re infinitely more dangerous when they at least can threaten with the run. Although making the Pats one-dimensional doesn’t mean victory by any stretch, allowing the Pats to run spells disaster. Advantage: Even.
2.) When the Giants run the ball.
Remember when the Giants led the NFL in rushing back in 2008? Or how they were 5th in the NFL last year? How the mighty have fallen. They ranked dead last this year, averaging 89.2 yards/game. the Lions, who started someone they signed off the street the final month of the year, averaged 95.2/game despite 55 fewer rushes. The Patriots were 17th against the run, allowing 117/game. They have also struggled against the run in the playoffs, allowing the Ravens and Broncos to run for 116 and 144 yards respectively. But these two teams are much better at running the ball than the Giants have been. Advantage: Patriots.
3.) When New England throws the ball.
Surprise, surprise. Some things never change. Brady and the Patriots ranked 2nd in the NFL, throwing for 344/game. With weapons all over the field, particularly at TE, this passing game is hard to stop. The Giants finished the year ranked 29th against the pass but have tightened the pass defense up considerably in the playoffs, holding San Fransico, Green Bay, and Atlanta to 178, 241, and 183 yards respectively. They’ve also sacked Ryan twice, Rodgers 4 times, and Alex Smith 3 times and forced a combined five fumbles. What this means is that they’re looking much like the defensive line that chased and harassed Brady for 4 quarters back in 2008. With that said, the Giants linebackers and safeties will have trouble keeping up with the Patriots Tight Ends. I also expect that if they direct too much attention on Gronkowski and Hernandez, Brady will tear them apart via Chad Ochocinco and Wes Walker. That’s why this offense is hard to stop. With that said, if the Pats line struggles again, Brady might be in for a long day. Advantage: Hard to vote against a 3 time Super bowl MVP. New England
4.) When the Giants throw.
Eli Manning would’ve gone to the Pro Bowl had they not gotten here because he had his best season ever. And it’s not like he had an All-Pro receiver corps. He lost his leading receiver, Steve Smith, and his security blanket, Kevin Boss, and still posted his best year. The Giants were ranked 5th in the NFL, averaging 308/game. The Patriots were horrible defending the pass, ranking 31st in the NFL at 293 yards/game. Only the Packers were worse. (Yes there are worse pass defenses than the Lions) But as the Giants have tightened up, so have the Patriots, holding Denver to 108 yards and Baltimore to 282 yards. They also sacked Flacco 3 times and Tebow 5, intercepting 1 Flacco pass and forcing the Broncos to fumble. With that said, neither offense had as many weapons as the Giants nor is either QB as dangerous as Eli, a fact the Patriots are all too aware of. With that said, one dimensional offenses tend to get demolished by defenses coached by Bill Belicheck, and the Giants are about as one-dimensional as it gets. Advantage: Giants
Belichick is one of the best coaches in the NFL and Tom Brady’s a three time Super Bowl MVP. With that said, Coughlin and Manning spend every day of their existence facing the New York media, meaning the circus the Super Bowl can be is similiar to what they’ve face every single day. Both teams are well-coached and will be prepared for the game, and will ignore the distractions a game like this can bring. With that said, I don’t think anyone on either side is going to be as motivated as Tom Brady, who hasn’t forgotten his only Super Bowl loss at the hands of these same Giants. Advantage: New England
I expect this will be another great game that will come down to the wire. Both teams will make plays and both teams will leave nothing on the field. I expect a shootout, with the Patriots defense making a big play that decides the game.
New England 34, NY Giants 30