Before the playoffs started, back when many people figured the Packers and Saints were as close to offensive perfection as we’d ever seen, I believed one thing: whoever made it out of the NFC was going to win the Super Bowl.
Then the New York Giants took advantage of the opportunities handed to them by the San Francisco 49ers, won the NFC Title Game at Candlestick and that meant I had to pick them to win.
Luckily, I don’t really have any motivation to change my mind.
Reasons why the Patriots will have trouble during the Super Bowl
1. New England’s defense isn’t embarrassing by any means, but it’s more than a hair worse than the 49ers’ D. The Giants will score points.
2. The Patriots already lost to the Giants this year at Foxboro, and the Giants are much healthier now. Ahmad Bradshaw didn’t play against New England in Week 9, and he’ll be a lot more effective against the Saints than he was against the 49ers.
3. Tom Brady’s a great quarterback when he can stand untouched in the pocket and pick apart a defense. Neither team will spend long trying to run the ball (unless one of the teams jumps out to a significant lead), which means the Giants will have plenty of chances to get to Brady and force a bad pass and perhaps a turnover or two.
4. Rob Gronkowski’s hurt. He’ll play, but the Giants are going to be aiming his ankle all afternoon. The Patriots’ chance here is if he’s so drugged up he can’t feel anything, which will probably be the case because … why not? We all know Gronk can take all the drugs in the world without sounding any less intelligent, since that wouldn’t be possible.
Reasons why the Giants will have trouble during the Super Bowl
— TOM BRADY AND BILL BELICHICK ARE OUT FOR REVENGE!!!!
Huh. Patriots backers sure have quite a case.
Alright, alright. I’m being a little narrow-minded and forgetting a couple NYG weaknesses. The Giants aren’t exactly perfect.
— Their offensive line isn’t all that superb, as the 49ers’ defensive Smiths could tell you.
— The Giants’ secondary can be beaten. Even if the Gronkster isn’t his Gronky self, Aaron Hernandez can beat them downfield the same way Vernon Davis did in the NFC Championship Game.
— If we’re feeling like going the superstitious route, it’s not exactly great championship karma when your team website prematurely posts a graphic on the front page saying you won the Super Bowl (pictured at the top of this post). Jack Kent Cooke would probably agree.
Prediction time: the score
The Patriots are favored by 2.5-3 points pretty much everywhere you look, and the over/under is anywhere from 53-54.
I’m taking the Giants and the under. It won’t take 35 minutes for either team to score like in their Week 9 matchup, but I don’t see an Arena League-type shootout either. The Patriots had the prettier record during the regular season, but the Giants are playing like a 13-3 team right now. They’ll take the lead into the second half, and with Brady forced to go shotgun and chuck the ball around on every play, he’s bound to get whacked a time or 10.
The Giants didn’t intercept Alex Smith, only because he threw passes specifically designed to avoid the other team (and in the process, Smith’s own teammates). Brady throws a more catchable ball, and one or two of his passes will be intercepted. As the game wears on pressure on Brady will beget more pressure, the Giants’ receivers will catch some touchdowns, and the NFC will reign supreme for the third time in four years.
Super Bowl Pick: Giants 30, Patriots 20
Need a recipe or two for your party? Check out my wife’s magically delicious and delightfully immature Super Bowl recipes for the vengeful 49ers fan.