This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for Super Bowl XLVI is here, and the winner will be immortalized forever in football history. In a rematch of Super Bowl XLII and the week 14 matchup, both teams have something to prove.
For the Giants, the team has a chance to cement themselves as an elite team. It’s also a chance for Eli Manning to finally get rid of the Peyton monkey on his back. As for the Pats, they yearn for redemption. Following the embarrassing and eye-opening Super Bowl loss in ’07, the Pats have never been the same. Prior to this year, the Patriots hadn’t won a playoff game since. Their defense has played at a lower level consistently, and the offense lacks to star power it once had. A win would cement Brady’s Hall of Fame status, and would return the Pats to their place as world champs.
So which story line will it be? Will it be Eli surpassing his brother in Super Bowl wins on Peyton’s turf no less? Will it be Brady win his first Super Bowl carrying the team on his back? Let’s find out:
Here are several aspects in the game that will determine the outcome:
In Super Bowl XLII and this year’s regular season rematch, the Giants won thanks to constant pressure on Brady. To any sane quarterback, the words Tuck, Pierre-Paul, and Co. will strike fear in their hearts (unless your Eli Manning, who is fortunate to have these guys) Despite Tom Brady’s greatness, constantly hitting him will rush him into throws and eventually interceptions.
As for why this key is crucial for the Pats, well I think it’s obvious. The Giants offense is the real deal. Let me make this clear: The Pats secondary suck and it probably not going to change Sunday. Yet if Manning’s running for his life ever play, even this secondary will be dangerous. In the regular season matchup, the defense thrived when blitzing, especially from their dime and nickel packages. If the Pats have similar and more frequent success, expect a check under the win column. With a d-line consisting of Vince Wilfork, I don’t see that posing too much of a problem. However, I don’t see the Pats blitzing often, so I chose the Giants.
Its obvious, for why the Pats need to step this aspect up. Why do the Giants? Two words: Tom Brady. Since the devastating SB loss, the Pats have transformed from a high-flying offense to a West Coast oriented one. The West Coast was created to counter teams notorious for their pass rush (i.e 70s Steelers and 80′s Bears) with quick plays rather than long developing ones. Even then, a well orchestrated blitz will generate pressure and sacks. The Giants still thrashed Tom Brady in the regular season game.
I expect Bill Belichick to have added some new wrinkles to stop the ferocious pass rush the Giants possess. That’s why the secondary must step up. Knowing Belichick, he will prevent the Giants from getting to Brady every single play. Brady will have time , but even the best of schemes will only fend the rush for a few seconds. The secondary will have to have great coverage for those seconds. Brady doesn’t have the mentality of a gunslinger; he won’t force passes because he’s a smart guy. If he tries though, the Giants will take advantage. I think the Giants will step up.
Here are some minor keys for each team. They may be specific areas of the above categories, or areas the named team needs to step up:
For the Giants:
*Run the Ball efficiently. Not only do they have great backs in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, but running the ball will control the clock. Controlling the clock will keep Brady on the bench, which is always a good thing. It also sets up the playaction, which is deadly in the long run.
* Run the trips set consistently. The Giants have Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham, and Hakeem Nicks. All three are explosive in their own rights. Put them on one side of the field, and the Patriots will have no answer.
* Protect the underneath. The Pats are not built for the long bomb, so preventing the underneath will make Welker, Gronkowski, and Hernandez ineffective.
For the Pats:
* Utilize Ochocinco. How can anyone with his personality disappear? Yet that is exactly what happened. Ocho hasn’t done anything this season; its time for him to erupt. In his first Super Bowl, you can expect him to make himself known. The Giants will have their hands full with the TEs and Welker. Some corner will defend the man once known as Johnson. Big mistake.
* Stop the run. You don’t want to let the Giants control the tempo of the game, and that is exactly what will happen if the Giants run well.
* Special Teams. The Giants are better in every aspect of the game so far, so good special teams could determine the outcome.
Conclusion: This game will ultimately come to which defense stops the opposition’s offense better. I think it’s the Giants by four. Yet if history is any indication, this could be another upset in the making. In the end, this will be a good game, and one of these teams will reach the pinnacle of their career.