On Sunday, the New York Giants and the New England Patriots will face off to determine which team will be the world champions of football. Quarterback Tom Brady is already considered one of the best, but with a win, he could join the ranks of Joe Montana with a fourth Super Bowl win. Eli Manning, with a second championship, could establish himself as a legitimate elite QB.
As for picking the game, our writing staff is almost unanimous. The votes are 7-1 in favor of the Giants. Read on to find out why.
Giants 30, Patriots 24: The two offenses will do their thing, putting points on the board, but Rob Gronkowski's injury will keep him from being the difference maker he has been throughout the season. It will be Eli Manning leading another winning drive. Tom Brady will get no revenge.
Giants 31, Patriots 20: Not having a healthy Gronkowski, a lack of rush offense and a good pass defense are the demise of the Patriots as the Giants stay hot and win another Super Bowl behind Eli and his receivers and a nasty pass rush.
Patroits 31, Giants 28: I see the Patriots narrowly coming out on top in in Super Bowl XLVI. Eli has proven to be among the elite quarterbacks in the league, but it is hard to bet against Brady and Belichick. Plus, Brady will be looking to rebound from his poor performance in the AFC championship game. The Giants may have the hype but the Patriots have better talent and coaching.
This game should be close and if that happens, I'll be thrilled. I have no dog in this fight. I'll pick the Giants to win 27-24 based mostly on the strength of their defensive line who can pressure Brady without having to blitz. The Pats had a pretty easy schedule and barely beat the Ravens at home and the Giants offense is much more dangerous with Eli and his trio of weapons: Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham. Gronk's ankle injury certainly doesn't help the Patriots either.
27-23 Giants over Pats: The Giants pass rush wont rattle Brady as much as people think but ultimately I think Eli is the reason NY will win. Expect quiet games from Gronk and Cruz. I see the Patriots getting down early with their game plan consisting mostly of runs and horizontal passes. They will eventually open it up for Brady once NY gets a 10 point lead but the Giant D will step up big late and prevent the Patriots from getting one final touchdown. Hakeem Nicks will be singled up for a majority of the game and will end up with two touchdowns and the MVP award.
I have a confession to make. I'm a massive Patriots fan despite growing up nowhere near Boston. It's just one of those things. They hooked me early as a little kid, and in 1996 they taught to me how much sports can stomp all over your heart.
That being said, you talk to any Patriots fan, and they'll likely tell you three things. 1) No one is over 2008. No one. As a lifelong Arizona sports fan, I've dealt with plenty of ridiculous devastation, but nothing compares to Super Bowl 42. I could rant on this for days, but I'm sure you feel little-to-no sympathy for me, so I'll move on. 2) Despite that, almost every Patriots fan has to feel like they're going lose on Sunday. Hell, I expected them to lose to Denver. This Pats team is easily one of the worst we've had in years, mainly because of the horrendous, no-name defense. Nothing good can come out of Julian Edelman being one of your go-to corners. Nothing. 3) The Giants just have our number. They have the perfect stylistic counter to our offense, can get pressure on Tom Brady seemingly at will, and shine in the late moments against often-overmatched Pats' secondaries.
So do I hope the Patriots win? Yes. Do I expect them to? No, not at all. At this point, there's nothing else I can do but pull a Simmons-esque reverse-jinx and pick Giants over Pats, 27-24.
Giants 24-21: As has been the case in recent years, it's not necessarily the best teams in the Super Bowl, but the ones who got the hottest at the right time. The quarterbacking quality of both teams should keep it close, but the Giants' ability to run the pass and rush the passer with just their defensive line will prove to be the difference.
The Patriots will need Rob Gronkowski to keep their pass attack moving, and he could be limited on the field by his ankle come gametime. Meanwhile, the Giants have consistently found a way to win tough, close games stretching back to the end of the regular season. This trend continues on Sunday, with the Giants winning a close one for their second Super Bowl victory over Brady and friends in the past five years. Giants 24-21