Over the last several years, we’ve seen football teams get “hot” at the end of the year. As a matter fact, the New York Giants are the best example of a team that was wallowing in mediocrity and somehow got it together four years ago. They did that same thing this year. They were 6-6. People were laughing at Eli Manning and his characterization of himself as an elite quarterback. Many in New York were calling for Tom Coughlin to be fired.
The defensive coordinator and the offensive coordinator were under fire all year long. Yet, somehow, they put together a string of wins and now sit as champions of the NFC.
The New England Patriots had different struggles. Their offense was simply okay. Their defense was abysmal. They got rid of Albert Haynesworth and slowly began to play better team defense. Their offense still struggles at times but, midway through the season, they started to play more consistent football. There were glimpses of the old, super successful New England Patriots. When New England went to Denver and gave Tim Tebow and his Broncos beat down, that harkened back to the New England Patriots a few years ago. Early in the season, New England played Buffalo and had an uncharacteristic day. Tom Brady threw four interceptions. The New England Patriots lost. This was a theme that we would see throughout the season. If they took care of the ball then New England had an excellent opportunity to win. If they didn’t take of the ball, New England would have a difficult time winning. When New England played the New York Giants in week nine, we saw the same pattern. Tom Brady had a sack fumble. He also had a couple of interceptions. The New England Patriots lost that game.
Unlike in years past, there’s not a defensive juggernaut at the Super Bowl. Both of these defenses can be extremely vulnerable to either the pass or the run. The question for this Super Bowl is which offensive line will dominate. The offensive line that dominates will lead their team to victory. Both quarterbacks can hit wide-open receivers. Both quarterbacks can read defenses extremely well. The key to this game, in my opinion, is the offensive line. I believe that the offensive line of the New York Giants will hold up better and give Eli Manning just a fraction more time. That’s all you need in the NFL, just a fraction more time. The key to a possible Giants victory is the play of the tremendous defensive front four. If they dominate… Tom Brady will become frustrated. He needs a clean pocket. They need to consistently apply pressure and alleviate some of the stress on their subpar secondary.
My predictions over the last several weeks have been awful. There’s no other way to categorize them. Yet, like a punchdrunk fighter, I keep predicting anyway. I give a slight edge in this game to New York Giants.