NFL Picks: Super Bowl Sunday is comingPublished 4:31pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012
We have our Super Bowl matchup and the hype is well under way.
Is Eli better than Peyton? Do the Giants have Tom Brady’s number? Will Rob Gronkowski’s ankle hold up?
While those are some of the big topics this week, I’m still having a little trouble digesting how they these teams got to the Super Bowl.
The Giants would be at home right now if it weren’t for three extremely lucky plays in their favor at San Francisco. First, you have the punt that bounced off of Kyle Williams’ leg that set the Giants up for the go-ahead score in regulation and then you have the two passes that Eli Manning threw into double coverage, but neither ended up as interceptions because the 49er secondary was too busy trying to knock out each other instead of grabbing the ball.
I’m not even counting Williams’ second fumble in overtime as a lucky play, because at least somebody had to strip the ball away.
The Patriots didn’t look much better as they also had a bit of luck go in their direction in their win over the Ravens.
Not only did Lee Evans drop a game winning touchdown pass (I know it was tipped, but when the ball is tucked away and then stripped out, I’m calling it a drop) and Billy Cundiff missed a chip shot field goal that would’ve forced overtime.
I know they say it’s better to be lucky than good, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen two teams back their way into the Super Bowl due to other’s shortcoming like these two have.
It makes me wonder about Super Bowl Sunday. Will the game come down to flawless execution by Eli Manning or will it come down to Giants tight end Travis Beckum fumbling away a game-clinching drive?
Will Tom Brady relive his three Super Bowl wins and have a dramatic game-winning drive or does Danny Woodhead drop a game winning score?
I’d like to think that two weeks of preparation and playing indoors will bring out the best of both teams so I’m going to eliminate the fluke factor in my pick.
I know the Pats are doing everything they can to avoid talk of the 2007 season when the Giants took away their undefeated season, but you know that’s a lie. I can’t imagine anything bothering Brady and his teammates more than the daily highlight of the ‘helmet catch’ by David Tyree they’ve seen every day leading up to the big game.
The Giants are coming in overconfident and there’s no way around it. Antrel Rolle has all but guaranteed a win and they were very cocky before the Packers and 49er games as well.
You could say that the Giants won those two games because their confidence boosted them, but the fashion in which they won says otherwise. I already explained why they beat the 49ers and the Packer game wasn’t too different.
In that game you had the following things lead to a Giant win: Aaron Rodgers missed wide open Greg Jennings on what would’ve been a touchdown, John Kuhn fumbled the ball away when he wasn’t touched by a defender, Chad Clifton and a second blocker completely whiffed on a block which allowed Osi Umenyiora come in free to sack and force a fumble on Rodgers, who was about to throw to a wide open Jennings for six, and Ryan Grant fumbled the ball away while fighting for one extra yard after he had already gotten a first down while down 10 in the fourth quarter.
While I am a Packer fan, I’m not taking away the Giants win over my favorite team. They deserved to win and they were the better team that day.
But it makes me wonder. Will Tom Brady miss wide open receivers? Will Wes Welker be careless with the football? Will Logan Mankins blow a blocking assignment?
The fact is the Patriots are one of the most disciplined teams in football and I think Brady knows this could be his last shot to get that fourth Super Bowl. The only thing I see stopping New England is Rob Gronkowski’s ankle and judging by how the Pats have been vague about injuries in the past, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s 100 percent by Sunday.
PATRIOTS 31, GIANTS 28
Playoffs: 7-3; overall: 168-96