[Editor's Note: This posting was originally published on February 3rd.]
The Super Bowl. The fattest of them all. The thing is milked dry of ways to buy and sell and buy and sell. For many millions of people, it's a thing to make fancy dips for and watch a handful of high-budget commercials. Some get off on the halftime crap bonanza that takes forever and embarrasses me to be from this planet. It draws out celebrities and even the leader of the free world to bathe themselves in the grand spectacle. The scene is frightful. It's the Coliseum all over again. How much longer until we flood Cowboy Stadium and have under-water football? Bring in the live tigers and let's do this thing right.Yet underneath all of that—like cake under frosting—is a game worth sinking your teeth into. I sense a collective groan from the people in regards to the participants this year. They wanted the Harbowl or the Packers or somebody other than two blue-and-red teams from New York and Boston. To them, this match-up is too predictable, too passe. Yet, despite their displeasure, the game will go on and has all the makings of being a damn entertaining one at that.
Seems to me the chic pick by most analysts are the Giants. Their mental toughness and prosperous passing attack has allowed them to rip off a mean winning streak, leaving awestruck victims in their wake. Suddenly the Giants are commanding; they will not be ignored. They are a well-coached group of hard-working professionals who know what's at stake. Many of these players have ripened into their primes, most notably Eli Manning. The New York Giants are poised and ready to win another Super Bowl, but they won't.
I think Eli the Lesser is too good to shut down. I think he will lead his offense to at least 25 points and take advantage of his three-amigo like receivers against a soft and injured secondary. I think the Giants will move the ball, score points and avoid turnovers.
The real question remains, however, if the New York pass rush can get to Tom Brady. That seems to be the selling point for those who pick against the Patriots. The fearsome foursome up front for the G-Men are indeed top-notch and can make a difference, but that only plays into the hands of Brady and his odd cast of characters.
In the first Monday Night game of the season, New England killed Miami on the quick passing game with Brady dropping back three steps or less on his throws. They still play that way, it's just become a little more complex since then. Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski get their money for their yards-after-the-catch ability. Every skill player on their offense can effectively line up at another position and they often do so in their hurry-up mode. Brady picks up short yardage on the sneak better than anybody I remember watching. Their offense almost always makes perfect sense and they can use it in so many ways that they become experimental, like lining up Hernandez in the back field and handing the ball off to him. The New England Patriot offense is football jazz and it's hard to put away.
I see New England pulling out some craziness from its playbook and going after the Giants right from the get-go. They ran the ball surprisingly well at key stretches against Baltimore, which makes me think they won't run once in their first 15 plays this Sunday. I think Brady is too good and has too many weapons. The Ravens kept them in check more than I predicted, but this week the Giants will see a more efficient Patriot machine and will struggle to contain them to 30 points. That total could be more, but New England prefers the multi-play, ball-control drives rather than the big hitters. They will wear the Giants out in the fourth quarter and put the thing to bed. Brady will cement his face in the Rushmore of quarterbacks and Bill Belichick will just go to bed.
So, that's the season, all wrapped up in a boring New England Super Bowl win. The game will be thrilling and high-scoring, great plays will be made, but afterward, most will agree they don't want to see that match-up ever again. Instead, they would love to see that hilarious boobs commercial again and again.
Patriots 31, Giants 28
Mojokong—more than money.