Sunday, February 05, 2012


Or as it's otherwise known, the Super Bowl is tomorrow and I had a big post planned. I'd written about a third I think of what would have been the end thing, and now it has disappeared into the digital wilderness, probably hiding somewhere in the darkest recesses of my computer.

So in short, I don't have the time or the patience to do all that again.

That means I'm going to just briefly talk about the Super Bowl, starting with the fact that when I think of football, New York and New England all in one sentence, I visualise the word "snow" appearing. Which is exactly what I can see looking out of my window. 4 inches of it.

The other thing I've visualised when thinking about New York, New England and the Super Bowl is this; I don't know about you, but I really haven't been that hyped up for this one. Admittedly that's probably because I've stayed well clear of I just cannot stomach that website right now and as a result I've lost the usual feelings of anticipation that I normally get come Super Bowl time. Odd.

As for the game itself, I'm backing the Giants to pull off a repeat of their last Super Bowl meeting with the Patriots. I say this because the Giants - to me at least - seem like a much stronger all around team, especially when you factor in injuries to the Patriots offense.

Is Rob Gronkowski going to be fit enough to play, and indeed to play at the level required? If not then that makes life so much easier for the Giants defensive coverage. Aaron Hernandez is still a potent threat in his place, but not as much as Gronkowski. It means Welker can become the focus for the G-men defense, putting someone like Aaron Ross on him to the exclusion of all else.

Which generally I see as the Giants best bet to nail down the Patriots. Go man to man across the board, press the crap out of the New England receivers, and then do everything possible to help that pass rush find its way home. That means blitzing from the same side that Jason Pierre-Paul lines up on, to guarantee him one on one matchups on key plays.

And that really gets to the heart of why I like the Giants. Their defensive line is fantastic and as well as the Patriots have managed to protect Tom Brady, I can't see them staving off the Giants pass rush with the ease that they have against lesser teams. The Giants line is just too talented to let that happen.

Of course the monkey in the room is Eli Manning.

His propensity for making key mistakes at critical times could really bite the Giants in the butt here. That's of course before we get on to the general subject of Giants ball carriers having a propensity to fumble the football on any occasion given to them.

I definitely think that if the Giants are going to blow it then that is where it will happen, on the offensive side. They have wonderful potential in guys like Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, but they are also just as prone to making big mistakes and throwing games away despite the best efforts of their defense to keep them in it.

When you factor in Bill Belichick, a coach with a talent for finding ways to game plan against specific opponents if he's given sufficient lead time (which obviously he has for this one), I worry. Belichick has a somewhat motley group of players on his defense, and generally his secondary is a patch work of awfulness, but he also has some talented players up front in the likes of Wilfork, Mayo, Guyton, Spikes and Ninkovich.

That gives Belichick exactly what he likes; options. Options of how to build his pass rush, with Wilfork as the solid anchor around which everything else is based. Expect to see a defensive front and blitzes that you haven't seen out of the Patriots all season.

Most people think the Patriots will run a 4-3 as they have done all year long, but I dunno. It just strikes me that Belichick isn't going to like the thought of just rolling up with the same D that the Giants have been watching on film, especially as the Giants themselves run a 4-3 defense. If I'm Belichick, I'm going to switch to a linebacker heavy defense and get as many of my best players (his linebackers) on the field at once as possible.

That potential for a unique looking defense could be the curve ball that ruins the game for Eli and the Giants offense as they start clutching at straws to figure out a way to adapt and survive. By the time they do, it might just be too late.

I have a certain degree of faith in the Giants D though. I think they've caught the Patriots at a perfect time and I think their front will be enough to cause some serious disruption to Brady. All things considered, I just think the Giants have that slight edge that should be enough to see them through.

And then the great debate will ensue about which quarterback is better, Eli or Peyton, Manning? Do stats matter more than Super Bowls? It'll certainly be an interesting debate.

I'll be back after the Super Bowl at some point in the week, time permitting, for a recap and to share my thoughts. Until then, enjoy the game, and enjoy your Super Bowl party!!

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