Sunday, February 5, 2012
Super Bowl 46 (Sunday - 6:29pm)
The day is finally here. Time for the incessant talk to stop. We've heard all the stories: the Giants D-line vs. the Pat's O-line and Brady. A rematch of the game that shall not be discussed. Belichick and Coughlin are both Parcells' disciples. Gronk's ankle. Brady vs. Eli in Peyton's house. Yada yada. I could write for hours about this game and still not say everything that I want to, so I'll try and keep it short. Plus I'm too damn excited to write or concentrate enough to form coherent sentences.
All I know is I've been watching the past Super Bowl DVD's over the last two weeks and couldn't wait another day. One thing that was apparent from the past Super Bowl teams was that they were all truly teams and handled adversity equally as well as their triumphs. The 2011 Patriots have certainly had their share of adversity - from losing Ms. Myra, the constant criticism of the defense, and losing back to back games for the first time since God knows when - here they are; one game away from being crowned kings of the NFL. If anything has been telling of the nature of this years Pats team, it has been Belichick's laid back attitude the past week. He's been engaging with the media, even cracking jokes and you can tell he feels his team is well prepared for the biggest game of the year.
After watching highlights from the regular season match up between the Giants and Patriots, we know this game will be a battle. Both defenses set the tone in that match up, with hard hitting and exceptional tackling, leading to a 0-0 halftime score. The Giants ultimately won as Tracy White, a career special teamer, failed miserably in his efforts to replace both Brandon Spike and Gary Guyton at linebacker who were both injured in that game. White had textbook form on how to play the worst pass coverage imaginable. Brady also had too many turnovers, and that was that. Since the return of Spikes and Chung, the defense has shown marked improvement and should perform much better than they did in the 2nd half of that game. Of course that is much easier said than done when going up against a receiving corps as talented as the Giants. The pass defense has been the ultimate question mark for this team throughout the season, now it's time for their ultimate test.
If you've read anything that I've written during the playoffs, then you'll know the keys to today's game will be turnovers and red zone efficiency. Brady will need to protect the ball much better than he did in the last match up if the Pats want to win. One other key to watch will be how strictly the referees enforce holding penalties. Watching the Giants over the past few weeks, their suspect O-line gets away with more holding penalties than any team I've seen in recent memory. If they are allowed to hold the Patriots pass rushers and give Eli time to extend plays, it could be the difference maker in tonight's game.
At the start of the playoffs, I wrote that this Giants team had the feel of one of those teams that is just destined to make a run to the Super Bowl. That feeling was stronger than ever watching Eli float passes into double coverage two weeks ago in the NFC Championship game. On two occasions, San Francisco defenders knocked each other out of the game because the passes were so bad that they collided trying to intercept them. But that stops tonight. This Patriots team has proven their mental toughness time and time again throughout the 2011 season. Belichick prepares them better than anyone. Over the past two weeks, the Patriots have gotten the feel of being the underdog even though their 2 and a half point favorites. In a season which they dedicated to the loss of their beloved first lady, tonight the Patriots deliver Bob Kraft his 4th Lombardi trophy in the honor of his sweetheart.
New England 31 - New York 20