After going 4-1 yesterday to bring my hardcourt record to 26-13, we now enter into what is in my humble opinion, the best Sunday of the year, hands down. And this Sunday Funday has even more meaning since the Pats are trying to accomplish something that no other team has, a 19-0 season. So to prepare for something that gets this much hype, I will break it down very methodically on how I see the game unfolding, because I do feel that this game will be a battle of what coach can make changes the quickest. No matter who you like or what you choose today, just make sure that your calorie intake in Special Brews far exceeds whatever food you manage to remember to put into your body. Before I get to the task at hand, I would like to give a special IS.com shoutout to Greggy G and all the homeys who have dedicated the last 72 hours in Chicago to creating memories that no one will remember. On to the game…..
New York Giants @ New England Patriots -11.5
In my conversation with Greggy G on Friday we talked through three primary reasons why the Patriots are going to roll today.
1.The spread is actually lower than it should be because everyone is looking at how the Pats failed to cover in their last 5 games. The reason…Belichick has created an offense that is unstoppable in warm weather. As the winter settled in during December the Patriots were forced to rely on their running game and their defense, both of which are still good enough to beat the rest of the NFL, but not to cover spreads. Today’s game happens to be in Arizona, I think that would classify as warm weather.
2.The Giants have been covering spreads recently. Their team is set up for cold weather. With Jacobs leading the running game they have managed to slow the game down and open up some man coverage for Eli to pick apart. On defense, their D-backs are cold weather guys…very slow but good tacklers if they can keep the receivers in front of them. Again, this game is in Arizona, not good news for the Giants and their corners.
3.Belichick is light years ahead of any other coach on the planet right now. He has most likely slept about 3 minutes in the last 2 weeks, and although he won’t change a great deal today, it will be the small things that make the difference. While everyone has been focusing on the Pats offensive capabilities, I think Belichick will provide the biggest difference on the defensive side of the ball which means Eli will be flustered all day long.
Here is how I see the game unfolding….
1st Quarter—Brady will use a large amount of 3 and 5 step drops that will mean quick slants and bubble screens. This will take the Giants D-ends out of the game early forcing Coughlin to either take a large risk and go to bump-and-run or start blitzing with his outside linebackers. Either way this puts Brady and the Pats at a huge advantage early. Meanwhile I think Belichick will force Eli to beat them early. I expect 8 in the box and a couple punts. This will be a relatively low scoring quarter, Pats 10-0.
2nd Quarter—I think Coughlin will be stubborn enough to stick to his guns early, I do see the Pats getting shut down a couple times and Plax making a few big plays. More importantly Brady can now open up with some downfield passes and Maroney will keep the Giants linebackers focused on the run with at least 10 rushes in the 2nd. Strahan, Tuck, and Umenyiora continue to not know whether to bull rush or sit back and fill a hole. Halftime score 24-7.
3rd Quarter—Changes are now made on both ends, unfortunately for the Giants it is a quarter too late. I do see some more of Eli airing it out in the 3rd, but with Bruschi and Seau attacking him, he will be forced to make blitz checks at the line way more than he wants to, which means the Giants can never really begin to execute their 2nd half strategy. Eli makes his first pick of the night and the Pats go on cruise control. Welker will be big going over the middle as the Giants finally bring their linebackers to put some pressure on Brady. Pats 31-17.
4th Quarter—The Giants are forced to abandon everything and feed the ball down the field. This just simply stalls them out drive after drive. Maroney works the clock, and just cause Coach Bill is who he is, they put up another touchdown for good measure. Pats 38-17.
So there you have it, an easy cover and a Superbowl that will go down in history. Gotta love those Patriots!!!