It all finally comes down to this.
I don’t think any of us would’ve predicted this game at the beginning of the season; The New England Patriots vs the New York Giants, a rematch of Super Bowl XLII.
Instead of explaining how each team got to this point, I’m going straight to my prediction.
A factor for the New York Giants in this game will be their pass rush. Having four defensive ends on your defensive line helps a lot to rush the passer. It’s been efficient, as they’re first in the league. Tom Brady isn’t a mobile quarterback and would rather stay in the pocket. If they can make Brady uncomfortable and run, they’ll have a great chance of winning.
Another factor for the Giants will be their running game. Ranked worst in the league, Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs have run better as of late. The Patriots know they will have a hard time defending the core of Giants receivers including Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham. This team has to establish a run to complete the offense and really mess around with the Patriots’ head.
Now to New England.
What New England has to do first is find out what its tight end Rob Gronkowski will be able to do. Gronk is their best weapon, scoring 17 touchdowns this season (a tight end record). Along with Gronk, its other tight end Aaron Hernandez can be just as deadly since he can play running back too. Gronk sprained his ankle against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game. If he’s able to run but not vertically, make him run slants the whole game and force the Giants to move in then throw deep.
Just like the Giants, the Patriots could win this game if they get their running game going first. With options like Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Aaron Hernandez, Danny Woodhead, and Stevan Ridley, you can’t go wrong. The Giants know Brady can throw, but if they’re able to compliment their passing game, this could be a high scoring game.
Prediction: New York Giants 34 New England Patriots 27
I think the Giants win this game because they have the momentum coming in. Talking trash all week, they’re more confident and more healthier than ever. Eli Manning has definitely upgraded from his ’08 self when they played the Patriots in the Super Bowl the last time. Now he’s able to make plays in the fourth quarter, throwing for 15 touchdowns in the season (NFL record). The Giants pass rush will be too much for Brady, and defensive backs like Julian Edleman will be tested. Plus, the Patriots have more flaws compared to their 18-1 team in 2008.