Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Super Bowl Forty-Two

Giants Win?

Well, it's official. Super Bowl 42 will be between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants. The Pats will be big favourites.

They will also be going for an unprecedented undefeated season.

I'm picking the Giants.

Am I crazy? Or, just stupid?

Maybe both, but I'm still counting on the Giants to upset the apple cart and ruin what should be a historic victory by the New Englanders. I was very sceptical until I saw the Conference Championship game at Green Bay. The Pack had lost only twice in the post-season at Lambeau Field and were consensus favourites to send New York packing. The game was going according to plan, though still tight, when I got too tired and went to bed.

I was surprised in the morning to find that the Packers had lost. Watching the highlights was surreal. Even though I knew the score, I still expected Favre to engineer a last quarter comeback. It never happened. Even with a banged-up secondary the Giant's defence was beyond excellent.

If they can replicate this defensive performance in the Super Bowl, they will have a chance.

What's happening on the other side of the ball is also swinging my vote towards The Big Apple. Eli Manning is doing what needs to be done to win. He has excellent protection in the pocket. He has been making good decisions. He has been making excellent throws, putting the ball where only his guy can catch it. The Giants can test the Patriots' defence.

Not surprisingly, I'm in the minority. Watching and reading the American pundits you might think the Pats have only to turn up to win. American football is not that kind of a game. It is, literally, ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. If New England don't bring their “A Game” they will lose.

There were signs of this in their game against San Diego. Tom Brady threw three interceptions. San Diego moved the ball easily down the field, just did not manage to convert field goals into touchdowns. New England weren't lucky - just fortunate. On another day they could have easily lost. If they approach the Super Bowl in an over-confident mood, they will be ripe for an upset.

This is going one of two ways.

One – it's a Patriots' blow-out. Giants get stuffed on offence and can't stop Brady's short passing game. Pat's win by 20+.

Two – it's a close football game and the Giants just get the win by (say) a field goal.

I'm choosing two.

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