It’s that magical time of year when beer, wings, pizza and football all come together for one of the biggest sporting events in the world–the Super Bowl, a time when fans can put rivalries aside and enjoy an event that caps off an exciting season. From the halftime show to the anticipation of the iconic and over the top commercials, there is no shortage of entertainment on Super Bowl Sunday but nothing overshadows the two teams ready to put their seasons on the line for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. This year’s contest has the New England Patriots vs. the New York Giants in an epic rematch that’s expected to be the most watched Super Bowl game ever.
If I had told you at the beginning of the NFL season that Victor Cruz would be one of the NFL’s leading receivers or that Mario Manningham would end up with less receiving yards than Darren Sproles, you would have called me crazy. But therein lies the beauty of the NFL; you never really know how the teams or players will fare. Sure, another Super Bowl with the Patriots playing is no surprise to anyone who follows football but nonetheless, the path they took was less than expected. It’s hard to imagine that anyone predicted the 2 New England tight ends putting up a combined 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns in one season.
For the past 10 years, the Patriots have been a poster child for dominance and there is one person at the heart of that, Tom Brady. The Patriots defense is suspect at best so most games rest on Brady’s shoulders and he has the ability to make anyone a star. Rob Gronkowski stepped up this year as well and his performance this season is unheard of for a tight end. There is no denying that the Pats have one of the most potent offenses in the league, which was evident in the first game of the season when Brady connected with Wes Welker for a record 99-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, it’s the defense that losses games for the Patriots; ranked dead last in yards allowed, this unit has struggled all year.
The Giants have been up and down all season. Some games they look like champions but others, like the 49-24 beating from New Orleans Saints in week 12, make them look weak. Beyond a doubt, the Giants’ MVP this season is Victor Cruz. After Mario Manningham went down with an injury, Cruz got a shot at playing time and he never looked back. Surpassing even the solid numbers of Hakeem Nicks who finished with 1,192 yards and 7 touchdowns, Cruz has made a name for himself as a top receiver in the NFL. Obviously, Eli Manning’s performance is a big factor in this game and although he had a great season (4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns) he at times looked lost. Cruz’s circus catches definitely helped Eli out of some jams but the Giants can’t rely on that to win games.
When all is said and done, I think the Patriots are the better team, but then again I thought the same thing four years ago. It’s going to come down to whether the Giants can stop the TE tandem on the Patriots and whether the Pats can put pressure on Eli so he doesn’t have time to find Cruz or Nicks. I don’t see Belichek losing another one to the Giants. After they ruined his perfect season, he has a bone to pick with New York and you had better believe he isn’t letting the Giants steal another one from him.
Final Score: Patriots 24 Giants 17