By Anthony Carillo
This is what we all have been waiting for, the super bowl. Most of us were scared back in the summer if we were even going to have a season, but now we can all sit and celebrate one of the most popular sporting events in the world. We saw the Giants pull off some major upsets to make it to the big show, and we watched the Patriots narrowly escape the Ravens to win the AFC Championship game. This game is going to be filled with big plays, hard hitting defenses, and strategic coaching plans that people will write books about in the future.
For the Patriots one big question still remains, and that is the question of how healthy is their record setting tight end Gronkowski’s ankle. Even if he is not 100% and can not do what we all saw during the regular season, they still have a very explosive TE in Aaron Hernandez. Tom Brady has led the number 2 passing offense all season, and with players like Wes Welker, Deion Branch, and his TE duo, look for Brady to throw the ball early and often, on short to intermediate pass routes to try and counter act the fierce pass rush of the Giants defensive line. The biggest part of the Patriots team that will have the most pressure on them will be the offensive line, focusing mostly on their offensive tackles. Matt Light and rookie Nate Solder will have to protect Brady from the Giants dominant defensive line, led by Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora. Look for the Patriots to run a no huddle, fast paced offense to try and fatigue that defensive line, so it can create time for Brady to find his targets down the field.
The Giants were never supposed to even be close to the super bowl, but after reeling off win after win, over teams like the Packers, the 49ers and even the Patriots, the Giants have made it back to the big dance. Eli Manning has been on fire throughout this postseason, throwing for over 900 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, with only 1 interception. Eli has very explosive receivers at his disposal, with the emergence of Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham. Together those three receivers have accounted for 20 of Eli Manning’s 29 passing touchdowns. The big question for Big Blue is what running game is going to show up on sunday? Will it be the running game that was ranked last during the regular season, or will it be the running game that we have seen during the postseason? Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs are two totally different run styles, but it works out for the Giants perfectly. They can send the 6’4” 250 lb Jacobs up the middle to pound on those linebackers and defensive linemen, and then they can take the shifty Bradshaw and run him off tackle to create space on the outside. Look for the Giants to try to stretch the field on the Patriots defense, which ranked in the bottom of the league in pass defense this year. If Eli can limit the mistakes, and have long sustaining drives to keep Brady off the field, then the Giants have a great shot to win this game.
Overall, I see this game to be a great rematch of the 2007 super bowl. Both teams now are more evenly matched up, and both teams have a lot to prove. All in all, I see this game going down to whoever has the ball last, since i am predicting a shootout type game. I see Eli Manning throwing for over 300 yards, 2 touchdowns and possibly 1 interception. I also see Brady throwing for over 300 yards, 2 touchdowns, and possibly 1 interception. When the clock finally strikes 0:00 and the last whistle has been blown, I predict the Giants will be jumping for joy because they just won super bowl 46 with the final score of Giants-30 Patriots-27.