New York Giants vs. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots will be looking for payback after losing to the Giants just a few years ago in the Super Bowl. The Patriots are -3 point favorites over the Giants with an over/under point total set at 55.
The New England Patriots return to the Super Bowl once again this season led by their legendary head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots have one of the more dynamic passing attacks in the league as Brady and company are ranked second in the NFL in passing yards per game at 317.8 per. The ground attack has been a different story, and if there is a weakness offensively for the Patriots this is definitely it. Defenses have been able to key against the pass and at times completely ignore the Patriots ground game, and this could play a factor in the Super Bowl as the Giants have some of the best pass rushers around, and if New York is able to pin their ears back and come after Brady without being concerned for the Patriots ground game it could be a long and painful night for Brady. The Patriots defensively have had issues all season, as the Patriots have struggled to get any sort of pass rush this year, allowing opposing quarterbacks to pick apart the New England secondary. If the Patriots hope to slow down Eli and company they will need their veteran pass rusher Andre Carter to step up and get into the face and hit Manning. The Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship to advance to this year’s Super Bowl. The Patriots took just a 13-10 lead into the locker room against Baltimore, and after a hard fought second half the Pats prevailed on top 23-20. Brady struggled against the Ravens defense throwing for just 239 yards and two picks, although Brady did rush for one score in the fourth quarter which ended up being the difference.
The New York Giants have definitely had an up and down season this year as the Giants started off hot out of the gate, and despite a mid season slump, New York got hot when it counted and made a dramatic run through the playoffs to earn their spot in this year’s Super Bowl against the Patriots. Eli Manning has had a career year, and if it weren’t for the seasons put up by Rodgers and Brees, there is a very good chance that Manning would be in MVP talks. The Giants passing attack finished the season ranked fifth in the league at 295 yards per game, and a huge reason for that is the emergence of Victor Cruz who has turned into one of the biggest weapons in the game. The New York ground attack may be ranked dead last in the NFL statistically, but don’t be fooled as the Giants can still run the ball behind Bradshaw and Jacobs and if New York can establish any sort of ground game against the Patriots look for Manning to utilize the play action pass effectively to keep the Pats off balance. Defensively the Giants have a very athletic defensive line that is capable of getting pressure on the quarterback without a lot of blitzing, allowing for the backers and secondary to remain in coverage. The New York defense is based around pressure on the quarterback, and look for New York to utilize some wrinkles defensively and use some inside stunts on the line to try and confuse the Patriots offensive line and allow pressure in the face of Brady. The New York Giants advanced to this year’s Super Bowl by defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. The Giants were in a dogfight the entire way against the 49ers who are one of the best coached and disciplined teams in the game. New York was able to avoid the big mistake, and take advantage of two key turnovers, one in overtime to prevail against the Niners 20-17. Eli Manning had a nice day against a relentless Niners pass rush as Manning threw for 316 yards and two scores against the San Francisco secondary. Look for the Giants to utilize a balanced attack offensively against the Patriots and rush just four against Brady trying to force pressure with their talented defensive line.
The total has gone over in seven of the last eight games for the Patriots, although New England is just 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against the Giants. The total has gone under in four of the last five games for the New York Giants, and the total has also gone under four of the last five times the Giants and Patriots have met.
With two elite quarterbacks battling it out it’s easy to get lost in the hype of the Manning/Brady match up. This game however should be decided up front in the trenches, and the Giants have a big advantage in that aspect. The Patriots had some trouble at times with the Ravens pass rush, and I expect the Giants to give the Pats trouble as well. Look for Brady to be under pressure the majority of the night, and while Brady and the Patriots will make some plays offensively I think the Patriots are just to one dimensional offensively. This should be a great one and will more than likely be decided in the fourth quarter, but I like the Giants to not only get the cover against the Pats, but defeat New England outright once again and take the Lombardi Trophy back to New York.
New York Giants +3.5 New England Patriots