Patriots-Giants. Giants-Patriots. To the majority of the readers of this blog, this is a big football game.
Let’s get it out in the open – we all know what happened in Super Bowl XLII. To Giants fans it was the greatest thing that ever happened. To Patriots fans, Eli Manning choked by throwing the ball directly to Asante Samuel, who choked even more than Eli did and dropped the ball despite it hitting both of his hands. Tom Brady then went down the field an won his fourth super bowl, only to have it taken away from him by a Eli Manning Hail Mary and a ball caught on top of David Tyree’s head. The rest is history.
Believe it or not, New England has gotten over that loss. It was not an Aaron Boone moment, simply because the Red Sox needed to win in ’03 and that loss was devastating for that reason. There was a 85 year drought crushed with that play. The loss to the Giants was coming off of a 3 year drought, when we’d won 3 championships immediately prior. It’s amazing how much easier that makes swallowing a loss.
But you better believe Tom Brady remembers.
So how will this week’s game shake out? The Patriots are favored by 9, why I’m not sure. Actually that’s not true – it’s because they are the Patriots. Regardless, the Patriots enter this game with the worst pass defense in the league, and have lost 3 defensive backs in the last week. Eli Manning, meanwhile, is having the best season of his career thus far. We saw last week that interrupting Tom Brady in the pocket and keeping him off the field is the recipe for beating the Patriots – the exact blueprint that the Giants introduced to the world in 2008. With the Giants pass rush being their specialty, it certainly seems as thought he Giants are poised for an “upset.” I put upset in quotations only because both teams are 5-2.
That said, Tom Brady is better than Eli Manning and Bill Belichick is better than Tom Coughlin. The Giants simply can’t match up with some of the Patriots’ offensive personnel. The game is in Foxboro. And you know the Patriots are playing with a chip on their shoulder coming off of a loss last week.
Phew. So how is this game going to shake out?
This game could go many different directions – the only outcome I’ve ruled out is the Giants blowing the Pats out. I generally think that the Giants will be able to pass all over the Patriots, which will effectively keep the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands. Also, when Brady is in the game I do think the Giants will be able to disrupt him pretty effectively in the pocket. That said, he’s Mister Brady and he’ll get his scores. I expect Eli to make an untimely turnover or two, which will ultimately lead to a Patriots victory. I’ll be conservative on this one and go with a 24-17 Patriots victory.
What’s your prediction?