Super Bowl 2012: Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning Should Be an Offensive Shootout

Kevin JoyceContributor IJanuary 27, 2012

Aaron Hernandez could be primed to torch a vulnerable Giants' secondary
Aaron Hernandez could be primed to torch a vulnerable Giants' secondaryJim Rogash/Getty Images

The Patriots, despite what the oddsmakers in Vegas might have you believe, are coming into this 46th Super Bowl as the underdogs to the 12-7 New York Giants. All five of the CBS "experts" have picked the Giants. The majority of the ESPN analysts have stated they believe the Giants will win. People on NFL Network will even have you believe that New York's offense has an "advantage" over the New England offense.

It almost seems like a reversal of the scenario of four years ago. All the attention is on Eli Manning's hot hand and how the Giants' defensive front four will be able to rattle Tom Brady.

And there's good reason for that. The Giants have reeled off five straight wins, and their defense is playing spectacular lately. Of course, the Patriots have won 10 straight, but who's counting, right?

The Giants did come into Foxboro in Week 9 and pull out a last-second victory, 24-20. Here's a little-known fact, however:

The Patriots, under Bill Belichick and Brady, have never been swept in a season. Ever. Beating the Patriots twice under the guidance of the two future Hall-of-Famers has been impossible since they took the league by storm over 10 years ago.

Both teams, while playing lights-out defensively, have not seen this upcoming combination of firepower and perfect playing conditions—Lucas Oil Stadium provides an ideal location for these explosive offenses to unleash.

Brady will come back with a vengeance, finding that rare opportunity to live another week in the NFL playoffs after a poor performance, and to use those mistakes to fuel the "best performance of [his] life," as he put it.

Very rarely has Brady strung two sub-par games together. And never have Brady and Belichick lost to a team twice in a season.

Don't expect the Super Bowl to buck that pattern. The Patriots win in a thriller, 31-27.