Super Bowl Predictions 2012: Why Epic Rematch Will Be Better This Time Around
The New England Patriots and New York Giants engaged in one of the greatest and unbelievable Super Bowls in recent memory.
New England was destined for history—finishing a season 19-0.
However, these two teams are vastly different from the teams of the 2007-2008 season and this Super Bowl is stacking up to be even better then Super Bowl XLII.
With less then a week to go until the big game in Indianapolis, here are some reasons why this Super Bowl will trump that of the previous Super matchup between the Patriots and Giants.
Eli Manning has become an elite quarterback in the NFL this season, something he was not when the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Manning threw for 4,933 yards during the regular season, including 29 touchdowns and a 92.9 passer rating.
Meanwhile, during the 2007 regular season, Manning only threw for 3,336 yards with 23 touchdowns and passer rating of 73.9.
Eli's emergence into an elite quarterback is key for the Giants because of the Hall of Fame quarterback on the other sideline.
Manning has the capability now to match Tom Brady play for play, something he couldn't have said in 2007, yet he was able to prevail in that game.
The battle between an elite Brady and a now elite Manning, will make for a classic duel in Super Bowl XLVI.
Rob Gronkowski stands alone when it comes to tight ends in NFL history.
Gronkowski set the single-season touchdown record for a tight end with 17 during the regular season. This may, in part be attributed to Tom Brady, but the power, skill and energy that he brings to the football field can seldom be matched by the opponent.
Despite potentially being hobbled by a high-ankle sprain, Gronkowski will still be a nightmare matchup for the Giants defense.
Even if Gronkowski is limited in the passing game, he can be very effective in neutralizing the vaunted Giants pass rush. His ability to block was showcased in his pancake block of All-Pro linebacker Terrell Suggs in the AFC Championship Game.
His ability to jump over, run through and fly by defenders will make this Super Bowl one worth watching.
Giants Pass Rush vs. Tom Brady
If anything was apparent in Super Bowl XLII, it was that Tom Brady wasn't comfortable in the pocket.
The Giants' pass rush completely dominated the offensive line of New England en route to five total sacks and a forced fumble of Brady.
Perhaps, what's more frightening to Patriots fan then the Giants' defensive line in 2007, is the defensive line of the G-Men this season.
Without a breakout performance by Jason Pierre-Paul as well as major contributions from Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, the Giants offer a pass rush that rivals some of the best ever.
It's hard to believe that Tom Brady fears any defense, but it seems as though the Giants might have his number with back-to-back dominating performances against Brady. (The Giants defeated New England in Week 9 of this season in addition to Super Bowl XLII)
Brady will need to remain upright for this Super Bowl, or the Patriots could suffer the same fate as four seasons ago.
The Late Myra Kraft
Bob Kraft was one of the biggest reasons football was played on time this season in the NFL. He's one of the most powerful and influential owners in all of sports, but behind every great man, there's a strong woman.
For Bob Kraft, that woman was his wife, Myra.
During one of the toughest times for the NFL, Bob Kraft was enduring perhaps the toughest test of his life—the passing of his wife.
Ever since the emotional exchange between Kraft and Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts after the lockout was lifted, Myra has been the center of the Patriots season.
With the letters "MHK" stitched on their jerseys, the team played in honor of the loving wife and philanthropist. And with a victory in the AFC Championship Game, everything came full circle as Bob Kraft was presented with the Championship trophy, culminating in Kraft kissing the "MHK" on his jacket and pointing to the sky in honor of his late wife.
There's little doubt that "MHK" will live on in Indianapolis, with the Patriots wanting to win one more championship for Myra.
It's the least they can do for a woman who gave her life to serving the community and being a model human being.
With three Super Bowl titles and two Super Bowl MVP's, Tom Brady has already sealed his legacy as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. However with a victory on Sunday, Brady could separate himself from the rest of the pack.
By just getting to the Super Bowl, Brady tied John Elway as the only quarterback to start five Super Bowl games. And by winning in Indianapolis, Brady would only be the third quarterback to win four Super Bowl titles.
Meanwhile, if Brady loses to the Giants once again, his legacy will be one of what could have been. It would be the second title that the Giants stole from Brady and be one team that proved they could make Brady just an average quarterback.
In contrast to Brady, Eli Manning's legacy is far from cemented. But by winning another Super Bowl title over Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, Manning would guarantee himself a spot as one of the premier postseason performers the NFL has ever seen.
Many questioned Manning's status among NFL quarterbacks before this season began and throughout his career. But Manning silenced his critics this season by putting up his best season as a pro and possibly ending it with a second Super Bowl title and MVP.
Bill Belichick's legacy almost goes hand-in-hand with Tom Brady.
The pair of Hall of Famers have had all of their success with each other since the 2001 season, although Belichick first made his name as a defensive coordinator under Bill Parcells in New York.
By winning his fourth Super Bowl title as a head coach, Belichick would join only Chuck Knoll as the only coaches to win four Super Bowls in NFL history.
Although the "Hoodie" mostly keeps to himself, it's almost assured that Belichick would relish the opportunity to be considered the greatest coach of all time.
Tom Coughlin was in jeopardy of losing his job this season.
Now? Now, Coughlin has led his Giants to their second Super Bowl appearance under his direction and could seal his fate as a Hall of Fame coach with a victory.
After a rocky middle part of the season, it appeared as though Coughlin would not last the long offseason as head coach of the team. However, Coughlin was able to rally the troops and now has them playing their best football season at exactly the right time.
With a victory on Sunday, Coughlin would be able to remain the coach of the Giants as long he so pleased.
A far cry from where Coughlin was just a couple of months ago.