Super Bowl XLVI is just a few days away and now it's time to start finalizing our predictions.
This year's Super Bowl could not have had a much better storyline—a rematch of Super Bowl XLII, when the New York Giants ended the New England Patriots' perfect, undefeated season with a stunning 17-14 victory.
This time around, the Patriots aren't undefeated and they're only the favorite to win by three points—unlike four years ago when they were favorite to win by 14.
Taking that into consideration, I do believe that the Super Bowl will be a close game. In fact, I believe whichever team scores last will ultimately take the Vince Lombardi Trophy home with them.
When these two teams met back in Week 9, it was a tight defensive battle in the first half with neither team scoring a single point, but in the second half both teams exploded for 20-plus points.
With just 1:36 left in the game, Tom Brady connected with Rob Gronkowski to give the Patriots a 20-17 lead; but they simply left too much time on the clock for Eli Manning and the Giants—much like Super Bowl XLII.
Manning marched his offense down the field and instead of kicking a game-tying field goal, New York went for the win as Manning found Jake Ballard for the game-winning touchdown strike.
With the last two matchups ending with some late-game heroics and always going New York's way—I do believe that this Super Bowl will go down to the wire, but it will fall in New England's favor.
I believe that Tom Brady and New England's offense is going to come out firing on all cylinders and New York's defense will have no answer.
It's going to ultimately come to Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning.
One hot topic that is continually brought up is New York's ability to put pressure on the quarterback and how their pass rush is so effective and dominant—but I don't think that's going to matter against Brady and the Patriots.
New England's offensive line is as good as it gets with left tackle Matt Light and offensive guards Logan Mankins and Brian Waters. I believe that they're more than equipped to physically handling the likes of Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck.
However, even if New England's offensive line struggles, their offense is extremely different from four years ago.
Back in 2007, Brady depended on hitting Randy Moss with the deep ball.
Now fast-forward four years, Moss is gone and New England is back to their "dinking and dunking" passes to Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch.
What Brady needs to do is simply step up into the pocket and find the open receiver—and there will be someone open as those four receivers are simply too talented to be covered all game long.
This came is going to come down to the wire as I believe it's going to be a shootout: Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning, with Tom "Terrific" and New England coming out on top with their fourth Super Bowl in the last 10 seasons.
Prediction: New England 31, New York 27
Be sure to check out Tony Santorsa's blog: PatriotsPlus