The atmosphere in Indianapolis, Indiana is tremendous. Surprisingly, the weather has been very cooperative as the city hosts its first Super Bowl.
The city is certainly abuzz as the New England Patriots try and capture their fourth Super Bowl title in 11 years. The New York Giants are vying to halt the Patriots quest in being one of the greatest football dynasties in NFL history as they try to win their second Lombardi Trophy in five years.
While the Patriots have one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history in Tom Brady, I believe Eli Manning will outplay Tom Brady and win his second Super Bowl on his big brother Peyton Manning’s home turf.
Even though the Giants ended the regular season at 9-7, they peaked at the right moment. Sitting at 7-7, the Giants won their last two games and entered the playoffs full of confidence. Head coach Tom Coughlin has his team running the ball effectively, and the defense, particularly the front four, playing their best football.
In my opinion, the Giants have a better team top to bottom. The only possible advantage the Patriots have is at quarterback. No one can logically deny Brady’s greatness. He has done more with less throughout his storied career than any quarterback in NFL history, but the Giants seem to have his number.
The Patriots ended the 2007 regular season undefeated. The Giants played the Patriots down to the wire in the last game of the season. Even though the Giants came up short, they managed, and they gained the much-needed confidence necessary to make a deep run into the playoffs. Ultimately, the Giants beat the Patriots in the game that matters most, thus halting their quest for perfection.
This year, the Giants find themselves being compared to the team that won it all four seasons ago. In my opinion, this year's team is not as good as the 2007 squad, but Manning is a better quarterback now. The Giants' running attack four years ago was great behind Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. This year, the team is led by Bradshaw and a mediocre Jacobs. Despite the lackluster running attack, they will run it well enough to beat the Patriots.
The Giants' front four will pressure Brady with a vengeance. Jason-Pierre Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora will consistently make Brady uncomfortable in the pocket and force him to scramble. Scrambling is obviously not his strong suit.
The Patriots running game primarily consists of Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis. While Green-Ellis hasn’t fumbled in four years, he won’t be enough to give Brady-led offense the balance necessary to keep the Giants defense on its heels.
The Giants have a better running game and defense. The latter is two critical elements teams need to win Super Bowls. I suspect the Giants will win the turnover battle as well as a result of the defensive pressure they will put on Brady.
I believe Brady will not be able to fully rely on tight end Rob Gronkowski. We all know he’s been sporting a high ankle sprain that he’s not been able to practice on. Gronkowski emerged towards the middle of the season as being Brady’s go-to guy. If he's able to play, I don’t see him being very productive.
In my opinion, the Patriots have a chance at winning only if Tom Brady can throw them to a Super Bowl with his right arm. But history has shown teams who cannot at least poise a potential threat of running the ball typically don’t win Super Bowls.
Will Eli Manning win his second Super Bowl in Peyton's house?
Bottom line: The Giants have a better team. They have a greater balance in running the football with Bradshaw and throwing with Manning than Brady has with his offense.
Even though I think the game will be a high-scoring affair, I think the Giants defense will make enough stops to bumble Brady. That’s why I believe Manning will win his second Super Bowl in the house that his brother Peyton built.
I predict the score to be 31-27 in favor of the Giants.
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