Super Bowl Predictions 2012: Statistical Predictions for Every Unit
Today's Super Bowl will be one of the more exciting matchups of the season. The game features two top-notch quarterbacks, explosive offensive weapons and intriguing defensive matchups. Storylines like Eli Manning versus Tom Brady only make up part of the intrigue.
I expect to see a lot of offensive production in today's game. Both quarterbacks should top the 300-yard passing mark, and bring plenty of explosive plays. Also, don't be surprised if we see a running back top 110 yards rushing.
While there will be a lot of offense in the Super Bowl, we will also see some good defense. The New York Giants' defensive line figures to pin their ears back and generate a lot of pressure.
New England Patriots Offense
Yardage: 305 passing yards
By quarterback: Tom Brady, 305 yards
By receiver: Rob Gronkowski, five catches for 61 yards; Wes Welker, seven catches for 78 yards; Aaron Hernandez, six catches for 76 yards; Chad Ochocinco, one catch for 10 yards; Deion Branch, five catches for 47 yards; Danny Woodhead, three catches for 20 yards; Bengarvis Green-Ellis, one catch for five yards; Kevin Faulk, one catch for eight yards
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots' offense averages 317 passing yards per game. Brady does a great job spreading the ball around to all his offensive weapons. However, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez make up a bulk of the targets. These two are complemented by the underneath and over-the-middle routes ran by Wes Welker.
The New York Giants are going to have a tough time matching up with New England's offensive weapons. They don't have a top-level cover man capable of sticking with Welker, Hernandez and Gronkowski. Even if the Giants are able to generate pressure on Brady, he's still going to make plays.
Yardage: 130 rushing yards
By running back: Bengarvis Green-Ellis, 105 yards; Danny Woodhead, five yards; Aaron Hernandez, 20 yards
The New England Patriots need to establish a consistent running attack it in order to win the Super Bowl. Their ability to run the football will go a long way in stopping the New York Giants' ferocious pass rush. If the Patriots are unable to keep the Giants' pass rushers honest they will have a tough time protecting the edge.
New England's ground attack is very underrated, as backs like BenJarvis Green-Ellis are more than capable of topping the 100-yard mark. His no-nonsense down-the-hill running style helps move the chains in keep the ground game viable. I expect the Patriots to feature Green Ellis early and often.
New York Giants Offense
Yardage: 315 passing yards
By quarterback: Eli Manning, 315 yards
By receiver: Victor Cruz, seven catches for 103 yards; Mario Manningham, two catches for 25 yards; Hakeem Nicks, six catches for 82 yards; Jake Ballard, four catches for 52 yards; Ahmad Bradshaw, three catches for 16 yards; DJ Ware, two catches for 22 yards; Henry Hynoski, three catches for 15 yards.
Eli Manning and the New York Giants' passing offense averages just under 300 yards per game. Manning has several explosive pass-catching options including Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. He's even been able to get excellent production out of tight end Jake Ballard.
The New England Patriots' secondary ranks as one of the worst units in the entire NFL. This group allows 293 passing yards per contest. Eli Manning possesses the skills and weapons needed to pick up some tidy yardage through the air. With Tom Brady as the opposing starting quarterback, Manning will need to put up some big numbers.
Yardage: 103 rushing yards
By running back: Ahmad Bradshaw, 63 yards; Brandon Jacobs, 40 yards
New York's rushing attack started to find more consistency late in the season. The two-headed attack of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs offers a good contrast in running styles. Bradshaw is the feature back, but Tom Coughlin typically rides the hot hand.
Expect to see the running game heavily featured early, but by the end of the game we will see many more passing attempts.
New England Patriots Defense
Yardage Allowed: 418 total yards allowed; 103 yards on the ground and 315 through the air
Stats: Vince Wilfork, four tackles and two tackles for loss; Jerod Mayo, six tackles and one tackle for loss; Rob Ninkovich, four tackles and one sack; Mark Anderson, two tackles and one sack
As a whole, the New England Patriots defense has shown some improvement these past several weeks. However, the fact remains that this defense has more than a few holes. The New York Giants offense has more than enough weapons to compile a massive amount of yardage.
One positive for this unit is the fact that they do a good job stopping the run. Last week they held Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice to just 67 rushing yards. Expect to see yet another dominating performance by the massive Vince Wilfork.
The real problems is going to come when they're asked to stop the pass. Their struggles start up front with their inability to generate a consistent pass rush. Mark Anderson and Rob Ninkovich are the team's top threats and they really don't strike much fear into the opposing offense. This inconsistent pass rush forces the secondary to cover for longer periods of time, something they are not capable of doing.
New York Giants Defense
Yardage Allowed: 435 total yards allowed; 130 on the ground and 305 through the air
Stats: Antrel Rolle, 10 tackles and one pass breakup; Osi Umenyiora, two tackles and one sack; Justin Tuck, three tackles and zero sacks; Jason Pierre-Paul, five tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble
The New York Giants defense is going to have their hands full trying to shut down this explosive New England Patriots offense. They need to find a way to match up against top playmakers like Wes Welker, Arun Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Finding the right game plan will be key in their ability to slow down this offensive attack.
Outside of the game plan, the New York Giants pass rush could be the single most important aspect of this game. All quarterbacks and even Tom Brady struggle to consistently make plays when faced with pressure. Offensive success is about timing and consistency, which is interrupted up by a pass rush.
The New York Giants will to be too preoccupied with trying to generate pressure, which will open things for the running game. I expect to see BenJarvis Green-Ellis top the 100-yard rushing mark and be a major factor in this game.