Super Bowl Predictions 2012: Patriots vs. Giants Will Be Shootout for the Ages

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to their AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

You can take your favorite adage, "Defense wins championships" and stick it up your BCS National Championship Game—the Super Bowl is going to be all about the offenses, baby!

The tendency when analyzing this game will be to do two things, I believe—focus too much on how these teams have played in the playoffs and focus too much on the their matchup in the regular season.

To focus too much on the playoffs is to focus too much on the defenses in this game. Both have played well in the playoffs, with the Giants giving up only 39 points in their three games and the Patriots allowing 30 points in their two games.

But let's not forget that each team was extremely vulnerable against the pass in the regular season—the Giants ranking 29th in that regard and the Patriots 31st.

With two elite passing offenses set to face off, will the pass defenses from the regular season show up once again?

I believe so.

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GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Now, I know what you're thinking—hey Rapp, when these teams met in Week 9, the game was a defensive struggle for the first three quarters. Until a 31-point outburst in the fourth quarter, the Giants led a 10-3 game.

Rematches generally don't mirror the original game, of course. In 2007, the Patriots beat the Giants 38-35 in Week 17 of the regular season. But the Super Bowl rematch that year was a far more defensive game, with the Giants famously winning 17-14.

With two weeks to analyze that first tape and also study each and every weakness of the opposite team, I firmly believe the units that will be most taken advantage of in the game will be each team's secondary and linebackers.

The Giants will struggle all day long to match up with New England's talented tight ends. The Patriots will likely play two safeties deep over the top and be susceptible against New York's tight ends and even their running game, lame as that has been for the Giants all year.

Yes, the Giants can rush the passer effectively. No, I don't think they'll be effective enough to slow Tom Brady or a Patriots offense with two weeks to prepare to counter the Giants four-man pressure and bump-and-run coverage.

On the other side of the football, Eli Manning has been the best player in the NFL playoffs and has electric playmakers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. And Joe Flacco went 22-of-36 for 306 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots defense, for heaven's sake.

So take the over set at 55.5 points if you're a betting man, get a prime seat at your Super Bowl party and don't turn away from the screen—you might miss the fireworks.

Hit me up on Twitter—that's where the magic happens.

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