Super Bowl 2012: 25 Last-Minute Predictions for Giants vs. Patriots

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIFebruary 4, 2012

Super Bowl 2012: 25 Last-Minute Predictions for Giants vs. Patriots

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    Ladies and gentlemen, the 2012 Super Bowl is a little over a day away. A rematch of one of the greatest Super Bowls in NFL history is less than 48 hours away.

    While we won't see David Tyree making any spectacular receptions on Sunday, this matchup between the New York Giants and New England Patriots is guaranteed to be quite the game.

    Here are 25 last-minute predictions for Giants vs. Patriots.

Peyton Manning Is Mentioned More Than Eli Manning

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    As much as I'm going to hate for this to happen, it's going to happen.

    With speculation swirling about Peyton Manning's future, the media is going to be unable to stay away from the topic.

    Be prepared to hear plenty more about Peyton than Eli Manning.

Tom Coughlin Won't Smile

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    This one is pretty easy to predict.

    The last time that Tom Coughlin smiled was when he married his wife, Judy.

    Even then, announcers at the wedding would only call it a smirk.

Bill Belichick Will Be Wearing a Hooded Sweatshirt

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    I don't care that the game is played indoors, Bill Belichick is wearing that old, raggedy sweatshirt during Super Bowl XLVI.

    I wouldn't be surprised if he has a scarf over his face too. The man has ice running through his veins; he's always got to be cold.

Over 650 Combined Passing Yards

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    The current record for most combined passing yards in a Super Bowl is 649 by the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

    Both New England and the New York Giants love moving the ball through the air, so this game is likely to end up as a passing fest.

    If you're looking for an exact number of yards, I'm predicting 683. Tom Brady will throw for 367 yards while Eli Manning will throw for 316 yards.

Tom Brady and Eli Manning Will Each Throw Two Interceptions

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    Even though these are two of the better quarterbacks in the league going up against two rather unimpressive secondaries, I still see numerous interceptions from both Eli Manning and Tom Brady.

    There will be plenty of pressure on both quarterbacks, and even though these secondaries aren't overly talented, there are still some playmakers back there for both teams.

    While Brady and Manning may throw for plenty of yards, they'll also throw a few interceptions.

One Interception Will Be Crucial

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    Since there will only be one crucial interception, I'm predicting that Tom Brady throws it.

    As much as I would like to believe that this is the most focused Brady has ever been, I just didn't see that against the Baltimore Ravens.

    Sure, they have the top defense in the league, but that is when the top quarterback in the league is supposed to play his best.

    It'll happen late in the fourth quarter with the New England Patriots barely holding onto a lead. The interception will give the New York Giants good field position and a game-winning score.

Victor Cruz Has Over 100 Receiving Yards

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    The NFL story of the year has been Victor Cruz showing up out of nowhere to completely dominate opposing secondaries.

    He's done it throughout the playoffs, and you can guarantee that he'll do it against the New England Patriots. It's not that Cruz is the fastest or most athletic receiver on the field that makes him so good.

    He's simply a smart player who knows exactly what to do to get separation and make a play on the ball. It's possible that Cruz will be the most enjoyable player to watch in the Super Bowl.

So Does Wes Welker

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    Not only will Victor Cruz surpass the 100-yard receiving mark, Wes Welker will do the same.

    With Rob Gronkowski maybe, possibly injured, Welker will need to have a big game for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots to succeed.

    He's proven to be able to do it before, and he'll do it again in this game. Look for Welker to lead all receivers in yards.

Rob Gronkowski Catches at Least One Touchdown

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    I don't care about his foot or what type of cleats he'll be wearing on Sunday, Rob Gronkowski is going to score a touchdown.

    The man is too big and too talented to not have some type of impact in this game. And he won't be used just as a decoy, either, as some others would have you believe.

    Gronkowski is going to have a quality game, capped off by a much-needed touchdown reception.

Three Different Receivers Catch Touchdowns for New York

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    When talking about receiving trios, there aren't many that stack up well to Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham of the New York Giants.

    These three are all extremely talented, and Eli Manning loves to get the ball to each of them. In the season's biggest game, Cruz, Nicks and Manningham will all record a touchdown.

    Which one will score the most important touchdown? I'll go with Cruz.

Chad Ochocinco Makes No Impact Whatsoever

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    This really shouldn't come as a surprise, as Chad Ochocinco has yet to record a reception in these NFL Playoffs.

    It rarely happened during the regular season.

    It won't happen during the Super Bowl.

Under 150 Combined Rushing Yards

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    Considering that both these teams love to throw the ball, there isn't likely to be much of a ground game for either team.

    In their conference championship games, the New England Patriots and New York Giants combined for 181 yards. It's highly unlikely that they'll gain that many yards on the ground, and let me tell you why.

    First, if you were paying attention to my last slide, I expect these teams to throw the ball early and often.

    We also can't forget about guys like Vince Wilfork, Jason Pierre-Paul and the other defensive studs on both teams. It's sometimes to overlook these underrated run defenses because of how potent the offense is.

    Ahmad Bradshaw will have the best game of the lot of running backs, but even he'll be kept under 75 rushing yards for the game.

Three Combined Rushing Touchdowns

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    BenJarvus Green-Ellis will have two and Brandon Jacobs will have the other one.

    While both the New England Patriots and New York Giants love passing the ball, when they get near the end zone, they both love to get physical.

    They have physical offensive lines that love to simply plow defenders out of the way. Look for half of the offensive touchdowns in this game to be gotten on the ground.

Ahmad Bradshaw Will Be the Leading Rusher

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    He may only gain between 50 and 60 yards, but they will be hard-fought yards for Ahmad Bradshaw.

    Considering I don't expect many yards to be gained on the ground, I would say that 50 to 60 yards would be quite the accomplishment for Bradshaw.

    Unfortunately, Bradshaw won't have any crucial big-gain runs like the did against the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers, but he'll somewhat effectively move the ball, which will allow the pass offense to really flourish for the New York Giants.

New England Records No Sacks

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    The New England Patriots aren't known for putting great amounts of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

    They finished in the middle of the pack during the regular season with 40 team sacks, but they really struggled to get pressure against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.

    Now, the New York Giants don't possess the best offensive line in the game, but they are good enough to give Eli Manning just the right amount of time to get a quick pass out.

    New England will struggle getting consistent pressure on the Giants all game long and will end up with a zero is the sacks column.

New York Giants Record 5+ Sacks

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    Few teams can get after a quarterback quite like the New York Giants can.

    The problem for opposing teams is that there are simply too many dominant pass rushers to slow down. Guys like Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul love getting pressure, and they're pretty darn good at it.

    It's going to be tough for the New England Patriots to slow them down. Ultimately, the pressure and the sacks that New York gets will decide the outcome of this game.

Vince Wilfork Will Record Three Tackles for Loss

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    Anyone who watched Vince Wilfork against the Baltimore Ravens saw just how dominant this man is.

    He was consistently in the Ravens' backfield, and was as disruptive as physically possible.

    He'll do the same exact thing for the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Look for Wilfork to get into the backfield and slow down Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs by recording numerous tackles for loss.

Prince Amukamara Plays Extremely Well

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    When Prince Amukamara landed in the lap of the New York Giants, it seemed like a dream come true for New York and their secondary.

    Unfortunately, Amukamara was injured before the season began and he wasn't able to make much of an impact when he returned in the regular season. However, he's played rather well for a rookie in the postseason.

    Look for him to continue to impress against the New England Patriots' pass-happy offense and have a big game for the Giants.

Julian Edelman Records an Interception

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    Julian Edelman may very well be the most unique player to take the field in the Super Bowl.

    He played quarterback in college, was drafted as a wide receiver and now plays in the secondary for the New England Patriots. While he is no Darrelle Revis, he has still got the ability to make plays in the secondary.

    He'll likely line up opposite Victor Cruz or Mario Manningham for most of the game, and watch for him to record an interception early in the game.

Five or More Total Turnovers

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    I've already predicted two interceptions for both quarterbacks, so that's four turnovers right there.

    Predicting one more turnover may not seem too bold, but I really wouldn't be surprised if there are six or seven turnovers in this game. This game has been incredibly hyped and when that happens, players tend to get a little nervous.

    With so many younger, key players on both sides of the ball for both teams, this could be one of the sloppier Super Bowls in recent memory.

There Will Be Two Missed Field Goals

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    Lawrence Tynes and Stephen Gostkowski each missed five field goals during the regular season.

    In the biggest game of the year, they'll each miss one more. Neither will be crucial or a possible game-winner (see Billy Cundiff), but each kicker will miss one field goal on Sunday.

Three Points Will Decide the Winner of the Game

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    Much like the 2008 version of this game, the 2012 version will be decided by three points.

    It won't be on a late touchdown pass this time, but rather a field goal as time expires will decide the winner for Super Bowl XLVI.

Eli Manning Wins Super Bowl MVP

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    Eli Manning will throw for over 300 yards with three touchdowns to take home the Super Bowl MVP Award.

    At times, our jaws will drop in amazement as we actually consider calling Manning the greatest quarterback in the NFL. However, he'll make some mistakes and remind us why we doubted him in the past.

    His second Super Bowl ring and MVP trophy will spark conversations of him being the best Manning quarterback, but it's a ridiculous notion. Eli is good; Peyton is better.

Jason Pierre-Paul Should Have Won Super Bowl MVP

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    As good of a game as Eli Manning will have, Jason Pierre-Paul will have a better game.

    Eli will win the award mostly because he plays a "sexier" position. However, the player for the New York Giants that will impact the game the most will be Pierre-Paul.

    He'll be disruptive, cause Tom Brady to make poor throws and record a few sacks to go along with numerous tackles for loss.

    Pierre-Paul will use this game to establish himself as the best pass rusher in the NFL heading into 2013.

The Giants Beat the Patriots...Again

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    I'm sorry, fans of the New England Patriots, but prepared for your hearts to be broken...again.

    It's going to be another extremely close and exciting game, with the New York Giants winning on a late scoring drive again. There won't be a David Tyree reception, but plenty of exhilarating plays with time winding down.

    The final score will be 31-28.