Saturday– It’s that time of year again when over half of the American population will focus some of their attention on one game, the Super Bowl. This year’s match-up showcases a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl when the New York Giants stunned the undeafted New England Patriots. The Patriots entered Super Bowl XLII with an 18-0 record looking to be the first team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins to have a perfect season and the first team in history to go 19-0. However, the Giants had different plans. Thanks to an incredible play by Eli Manning and catch by David Tyree, the Giants pulled off the upset.
This year’s rematch promises to be just as exciting. Both teams enter the game riding momentum. However, the Giants had a much tougher road to the big game. After knocking off the Atlanta Falcons in the first round, New York had to travel to Green Bay to face the 15-1 Packers. Knowing they had to skill to beat the Packers, the Giants entered the game with a high level of confidence. Led by an explosive passing attack and a stellar defensive performance, they knocked off the top-seeded Packers. Then the resilient Giants team had to travel to San Francisco to face the number two seeded 49ers. With both teams having great defenses, the game was guaranteed to be tight. After trading possessions in overtime, the Giants caught a huge brake when San Francisco punt return man, Kyle Williams muffed his second punt of the game. The ball was recovered by the Giants and that capped the game. New York’s running back, Ahmad Bradshaw set up the Giants for a game winning field goal and a trip to the Super Bowl.
The Patriots road to the big game was a little bit easier. After receiving a bye in the first round, the Patriots faced the Denver Broncos in the second round. Tim Tebow was not able to pull off another miracle in this one and the Patriots demolished the Broncos, 45-10. Then New England had a much tougher task against the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots received a few breaks in this one to clinch their spot in the Super Bowl. In their final drive, the Ravens dropped a potential game winning touchdown pass and a game tying field goal.
And this is were we stand now. Despite the Patriots being favored, the game is pretty much a toss up. The most recent poll on ESPN.com shows that the nation is perfectly divided on who will win the game. So far, 624,461 votes have been registered and the tallies count up to a 50-50 tie.
The only judgement there is of this match up is the game played between the two teams this past November in New England. And perhaps this game could reveal a lot. Eli Manning led a fourth quarter comeback to knock of the Patriots 24-20. The score shows that the two match up closely but there is more to the story than the close score. In that game, the Giants were without two key pieces to their offense, star wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Because of Bradshaw’s absence, the Patriots were able to drop an extra guy into pass protection. Even without Nicks, the Giants still threw for 250 yards and two touchdowns. With both Bradshaw and Nicks healthy for the Super Bowl, New England will certainly have their hands full.
Another key to the game will be in the trenches. In their first match up this season, the Giants had two sacks while the patriots had none. Also, the Giants still rushed for 111 yards without Bradshaw.
Injury Report: The Giants are a lot more healthy entering the game than the Patriots. They have six guys listed as probable, none expected to be slowed down due to the injury. However, the Patriots have a more serious injury problem. They have 10 guys listed as questionable including star tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Prediction: Giants-31 Patriots-20
Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 P.M CST on NBC.