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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Superbowl XLVI: Part I

Or, in which Frank and Eric debate the relative merits of teams they don't really care about but which the whole nation will watch.

Look, we all love the game. We want to see who will be the champion of the NFL. We just wish it wasn't the Pats and the Giants. It's not that they aren't great franchises from great cities. It's that they were just here. Both of them. There isn't much of a compelling point here unless you are really excited for a rematch. Or if you really enjoy the "which Manning is better" debate.

No one wanted this Superbowl outside of New York and New England. We saw this already. Merely four years ago in Superbowl XLII, a little known wide receiver named David Tyree made a catch that has immortalized him in football lore. It looked like this:

And guess what sports fans? The Giants are going to leave Indy with yet another Lombardi Trophy.

To take nothing away from Tyree, the catch was outstanding and one in a million and was the signature play in a very exciting game. Most of the country just doesn't want to see it again. Think about it. Another franchise from either Boston or New York gets yet another championship? The media gets to talk even more about the merits of northeast teams? We have returned to the status quo. There's no upstart team like the Saints. No storied franchise returning to power like the Niners or Steelers. No team struggling for so long finally making it like the Colts or Eagles. No, it's the Giants, who won four years ago, and the Pats, who won three times in the last 11 years.

And yes, I said it before, the New York Giants are going to leave Indy happy. Why is that, you may be asking? It's fairly simple. It's a matter of defense. The Giants have the fortune of being both searing hot and healthy at the most important part of the season. Umenyiora, Tuck, and the gang are playing out of their minds. After struggling for most of the regular season, the unit is healthy. In three playoff games, they've allowed an average of 13 points. Yes, one of those games was against the 49ers, but the others were against the Packers and Falcons, two very formidable opponents. The Pats, by comparison, eked out a win against the Ravens after stomping the fighting Tebows. It's just not the same level of competition.

It only follows that if the Giants can stop the Pack, they should very well be able to stop the Pats. Also, they've got a pretty good offense too.

The Giants finished the year 9-7. They were without Ahmad Bradshaw for four games, and they went 1-3. So, with Bradshaw, they were 8-4..... if one takes the time to do the math. I think they win at least 2 of those games with Bradshaw in the lineup, thus making them a much stronger team than paper may show. I think the same can be said of their defensive averages. Bradshaw takes so much pressure off of Eli and the Giants receiving corps. He gives them the option to grind the ball and creates a balanced offense that maybe only the Saints can match. Because of the split carries and Eli's dominant performances, his numbers aren't flashy, but, he gives defenses a reason to pause, and makes that passing attack SUPER EFFECTIVE. I fully believe he will be the difference in this game.

...And that's because the Patriots, and the AFC's worst passing defense have to contend and pay a lot of attention to Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. They combined in the regular season for 158 catches and 2728 yards. During the po35 season, Cruz made Carlos Rogers look silly, and Nicks has only caught 18 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns.... in three games. And guess what, Nicks didn't even play in the first meeting between the two teams, and Cruz still had 6 catches for 91 yards.

I guess I should mention Eli Manning. He's pretty good too. He had the fourth most passing yards during the regular season, and has been utterly fantastic in the playoffs. It's hard to quantify what Eli really does because he's a bit inaccurate and hasn't thrown for as many touchdowns as Brady or Rodgers. But he leads his team, keeps his head under pressure, extends plays, and is just money on third down.

Have I made my point? I think so. And in case you missed it before, the Giants won their previous meeting in New England on November 6th. A game in which both Nicks and Bradshaw were missing. And they won it, 24-20, with their defense.

And really, how could a team that was able to beat the Niners not win the Superbowl?

Finally, some nuggets:

Madonnas Superbowl Song Leaked!

And your song of the week from "They Might Be Giants"

They Might Be Giants - Istanbul (Not Constantinople) from They Might Be Giants on Vimeo.

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