February 01, 2008

In case you didn't know, the Super Bowl is a pretty big deal. Halftime shows, pregame shows, and pregame shows for the pregame shows are all part of the hoopla. (Also, let's not forget heavy wagering on the opening coin toss.) The game has more unnecessary hype than the iPhone ... owned by Paris Hilton. Well, I'm not buying into any of it. As usual, the only thing you'll find in this column is straightforward analysis of the two teams on the field. Let's get right to it.

Patriots: Statistically, the Patriots are the greatest offense of all time, but "statistics" don't tell the whole story. For example, did you know Wes Welker can't even run the 40 yard dash in 4.5 seconds? That could spell trouble. Meanwhile, Tom Brady's ankle will be 100 percent, but there's still no word on the emotional trauma he's suffered from the entire country finding out his girlfriend has him completely whipped. Traveling to New York with a bad ankle the week before the Super Bowl just so you can bring her flowers and say "hi"? Come on. Be a man. If Brady's life were a Milwaukee's Best commercial he would be getting crushed by a beer can as the "Men should act like men" slogan flashed on the screen.

Giants: The Giants offense is firing on all cylinders, averaging more than 28 points per game since late December. On the ground, Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw lead a ferocious attack that continues to tarnish Tiki Barber's legacy. In the air, Plaxico Burress is playing so well on an injured ankle he's making Grant Hill look like a big sissy. The Giants also have history on their side. A Manning has never lost a Super Bowl (except Danieal Manning last year and Ricky Manning Jr. in 2003, but they don't really count.)

Advantage: Patriots

Patriots: Although the Patriots defense is clearly the team's Achilles' heel, the unit has succeeded using the mantra of "give up fewer points than we score." That could be a challenge on Sunday. Richard Seymour spent the week denying he's a dirty a player while Rodney Harrison spent the week feeling slighted that his dirty play is going unnoticed. That emotional roller coaster could have a detrimental affect on their play.

Giants: You know that scene in Pulp Fiction where Jules is espousing the virtues of a Big Kahuna burger and a guy bursts out of the bathroom, fires a full round of bullets, and misses Jules with every shot? That's the kind of luck the Giants defense is going to need. On the other hand, they did shut down the Patriots for two and half quarters in week 17 and there's still the possibility of Murphy's Law smiting down the Patriots before the season ends.

Advantage: Giants

Patriots: The Patriots generally have excellent special teams, but their kickoff coverage unit must be extremely worn down. They've been through more 70-yard sprints than the EPO in Marion Jones' urine.

Giants: Few kickers can prepare for the pressure of a Super Bowl, but considering that two weeks ago Lawrence Tynes took the break between regulation and overtime to fill out forms to legally change his name, he should be able to handle it. If he can't, Jeff Feagles will lighten the mood by regaling him with tales about playing in the NFL in the 1960's. Advantage: Giants

Patriots: The prospect of adding another "Super Bowl Champion" hoodie to his wardrobe will ensure that Bill Belichick is at the top of his game. And although offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is rumored to be a candidate for the Redskins job, Belichick keeps McDaniels focused on the task at hand by sending him to his room without dinner anytime he lets his mind wander.

Giants: After the NFC Championship game Tom Coughlin was diagnosed with a level seven brainfreeze (the equivalent to drinking seven Slurpees in 10 minutes.) Will he show any lingering effects? Unfortunately there's a limit to what modern science can tell us.

Advantage: Patriots The Official Prediction


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