Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Why I’m picking the Giants

Posted by mizzou1028 on January 31, 2008

It would be really easy to look at this Super Bowl and say “Why are they even bothering to play the game?  This is a mismatch.”  Indeed, the Patriots have to be acknowledged as heavy favorites.  The fact alone that they’re 18-0 is certainly an accomplishment.  New England’s offense hit the 30 point mark a whopping 12 times in the regular season.  They set league records for points scored in a season as well as point differential.  What perhaps is most impressive about them is how they finish games.  The poise they show in high pressure situations is that of a champion, and they have the type of swagger that we’ve seen from dominant teams in the past.  Not to mention many of the key components are still there from the three previous Super Bowl winners of this decade.  The Patriots certainly deserve their due for putting together an undefeated regular season and handling the pressure that goes with it.  They feature the league MVP in Tom Brady and arguably the game’s most effective wideout combo in Randy Moss and Wes Welker.  On top of that, they’re playing a team in the Giants that they’ve already defeated once this season, on the road no less.  To hear most of the media talk about this matchup, we should not bother to play the game Sunday and should just hand the Patriots the trophy.  Well, I believe that not only will the game be very competitive, and certainly not over by halftime, but I believe the Giants will win the game.  That’s right, I’m picking the Giants to upset the Patriots on Sunday.

Let’s not forget that we’ve seen this type of thing numerous times in the Super Bowl.  A heavy favorite is expected to come in and thoroughly dominate the action, and finds itself on the wrong side of the scoreboard at the end of the game.  Anyone remember Super Bowl 36?  If you’re a Patriots fan you’d better remember that one.  The Patriots were huge underdogs following an 11-5 regular season, and a divisional playoff win over the Raiders they were lucky to get becuase of the obscure tuck rule.  The St. Louis Rams were a machine, coming off a 14-2 regular season, and they featured league MVP Kurt Warner and offensive player of the year Marshall Faulk.  The only question going in was how much the Rams would win by.  The final? Patriots 20-17 thanks to a last second Adam Vinatieri field goal and an outstanding defensive effort shutting down the league’s top offense.  Anyone else see a sense of irony between this Sunday’s game, and that matchup from the 2001 season? 

How about Super Bowl 32? The Broncos were 12 point underdogs to the Packers, and at the time the NFC had won 13 straight Super Bowls.  The Broncos, who had qualified as a wild card, won 31-24 thanks to an outstanding rushing effort from Terrell Davis.  Let’s also not forget Super Bowl 25, when the Giants beat the high powered Bills 20-19.  That game in particular has a lot of similarities to this year’s matchup.  The Bills won the AFC title game that year 51-3 over the Raiders, while the Giants had a rougher road through the NFC bracket to get to the Super Bowl.  The Bills were heavy favorites, and had an ability to score at will that year, much like the Patriots this year.  The Bills had defeated the Giants during the December of that regular season 17-13 at Giants Stadium.  This year’s Patriots also defeated their future Super Bowl opponent the Giants at Giants Stadium in December, 38-35.  The Giants’ Super Bowl win over the Bills is mostly remembered for Scott Norwood’s missed field goal at the end of the game, but make no mistake about it, the Giants’ defense and running game are the reasons they won that game against the heavily favored Bills.  The Giants controlled the clock so much that the Bills offense seemed like it was pressured to score quickly when it did have the ball, causing them to make mistakes they wouldn’t normally make.  This year’s Giants have a similar ability to control things with their running game, which they did against both the Cowboys and the Packers in the playoffs, and they have a defensive front four that can put pressure on Tom Brady, particularly defensive ends Osi Umineyora and Michael Strahan. 

The thing with the Super Bowl that makes it different than picking a regular game is that what happened prior to this point is irrelevant.  All that matters what happens once the game is kicked off on Sunday.  In the cases described above, the underdog team went into the game with nothing to lose, and those games did not go how most people expected them to.  The fact is, a team has to be pretty darn good to reach the Super Bowl, period.  The Giants this season have won 10 straight road games, including playoffs, an NFL record.  Think about that for a minute.  As much of advantage as it is for most teams to play at home, the Giants have found a way to win 10 straight games on the road, including playoff wins at Texas Stadium and Lambeau Field, two places where it is extremely difficult for a visiting team to win at any time, let alone in the playoffs.  The Giants during the regular season only lost to New England by three points, despite the fact that Brady threw for 356 yards and two scores, and did not throw a pick.  The Giants defense only sacked Brady once in the game, and yet still were within striking distance.  The Patriots only won by three despite the fact they had a 13 minute edge in time of possession, and in fact forced the only turnover of the game.  Most media pundits point to these examples from the first game as evidence the Patriots will roll.  I argue that the Patriots struggled to win a game in which they scored 38 points, were only sacked once, didn’t turn the ball over, and dominated time of possession.  Many experts claim the Giants will not be able to get that close again.  I argue that if the Giants can be that close in those circumstances, while gaining only 79 yards on the ground, imagine if they can get to Brady a little bit more.  What if they can do what the Chargers did the AFC title game, and intercept Brady three times?  These circumstances are eeirly similar not only to the aformentioned Giants-Bills rematch in 1990, but also the 2001 Patriots-Rams matchup.  See, the Rams beat New England in the regular season that year 24-17 in Foxboro, and the Rams statistically dominated that game, outgaining the Patriots 482-230 and forcing three New England turnovers.  The Patriots of course were able to win the rematch with a little tweaking in the game plan.  I believe the Giants will win this rematch, partially because they’ve already proved they can hang with the Patriots, partially because they’ve proven they can win away from Giants Stadium, partially because I beleive they will be able to pressure Brady where other teams haven’t been able to consistently, and partially based on a gut feeling.  Let’s also not forget, the Giants will have back center Shaun O’Hara, who played great in the first meeting until leaving due to injury in the third quarter, and linebacker Kawika Mitchell, who did not play in the first meeting due to injury.   

The Pick: Giants 34-31 

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2 Responses to “Why I’m picking the Giants”

  1. Janna said

    Hope you’re right! You’ve been successful picking the underdog before, after all.

  2. […] picking the Super Bowl is not the same as picking a regular game.  As I pointed out last year in my correct prediction of the Giants’ upset of New England, once the game kicks off, everything that happened during the season prior to that point is […]

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