Here we go again, this is billed as the rematch of SB XLII when the 18-0 Patriots heavy favorites over the NY Giants were upset by the Giants 17-14 as the Giants defense and a couple of fluke plays spoiled the Pats undefeated season.
Most are billing this as the revenge match but there are only a handful of players left from that game.Â The Pats are favored but all the money seems to be going on the Giants. Over the years I remember Bill Parcells always saying DEFENSE wins Championship’s and the Giants have a much better defense than the Patriots. The Patriots ranked 31 out of 32 teams in overall defense with yards allowd. To me the secondary for the Pats is their weakest link. This team has a hard time playing against the pass and with their bend but don’t break mentality will that be enough? This is the Pats part of the team that really scares me. The defenders need to play the ball and turn to find it and not commit any stupid pass interference penalties. Pass interference penalties killed them in week nine when they lost to the Giants 24-20.
The Giants have weapons that didn’t play in week nine and their front four defensive line is one of the best this year. They really know how to attack the quarterback. The Pats offensive line will have to protect Brady much better than they did earlier this year when they allowed two sacks by the Giants and it seemed they rattled Brady early. Most teams know if you can get to Brady early and often that will throw him off his game.
The Giants will play with Hakeem Hicks who sat out week nine with an injury and Ahmad Bradshaw hopes to play as well but he has a foot injury. The wide receivers of the Giants scare me and the Pats really need to tighten things up in the secondary.
What I do like about the Pats defense is they finished ranked 15th in the league in points allowed and the Giants finished 25th. Giants may have had a tougher schedule and they are on a roll but don’t forget so are the Pats. Pats have won 10 straight and defeated (albeit luckily) the number 3 defensive team in the league in the Baltimore Ravens.
The Pats will be playing with a banged up Rob Gronkowski who had a high ankle sprain against the Ravens and was in a boot most of the last two weeks. He seems better but having to go up against 300 lb lineman and trying to block these guys and try and run for 60 minutes and cut and weave through the Giants defense will put a lot of strain on that ankle. Gronk is a beast and is very young and in super shape so I think he has healed very well and his ankle just may not be as bad as they say. Time will tell.
Wes Welker and Deion Branch will need to step it up today along with Aaron Hernandez. The biggest question will be if ChadÂ Ochocinco will show up and have decent game. The Pats will need to run the ball well and go no huddle through most of the first half and tire out the Giants defense as it will be very warm in Lucas Oil Stadium.
This game could very well come down to whoever has the ball last will win the game. My prediction is that the NE Patriots will win 27-24.