Gregor’s Packer Analysis
Super Bowl XLVI Preview
View From the Recliner:
1. The Pro Bowl went out of it’s way to prove it should be eliminated. At least that’s what I heard. I didn’t watch the first half, turned it on between shows and literally fell asleep within a few plays. Anyone expecting an entertaining game apparently hasn’t seen the Pro Bowl in the last 25 or 30 years. Just watch the highlights after the game and you’ll save 3 hours of your life. Hey, it makes sense that guys aren’t going to play hard. Unlike other sports, football contracts aren’t guaranteed. Some of the guys there, like Matt Forte, were playing without a contract in 2012. You aren’t going to end another guy’s career in the Pro Bowl. It’s worse than an exhibition game—those can go too, by the way, or at least reduced. That doesn’t mean the regular season should be extended—16 games in 17 weeks is working fine—no need to adjust. Of course, with the chance at more money, the season will be longer at some point, the only question is when. Same with the Pro Bowl, it’s over, it’s just a matter of when.
2. The Patriots were able to win both playoff games even though they had more turnovers than the Broncos in the Divisional Round, and more turnovers than the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. It’s unlikely they beat the Giants if they have more turnovers. In fact, they probably need the Giants to commit at least two more turnovers than they do to win.
The Patriots biggest matchup problem, Rob Gronkowski, will be limited with a high ankle sprain. That is a HUGE loss for New England. He can out-run linebackers, and run over or break tackles of safeties. Now he becomes a possession receiver. Gronk will probably have to run in a straight line, and won’t get there very fast. Also, New England’s receivers have been going down before contact in the playoffs to avoid turnovers. Gronk can’t try breaking tackles, and really can’t afford contact, so he will likely hit the turf when defenders get close. He can’t take a chance on someone twisting his ankle during a tackle. The Patriots don’t have a game breaker now, unless Aaron Hernandez gets a favorable matchup. Wes Welker makes a lot of catches, but isn’t going to outrun the secondary. Chad Ochocinco has been a non-factor all season. Deion Branch’s defender won’t need help.
The Patriots defense is viewed as playing better, but that is after wins against Denver and Baltimore. Neither are an explosive offense, the Giants are a much better offense than they’ve seen in awhile.
3. The Giants are on a roll, much like the Packers last year going into the Super Bowl. They had a close game with the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, and probably would have lost had they not been handed the ball twice on special teams, leading to a touchdown and the game winning field goal.
But the Patriots are very similar to the Packers. A top quarterback and passing game, an under-used running game, and a bad defense. The Giants front 4 is a huge problem for the Patriots. And as stated above, the Patriots receivers probably don’t have an advantage, except maybe with Hernandez. The Giants should be able to get some stops.
On offense, the Giants have multiple options in the passing game. Hakeem Nicks is this year’s version of Plaxico Burress, the unstoppable receiver in the playoffs the last time the Giants made it to (and won) the Super Bowl. Victor Cruz has the speed to out run the secondary. Mario Manningham probably won’t decide the game, but can move the chains. And Jake Ballard is a big target. The running game with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs has a decided advantage over the Patriots and Benjarvis Greeen-Ellis (the law firm).
4. The Patriots are a 3 point favorite. I have no idea why. The Giants have a more balanced offense, a better defense, and they aren’t turning the ball over. Looks like an easy Giants win. There are two things that don’t look right. When the playoffs started, the Patriots and the Packers were about 2:1 favorites to win the Super Bowl, then the Saints, then the Ravens. The Giants weren’t in the top 4 (weren’t expected to make the Super Bowl) and Vegas doesn’t make a habit of giving money away. Now, even with Gronk’s injury known, they still favor New England by 3. I like the Giants by 7 or more, but I’d like it more if they were favored. I know Belichick is a great coach, and if there’s a way to win, he’ll find it.
When something looks funny, it’s better to stay away.