PREDICTION! Again, welcome Massimo, another “Featured Writer” for Silver and Blue Report
They Meet Again
Can Tom Brady and the Patriots offense avoid the Giants veracious pass rush and dethrone their nemesis dating back to 07? Massimo Russo goes deep inside the helmet and predicts the outcome in a rematch of a classic match-up
Super Bowl XLVI – TV: NBC 6:30 pm ET
N.Y. Giants vs. New England Patriots
Super Bowl XLVI brings us a classic match-up to endure, a game that I find very intriguing with one team, the Giants that fought through a wave of injuries, a brutal schedule and winning against the odds. The other, the Patriots with a lack-luster defense but an offense that lit up the scoreboard, highlighted by a record setting tight end that enters the greatest stage the game brings with a high ankle sprain.
The big question mark over of the last two weeks has been the status of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (high ankle sprain) and how effective he will be come game time. The Gronk should play, but not being 100% may give the Giants defense an extra step on how they’ll defend the Patriots high powered passing game on critical passing downs. With Gronkowski’s health status playing a key factor, it’s going to be interesting to see how the Giants will defend him with either weak-side linebacker Michael Boley or an extra defensive back. With New York’s defense keying on Gronkowski, look for the Patriots to use some draw and stretch plays to avoid the Giants pass rush by trying to establish the run and hopefully get the Giants dominant defensive front tired by the fourth quarter. If the Patriots can do this effectively, Tom Brady should be able to find Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, his second and third options outside of Gronkowski.
On the flip side of things for New England’s defense, they’ll need a huge performance from defensive tackle Vince Wilfork to get a push up the middle to possibly free up the outside to provide a significant amount of pressure on the red hot Eli Manning. Look for the Patriots to use six defensive backs, doubling the Giants dynamic receivers Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, while rushing either two or three down lineman with two or three linebackers, and possibly an extra safety down in the box to try to limit Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw from having a breakout game on the ground. With all the attention on New York’s speedy wide-outs, this could leave some favorable match-ups for tight end Jake Ballard on passing downs, particularly in the red zone for Eli Manning and the Giants passing attack.
Pick: With all the outside factors and match-ups playing a key factor in a game of this magnitude, the game of football always reminds me of what the most important factor really is, and that’s the line of scrimmage, something New York has better than its opponent in this game. The play of Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Anvil Joseph, Chris Canty and Mathias Kiwanuka has made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. And I see New York using the same defensive approach they used in the 07 super bowl and that’s using four defensive ends, a brilliant idea considering the fact that you have four pass rushers instead of only two on the outside to provide pressure from all angles.
N.Y. Giants 34, Patriots 24.
MVP: Jason Pierre-Paul, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles.