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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl analysis by Markie

First, a few facts courtesy of Sports Illustrated…

• The Giants are trying to become the first team to be outscored during the season and win the Super Bowl.

• The Giants are trying to become the first 9-7 team to win the Super Bowl. The only teams with nine or fewer victories to win the Super Bowl are the 1967 Packers (9-4-1), who played only 14 games, and the 1982 Redskins (8-1), who played only nine games because of the strike.

• The Giants are trying to become the first team to give up 400 points (25 points a game) and win the Super Bowl.

• The Giants are trying to become the first team to lose four games in a row and win the Super Bowl.

Oh, and while it was duly documented that the New York Football Giants had the toughest schedule in the NFL this season, they are trying to become the first team to beat the Patriots twice this season.

Point blank, the Patriots secondary seriously under performs, and their linebackers are not very fleet of foot, evidenced by the 6,500 yards of offense they have allowed this year. And if Eli and his posse of talented, young wide receivers can’t exploit this group, I will be beyond amazed.

Much has been made of the Pats’ superstar TE Rob Gronkowski’s upper ankle sprain. They say he’s out of the walking boot and walking without a limp. But after the first half comes the extended Super Bowl halftime at which point his heavily-taped ankle just might become a bigger issue.

If Gronk is limited at all, it changes New England’s entire “between the hash marks” approach on offense, as well as wreaks havoc with their protection schemes for QB Tom Brady.

Speaking of protecting Brady, the Giants celebrated four-man wrecking crew of a defensive line will be playing on artificial turf for the first time since they demolished the Falcon’s offensive line, on turf, in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Not on the frozen tundra up in Cheese Bay. And not in the mush at San Franfreako. On turf.

Tom Brady will probably look to nullify that pass rush by going no-huddle and pitching plenty of short passes. But as they did during the first game won by the Jints, the Jints will try to keep Brady guessing by disguising their defensive alignments before the snap. Expect a lot of three safety sets, little to no corner blitzes and the younger, speedier linebackers getting plenty of snaps.

I think the Giants are going to dare the Patriots to try to run the ball. But if the Giants front four puts consistent pressure on Brady when he drops back to pass, the Pats will likely switch to their heavy package consisting of two tight ends and/or extra offensive linemen and take the Giants up on that. And that would be preferable, to have the Pats trying to win by way of the ground game.

There is the question of which team has more momentum. The Pats have won ten straight since the shorthanded Giants beat them in their own house. But the Giants have played and won five consecutive do-or-die games against the best that the NFL has to offer, including the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Meanwhile, the Patriots looked like world beaters against QBs Tim Tebow and Joe Flacco, neither of which will ever be confused with Dan Marino. And the Patriots won the AFC championship game when the Ravens’ kicker missed a point blank range field goal.

In addition, Tom Brady had arguably his worst game of the season during that Ravens game, against a Ravens defense that disguises it’s defenses and gets after the passer. Sound familiar?

I think the Patriots win the first half. And I think they lose the second half.

I also think the Patriots are going to secretly curse the name of Victor Cruz come tomorrow.

If the Giants avoid turnovers, and if the Giants can keep the penalties to a minimum, we win by double digits...thirty-something to twenty-something.

Because of the Janet Jackson booby incident, this year’s halftime performer, Madonna, promised that no clothing malfunctions will take place when she performs at halftime. This, of course, is coming from a woman who usually performs in her underwear.


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