Thursday, February 2, 2012
Finally!! A Superbowl Blog!
Well, it's been over a week and a half since the Patriots and Giants won their Conference Championship games and punched their tickets to the big dance. And since then, I was telling myself that it would be inappropriate to blog about the Superbowl game because I am so biased, being a hardcore Patriots fan and all. But after studying the match up, and seeing what the Giants bring to the table, I feel that I can fairly comment on this game because, simply put, the Giants scare me in this game. All anyone can talk about since this happened is "Revenge." The Patriots making up for that February 2008 loss that so many Patriot fans wish they could forget. (Fun side not, I was a sophomore in college during that game, and doing what college students tend to do, I actually barely remember the game other than highlights I saw the next day) But what people are not talking about is that this Patriots team is not a great as that years team, and this years Giants team is better than in 2007. Now that doesn't mean that I am picking the Giants to win this game. I am staying strong and picking my Patriots to win this, but the Giants do have a favorable match up in some levels of this game. But this blog is about the Key Players for both teams, and believe me, both teams have some great key players.
For the Giants:
Everyone knows the Giants running game is better than most. And that Bradshaw is one of the better running back in the league at running up the middle and using his size and power to get the yards. That's the kind of running backs that NFL teams need. The only question is Bradshaw is which one will you get? There are two different Bradshaws for the Giants. There's the one who after the first hit trucks over all defenders and moves for at least 5 more yards. Then there's the Bradshaw who after the first hit goes down or runs backwards to try to avoid going down and winds up costing his team valuable yards. I know that most players say that the Superbowl is the big game and what you play for, so you will come out strong. But as someone, who as a kid, played for Superbowls and started for winning teams, it's just another game. Many players, even though they know the importance, their mentalities naturally go to it being any other game. That is why Bradshaw could be either of his playing styles in this game. But rest assured, if he can rush for over 100 yards and get a TD in this game, I think I'll wish I wasn't a Pats fan this Sunday.
The New York Giants have a great QB. As much as most people try to dismiss Eli Manning is Peyton's little brother, the facts are he has an opportunity this Sunday to pass his brother in Superbowl wins. Right now they're tied in number of rings, and in the Manning house, I imagine that's all that matters. But the three receivers that Manning has don't hurt his abilities. Having the kind of players like Victor Cruz, Mario Manningham, and Hakeem Nicks would help to propel any QB to the top, taking nothing away from Manning. But with the Pats' defense being so suspect in the regular season, you have to believe that these receivers are going to be running all around that secondary trying to get open and giving Eli some good looks. Plain and simple, if these three wide receivers can get open on Sunday, look for the Giants to put up big numbers and walk out with the most coveted trophy in all of football.
For the Patriots
The biggest story this week has been Rob Gronkowski and his ankle. He couldn't play in the AFC Championship game, then he could. He had a boot and crutches, then he didn't. His father said he was playing, then he said he wasn't sure. Now as of today he is back at practice with the team. Well if he plays, it gives the Pats a huge advantage. The reason this guy is such a big story is his effectiveness. He is 6 foot 6 but has the wingspan of a 6-9 to 6-10 guy. That is why he is so good. But the Pats have another amazing Tight end in Aaron Hernandez. He is under rated because of Gronkowski, but believe me, if the Giants choose to double up on Gronkowski and leave Hernandez open for even half a second, he will take that and turn it into a big gain, if not a TD. So look for either or both Tight Ends to have a big game, depending on Gronk's condition.
Now I know what all of you are saying. How can I say he is a key player and not Eli. Plain and simple: Brady has more to prove this game. The last few years Brady has played horribly in the post season. Even this season, he admitted his games haven't been great. Yes, he lit Denver up, but in Baltimore he, and I'm quoting Brady on this, "Sucked." Many people are saying this is his most important game because if he does not win this game, he will become known as the most over rated player in the NFL. And to be honest, I think I might have to agree. Now if he goes out and has 300+ yards and 3 TDs
Finally, the Patriots' final key player for this game is the man who lead the NFL in receptions and receiving yards. Obviously a receiver with his skills is going to be huge, but with Brady's second go to receiver being questionable for this game, Welker has to know that he has to go out and catch, run, and score for this team to succeed. Look for Welker to be jawing with the defenders trying to get open, because if anyone knows just how much he needs to perform in this game, it's Wes Welker. If he and Hernandez can make up for a missing Gronk, assuming he either can't play at all or no where near standard Gronkowski, then this team would stand a chance. But if Welker can't put this team on his back, look for problems in New England this Sunday.
Finally, it is important to look at the biggest match up of this game.
New England Patriots Offensive Line vs. New York Giants Defensive Line
Look at the Giants defensive line: Jason Pierre Paul, Linval Joseph, Chris Canty, Justin Tuck, and of course Osi Umenyiora coming off the bench. That is an amazing defensive line who specializes in rushing the QB. And when does Tom Brady struggle? When being rushed by the defense. This defensive line will decided the fate of the game. If Brady is constantly rushed, hit, and sacked, the Pats can't win and the Giants will win. But if this D-Line gives Brady time to look around, he will find receivers, and the Pats will be hoisting up the Lombardi trophy this season. Now let's look at the Pats offensive line. Rookie Nate Soldier, Brian Waters, backup center Dan Connolly, Logan Mankins (un-biased opinion: best O-Lineman in the league) and Matt Light. The Pats' offense is great to the left of Brady. But up the gut and to the right (happens to be where Jason Pierre-Paul lines up) I question. It makes me a bit nervous. If Nate Soldier had just two more years under his belt going up against J.P.P, I wouldn't be nervous at all. But as a rookie, I'm worried. This match up seems to favor the Giants. But let me make things clear. I trust this O-Line with all my heart, I'm just nervous about the D-Line of the Giants. From Pee-Wees up to High School, College, and the Pros, Lineman coaches have always said that the Line wins or loses the game. That has never been more true than this game. Depending on which Line performs better, the New England Offense or the New York Defense, that team will win this game, I guarantee it. So as a fan of the Patriots since the day I watched my first game back when I was six, I am rooting for the Patriots. I am picking to Patriots to win. But as an analyst, I am picking whichever team's linemen perform better to win this game.
Well there you have it faithful readers. As a fan, I have to pick the Pats. But that match up with decide this game. I hope you check back for most posts. Now that I am not nervous to post about this game, look for more stories before the big game on Sunday.
And now...for my one and only, completely biases comment of the blog...February 3, 2008....Never Forgive...Never Forget! Go Pats!