Giants v NEW ENGLAND ---
The truth is, this has been a
very difficult game to handicap and I wanted to digest as much information
as possible before I made my selection. Now, I’m ready.
As you all know, the line is presently New England -12 points so,
not only do you have to decide if the Pats will win, but also if they’ll
cover. The best way I could think of to help me make my decision was to
review the full replay of the Pats, 38-35, Week 17, win over the Giants.
What better way could there be to see how these 2 opponents match up?
In that December 29 contest, the Giants got out to an early lead.
The Pats then rallied back, but the G-Men regained the lead at halftime,
21-16, on a 2-minute drill. That drive was very telling; Eli was calm,
cool, collected and did a masterful job. The other observation I made was
the Giant pass rush got to Tom Brady and knocked him down several times. I
know Brady is the best in the business, but no QB likes to get hit.
In the second half, the Giants took their first possession to the
house and opened up a 12-point lead about 5 minutes into the 3rd
quarter. The Patriots then began to exert their will. Brady began making
quicker reads, getting rid of the ball before the Giant rush could get to
him. That tactic worked to perfection as the Pats scored 3 straight
TD’s. On the flip side, to combat Eli Manning, the Pats brought a little
more heat, forcing an interception. That interception led to New
England’s final TD and a 38-28 lead with 4:36 left on the clock.
The game was not over yet as Manning, facing a fierce Patriot pass
rush, methodically drove the G-Men down the field. They hit pay dirt, with
1:04 left on the clock, bringing the Giants within 3 points. That was
still enough time for the on-sides kick but the Patriots recovered and ran
out the clock.
The stats told the story as neither team could run the ball very
well, but the Pats got the sole turnover, held a 100-yard passing
advantage and a very telling 12 extra minutes in time of possession.
So, what does this all tell us? First, it’s obvious the Patriots
are the better overall team and, barring a rash of unforeseen turnovers or
a major injury, New England will win the game and rewrite history.
Second, we get down to the more important question; will the Pats
cover the spread? This is where it gets a little dicey, 12 points is a
huge number and the Pats, although winning, are only 1-7 against the
spread down the stretch. The Giants, on the other hand, are 7-1 against
the spread and proven road warriors, winning 10 in a row, including 3
playoff games. The first place I always look for an answer is my power
rating. It has been phenomenal in the playoffs, going 5-1 against the
spread this year and a strong 31-17 over the last 9. I have the Patriots
at -8, that’s a full 4 points in the Giants favor.
So, this is my story and I’m sticking to it, I see a closely
fought game in the 1st half. Neither team will be able to
establish their running game and Giant defensive guru, Steve Spagnoulo,
will devise a plan to limit speedster Randy Moss. The game will then turn
into a Brady v Eli affair. Although Eli has been stellar, Brady will
slowly gain the upper hand, dinking and dunking to Wes Welker and company,
giving the Patriots a modest lead at halftime.
In the second half, after the teams adjust their game plans, it
will be more of the same. Brady will methodically move the Pats down the
field and New England will gain a comfortable lead midway through the 4th
quarter, approximately 13 to 17 points. That’s where Eli comes in and
calmly takes the G-Men down the field slipping them in the backdoor. The
Pats regain the ball and are content to run out the clock. Everybody’s
happy, the Pats go 19-0, the Giants make a game of it and Benny goes home
with a big smile on his face because the G-Men cover the 12 points.
Now a word of caution, although this is the Super Bowl and the
biggest game of the year, it doesn’t have to be your biggest wager of
the year. This scenario all hinges on Eli taking care of the ball and not
making any turnovers. If the Giants lose the turnover battle, this game
could just as easily turn into a rout. The Pats are that good. The bottom
line here is, make a small wager and enjoy the game. Thanks, Ben
5* OVER the Total --- These teams
combined for 73 points in iffy weather, now on a fast track.
England Patriots 34 – New York Giants 26