So I’m sitting around last night and you know, a lot of people think “hey Andrew, your very contrarian” No, I’m not necessarily contrarian but I like to think for myself and I don’t want to follow the masses necessarily. Whoever the Las Vegas Sports Consulting has favoured has won 33 of 45 Superbowls , 73% and they like New England to win it. Now full disclosure, I was 2-0 in the AFC/NFC championships, I’ve been 8-3 in the NFL playoffs, 3-0 in the bowl picks so I’m basically 11-3 in January – so basically I’m hot! I was ice cold in my November picks, hot in September/October, but I’m hot now.
So I’m sitting around last night (while watching Leafs/Sen’s hockey with my little bro) and thinking to myself “you’ve been pretty good on this stuff, like last month…you’ve been doing a lot of homework. So I’m sitting there thinking “heck, the entire world like’s the New York Giants…too many people like the Giants!” Now, maybe I’m over thinking it but the last time I remember a game like this was when USC played Texas in the National Championship and everybody was literally fondling over USC – you couldn’t find anybody that liked Texas. A week before the game, I remember that I favoured USC by 10 thinking that they would win and would cover…the day before the game I then said, “It’s a coin flip! And I think Texas may win”
Later I remember reading about how all the Texas players sat around for 2 weeks in Los Angeles and watched TV and how it got so nauseating for them yet it was the most motivating thing they’d ever seen in their lives because nobody gave them a shot! So I’m sitting there and thinking about how the New England Patriots have won 10 straight games. They led the Giants the last time they played, with 3 minutes left and had committed 4 turnovers, that was with them missing 2 of their best defensive players.
So then I thought to myself this: Nobody disputes the Giants’ offense right now that it’s really clicking like never before. They create big match-up problems for the Patriots Victor Cruz, Hakeen Nicks…it’s a problem. New York will score on the Patriots…no questions asked! But are we over crediting the Giants’ defense? Let me just throw a couple of things out at you. Firstly, everybody is saying “oh in the last 5 games, they’ve really been amazing! Against the Jets, Dallas, Atlanta, Green Bay and San Fran” Let’s go back and further analyze these games though.
The New York Jets who averaged low 20’s this year – and that’s facing the Bills twice (sorry Mike, even Brady picked on you guys) whose defense was a sieve, Jets averaged about 22 points a game. They scored 14 against the Giants, had oppourtunities for more. We later learned that the Jets’ locker room was a train wreck. So was that a great defensive stand? Or were the Jets just beginning their 3 weeks of bad football? I would argue that it was the latter. The following week, the Giants hold the Cowboys to 14 points – Tony Romo had almost 300 yards, 2 TD’s and the problem was that they fell behind 21-0. So the Giants’ pass rush pins their ears back, they never ran the football; I can assure you one thing: New England will never be behind 21-0 in this game. The New York Giants’ pass rush will not be able to pin their ears to that level.
The Green Bay game was 37-20 but Green Bay’s quarterback had not played since Christmas! They were rusty from the outset; they had 7 key drops in the game. Can we all acknowledge this about New England’s receivers: it’s probably the most sure handed offensive group in the league! Gronk, Hernandez, Welker, Branch…they don’t drop passes, they are an exceptional ball catching team. What to make of the San Francisco game though? Pfft what about it! A singular dimension offense that scored 17, could’ve easily won that game if not for a bad punt return. I’m not saying the Giants aren’t hot but are we over-valuing how great this defense is? They played Sanchez and an imploding locker room, a rusty Green Bay team, Alex Smith – by the way, New England turned it over 4 times in Foxboro and still led with 3 minutes left. New England had 440 yards – that’s going 5 for 15 on 3rd downs. From the late 3rd quarter /early 4th they had over 225 yards in offense, they were moving the ball down the field!!
Vegas has won money on the Superbowl in 19 of the last 21 years, by the way right now its 65-35 bets on the Giants. That feels like too heavy for New York, heck think “Gronkowski, Gronkowski!” You know what’s interesting? I followed up with my contact at the Las Vegas Sports Consulting, he said that Gronkowski is worth half a point and I’m almost certain that he will play. Vegas’ projection? 29-26 New England. Again, I’m not saying that New York doesn’t deserve credit, heck I thought the line should’ve been Giants +6 but as I’ve done more research over the past 10 days, I think we are over-valuing the Giants’ “great” defense. In the back seven, they have exactly one of what you would call a“high-end” defender – linebacker Boley…that’s it! Aaron Ross is seen as a huge liability by everybody in the league…and I mean everybody! Who find your weak spot better than anyone in this game? Brady and Belicheck!
The huge discussion amongst coaches and scouts leading up to the Superbowl– and they’re usually all over the place and the media sits in the rooms talking with them, before and after games, is that Sebastian Vollmer is finally healthy for New England – their best right tackle, which would allow New England to play Nate Solder on right tackle or tight end, when he went to Colorado he was initially a tight end, they are going to spread the Giants’ defense out!! Trent Dilfer talked about it this past week on ESPN radio and it’s the prediction of what most people believe will happen, when the Patriot offense takes the field against the New York Giants defense, he said “ there is the jumbo package that you’re going to see. If Gronk is healthy enough and takes the field against the Giants, even if it’s just to be a body presence, you have Solder’s at tight end, you have Gronk at tight end and you have Hernandez as a tight end right? You put a back in their 13th personnel, one back and 3 tight ends. You can extend the line of scrimmage; flatten the line of scrimmage thus creating more body presence. Now, I actually think they are going to throw the ball out of that – they’ll run the ball at times, but I think they’ll resort to the play action because you’re going to get some defined looked by the Giants”
The best betting advice I ever got “when the traffic is all going one way, go into it!” if the masses knew anything or won consistently they wouldn’t be selling real estate and insurance…they’d be sports bettors! So it’s like 65-35 money on the Giants, but you cannot turn on the TV or radio because everybody likes the Giants, most people like them big. That simply doesn’t feel right to me, if feels like USC/Texas and everybody telling me how average Texas was and people overstating how great USC’s defense was. I think we’re seriously overstating how great the Giants’ defense is because I look at that back 7 and I think its average! Let’s be honest, it is hard to get to Brady. He had 440 yards against these guys in his first game, he wasn’t playing with a healthy team and for the record, 4 turnovers and they led with 3 minutes left…are we going nuts here? Are we falling into the same habits? There is a reason why Vegas builds big casinos, it’s not because they are wrong! I think it’s absolutely incredible!! You can’t find a single person to pick the Patriots. Belicheck and Brady, 2 weeks…say it out loud!!
Giants (+3) over Patriots
Alright, so I already told you earlier in the week that I like the Giants plus the points but I’m digging deeper and deeper and I don’t like the way the media, for the last 7 days, has been slobbering over the Giants. Las Vegas builds big casinos because they don’t listen to the public and the public loves the Giants. New England’s defense right now is frankly under-rated. Only once since Week #3 have they surrendered more than 24 points…once! Of the 7 best teams that New England has played, most talented – Philadelphia, Dallas, Baltimore, Giants, Pittsburgh, Jets twice…they’re not only 5-2, they’re 30 seconds from being 6-1.
Let’s be honest here, Lee Evans catches the ball and New England is not here. Ahmad Bradshaw’s fumble is called a fumble, the Giants aren’t here. The 3 best passing teams that New York has faced this year: New Orleans, Green Bay twice and New England, have all been a hot knife through butter. Brees put up 49 points along with 5 TD’s. In 2 meetings, Aaron Rodgers had 775 yards, nearly 60 points – and that was with 6 drops in the last game. Brady threw for 440 yards and didn’t have a full complement of players. Yeah New York made Alex Smith look average, but that’s because he is! And he didn’t even throw an interception. The Gronk injury is a wildcard and my eyeballs tell me that the Giants receivers are too much for New England’s back seven. But let’s not make too much of how hot the Giants are right now. They beat the Jets – a dysfunctional team (hurts to write that), Cowboys – dysfunctional as well and a San Francisco team that lost at home to Dallas, San Francisco is a limited football team.
Coach – edge New England, Special teams – edge New England, linebackers – edge New England, offensive line – edge New England, quarterback – sorry, I’m still saying edge New England, tight end/wide receiver combo – coin flip! But if Gronk can play, edge New England. Vince Wilfork has jammed up the interior – you can’t run on the Patriots in the last month. By the way, Mark Anderson and Rob Ninkovich are getting a much better pass rush than anybody gets credit for. No 9-7 team has ever won the Superbowl – the hottest team is New England with 10 straight wins.
I’m calling a 28-27 Patriots win, the only favoured team to ever be called an upset if they win, New England and Brady – I don’t think they get beat by the Giants in 3 straight. So 28-27 Patriots, take your points but the Patriots win the Superbowl.