Smack Talk Sports: SuperBowl XLVI Edition

BUnow’s inagural installment of the Smack Talk Sports kicks off with a look into who will win Super Bowl XLVI. Take a deeper look into the game with arguments by sports writers Paul Rosa and Sean Roth.

Giants Argument - Paul Rosa

The G-Men not favored in this game, no problem.  Just because Brady and Belicheck have been here four other times doesn’t scare me.  When is the last time the Patriots were in a Superbowl?  2007, the year of the 18-0 team that coughed up a big one to the Giants and Superbowl MVP Eli Manning.

It is irresponsible to say the Patriots are favored in this matchup.  The G-Men are coming out of a stacked NFC that included the Saints, 49ers, and that one team from Green Bay that finished 15-1 in the regular season.  I trust Eli and the Giants defensive front in this game.  The Giants will sack Brady at least five times and look for them to pressure him often.  Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre Paul are playing like men possessed during this playoff run.  Lookout Tom!

As far as the younger Manning goes, you can’t spell “Elite” without Eli.  Big games just don’t seem to phase Peyton’s little brother especially big games away from Giants Stadium.  Lets face it; the man has seven fourth quarter comebacks this season.  I expect Eli to have a stellar performance on Sunday hitting all three of his big wide receivers for big yardage.  Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham, and rookie sensation Victor Cruz should have no problem shredding Julian Edelman and the pathetic Patriots secondary.  It has been said that this New England team knows how to play “situational defense.”  I heard the Packers could play situational defense too.  The only thing that got them this year was an early exit from the playoffs handed to them by the Giants.  Nothing erases the fact that the Patriots were the 31st ranked defense in the regular season this year.  As long as the Giants can balance out Eli’s passing attack with a solid effort on the ground from Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, the Giants will have no problem torching a porous Patriots defense.

Rob Gronkowski has been the talk of the town in Indianapolis all week long.  Ever since the all-pro tight end injured his ankle in the AFC championship against the Ravens there has been much speculation to his status for Sunday.  The fact is Gronkowski is going to play.  If Terrell Owens played with a broken ankle you better believe Gronkowski will be out there with a high ankle sprain.  The question is will he be effective?  In week nine of the regular season Gronkowski caught eight balls for 101 yards and a touchdown against the Giants who won that game 24-20.  I will personally guarantee that he will not put up anything close to that in Superbowl XLVI this Sunday.

I think the Patriots are a solid offensive team, and you can never write off Brady and Belichick when they have two weeks to prepare.  But guess what? I just did.  The Giants will take Superbowl XLVI 31-17 and Eli Manning will win his second Superbowl MVP award.

Prediction: New York Giants 31, New England Patriots 17

Patriots Argument - Sean Roth

Come late Sunday night the New England Patriots will have wrapped up their fourth Super Bowl win of all time. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick don’t have the most post season wins ever for a coach and quarterback pairing for no reason. Four years ago, Eli Manning and the Giants may have ended what could have been a dream season for the Patriots. Tom Brady is a winner and one of the most competitive, intense players to ever play the game. There is no doubt in my mind that the 2007 Super Bowl has been haunting him ever since. If Tom Brady wants revenge, Tom Brady gets revenge.

Although the New England Patriots are currently favored in the books by 2.5 points, the overall public opinion is strongly in favor of the Giants. Vegas actually has made money on the Super Bowl in 19 of the past 21 years. So far, over 60% of the public’s money is on the New York Giants. If the trend continues the Patriots will at least cover the spread, and at 2.5 points, are likely to come out with the win. If that trend isn’t enough, maybe the fact that no team who finished with a 9-7 regular season record has ever won the Super Bowl will change your mind. Yes, the Giants beat the Patriots in week nine 24-20, but any athlete will tell you it’s extremely difficult to beat a good team twice in one season. Take into factor that Bill Belichick, arguably the best game planner and schemer to ever coach in the NFL, has had two weeks to game plan and footage of the Giants and Patriots game to work off of. There will be a different result.

Many Giants believers default answer as to why the Giants will win is the Patriots lack of defense. No, New England’s defense is not even in the same stratosphere as the 49ers defense the Giants had to take on in the Conference Championship. But if you take a closer look, they also aren’t as bad as people are making them out to be. Take a look at a comparison of the Giants and Patriots defenses in the post season this year:

Patriots have given up 325 yards per game, 130 of those rushing, and averaged 1 turnover and 4 sacks defensively
Giants have averaged 321 yards allowed, 120.3 of those rushing, and created 2 turnovers and 4 sacks a game.

The Giant’s defense that has been heralded all post season long isn’t all that much better than the Patriot’s defense statistically. The healthy return of safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Brandon Spikes, and the conversion into a 3-4 front has really turned this defense around when it counts.

Offensively there is no denying the Patriots have the edge. New England boasts Tom Brady (ever heard of him?), Wes Welker (the NFL’s leader with 122 receptions), an underrated rushing game with BenJarvus Green-Ellis (who had more rushing yards and touchdowns than Ahmad Bradshaw), and their most dangerous and versatile weapons Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski (set the NFL receiving record for tight ends with 1,327 receiving yards). These two players are matchup nightmares. Aaron Hernandez has been crucial this post season and Belichick has given him added value by actually using him out of the backfield because of how good he is in open space. Yes, Gronkowski’s ankle injury did not look good two weeks ago, but listen to the man himself, “I’m improving every day. The only reason it’s getting so blown up is because it’s the Super Bowl. It’s just like any other injury during any other week.”

The key for the New England Patriots will be to get their run game going against an aggressive front four of the Giants. If the Giant’s pass rush can be somewhat neutralized because of their below average rush defense, Tom Brady will pick the secondary apart, Gronk spike by Gronk spike.

Prediction: New England Patriots 27, New York Giants 20


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