New York Giants (12-7 SU, 11-7-1 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (15-3 SU, 10-8 ATS), Sunday February 5th, 2012. 6:29PM EST, Super Bowl XLVI, Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis, IN
By Jay Horne, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYG +3/NE -3
Over/Under Total: 55
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On Sunday February 5th, Lucas Oil Stadium will play venue to the world’s greatest sports spectacle when the New England Patriots meet the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.
For NFL enthusiasts, this game presents a striking resemblance to the Super Bowl XLII match-up between the Giants and the Patriots. Back in 2008, QB Eli Manning led a brilliant 4th quarter comeback to knock off the heavily favored unbeaten Patriots 17-14 in one of the most stunning upsets in Super Bowl history. Fast forward 4 years and you have the same two teams in eerie similar roles once again in a battle for the coveted Lombardi Trophy.
The Giants will enter as slight underdogs just as they were back in 2008 despite knocking off the Patriots 24-20 earlier this year in Foxboro. In that game, QB Eli Manning connected with WR Jake Ballard for a game winning touchdown with just 15 seconds to go to deliver yet another heart breaking loss to the Patriots. Still, the Patriots will enter as 3 point favorites over the Giants when the two teams meet inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
However, New York has strived in the underdog role this season. After a week 15 loss to Washington, the Giants stood at just 7-7 on the season with their backs against the wall. Many thought that coach Tom Coughlin was at the end of his tenure in New York. However, the Giants rallied to close out the regular season to win their last 2 games and take down the NFC East Crown. After just barely slipping into the postseason, the Giants then caught fire to win 3 straight games and capture another NFC Championship. Needless to say, the Giants are just another upset away from taking down yet another NFL Championship.
If you can remember back to 2008, the New England Patriots march to a perfect season was ended by the Giants in Super Bowl XLII after winning 18 straight games. Perhaps this year, the Patriots could score some type of sweet revenge from that agonizing disappointment. The Patriots have another tremendous football team that swept through the regular season with a potent 13-3 SU mark. New England was the popular choice to make it to the Super Bowl out of the AFC this year and they did not fall short of those expectations.
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Last week the Patriots withstood an extremely talented Baltimore Ravens team 23-20 despite a subpar performance from superstar QB Tom Brady. Brady tossed 2 picks and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time all season. It was the first glimpse of mortality the Patriots offense had experienced in several weeks and they will need to get back in rhythm if Brady is going to capture his NFL record tying 4th Super Bowl victory. The key for the Patriots offense will be allowing Brady sufficient time to throw the football. Last week, the Baltimore Raven’s defense did a great job of getting to Brady quickly and forcing him to get rid of the ball before the play could develop.
The Giants have a very solid pass rush led by DE Jason Pierre-Paul who has recorded 17 sacks on the season. However behind that defensive line, the Giants pass defense has surrendered 255 yards per game on the year which is the 4th most by any defense in the NFL. Patriots WR Wes Welker posted huge numbers this year racking up over 1,500 receiving yards which was 2nd most by any receiver in the NFL. Additionally, New England has the best two tight ends in the game in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. If the Giants do not get to Brady quickly, all 3 of these guys could wreak havoc on that Giants defense.
Still even if the Patriots offense has success, the Giants offense is poised with the firepower to trade punches as well. QB Eli Manning has been red hot in recent weeks averaging well over 300 yards with 11 scores and just 1 pick in the last 4 games. Wide outs Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are two of the most talented receivers in the NFL and have combined for over 2,700 yards with 16 scores on the season. Both receivers have tremendous big play potential and have already made several big plays in the playoffs. If Manning gets in rhythm with these talented targets, the Giants offense can be nearly impossible to defend.
The majority of fans expect a quarterback duel between Manning and Brady as these two offensive juggernauts collide on the big stage. There is little doubt that there should be a ton of offense in this game considering the talent on that particular side of the football. However, I am very interested to see which defense will step up and play well. New England has given up 290 yards through the air this season and their pass defense will definitely be a concern. The Giants defense can be good at times and simply bad at others. Therefore, it will be interesting to see which defense can hold it together for a full 60 minutes and give their team a shot to win on the NFL’s biggest stage.
New York is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games and 7-2 ATS this season as underdogs. The Giants have reached the under total in 5 of their last 6 games. Additionally, the last 4 out of 5 games between the Giants and Patriots have reached the under total as well.
New England is 4-2 SU against the Giants in their last 6 games but just 1-5 ATS during those 6 games. The Patriots have also reached the over total in 7 of their last 8 games.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The majority of the betting public is already favoring the red hot Giants by nearly 65%. After all, the Giants have won 5 straight while covering the spread in all of those contests. Additionally, New York has had the Patriots number in recent meetings. However, I just do not believe that information will have any impact on Super Bowl XLVI. Let’s face it, both Green Bay and San Francisco self-destructed in their losses to the Giants and I do not think the Patriots will give them any similar favors. I simply think Brady will methodically dissect the Giants weak pass defense in route to another Lombardi Trophy. Take New England -3.
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