Only 200 miles separates two of America’s most prideful sports cities in the United States. The rivalry between Boston and New York runs deeper than just sports; the people who live in these cities simply cannot stand each other. Boston is the historic and beautiful little-big city, while New York is the intimidating monster that never sleeps. Usually when you hear the names of these two places in the same sentence the mind immediately shifts towards the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees, but there seems to be a larger rivalry which has began to overshadow the cities’ baseball teams over the past five years.
When the New York Giants battle the New England Patriots this coming Sunday we can throw all the statistics out the window. This game is personal for the fans, and the players on the field. It was only four short years ago when Eli Manning and the Giants dethroned the Pats and disallowed them from becoming the sport’s first perfect team since the 1972 Dolphins in what some may say was the greatest Super Bowl upset of all time.
The rematch of the 2007 Super Bowl will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a mid-western city without the flare of previous Super Bowl venues such as Miami or Phoenix. However, Indianapolis will be ready to hold its first Super Bowl ever, and preliminary indications by the NFL’s front office seems ecstatic with the job the city has done in preparation for the big game. Currently, the Patriots are favored to win the game by the odds makers in Las Vegas by three. This is mostly due to the fact that quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick have won ¾ Super Bowl’s they have played in, but this game against the Giants will be the toughest test for the Pats all year.
Offensively the Giants look unstoppable, riding the hot arm of Eli Manning, and his stud trio of receivers: Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham. While the double-headed monster at running back between Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs forces defenses to respect the running game. Defensively, the Giants actually may be better than their offense if that is even possible. The interchangeable front four linemen for the Giants left this years’ probable MVP, Aaron Rodgers run for his life. They won’t make life any easier for the golden boy Tom Brady either. If the Giants can get to Brady, hit him around, and sack him a couple of times this game could get ugly really fast.
The Patriots will have to rely on Tom Brady as usual to win the game for them. But, Brady is not the pivotal player in this game for the Pats, and neither is his breakout tight end Rob Gronkowski. If the Patriots want to win this game, their defense will have to find a way to stop the Giants on offense. No one has been able to do that since Eli’s dreadful four-interception game against Washington back on December 18th, the same day as the last Giants loss. The Patriots secondary has vastly improved since the beginning of the year, but they still remain the weakest part of the team. Like the Giants’ defensive line, the Pats’ line will also prove pivotal in determining the outcome of the game, if they can pressure Eli the Pats have a real good chance of winning.
Unlike in 2007, the Patriots are not gigantic favorites to win this rematch. Personally, I think the Giants are the better team, and if Eli defeats Brady for the second time in a Super Bowl, it’s a plausible argument to say that Eli is a top three quarterback in the league, surpassing his older brother Peyton and on the same level as Brady. The game will go down as the most watched Super Bowl ever, with the worst halftime show starring the Material Girl herself. This should prove to be a very interesting game with a lot of offensive and defensive fireworks, but the Giants pull this one out. Prediction: Giants 34 Patriots 27.