Here's a tip to all you bettors who're dead set on wagering on a Patriots' win over the Giants in the Super Bowl, where the Pats are three-point favorites.
Examine the performance of the Giants in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers. It's a good guage of how they'll play Sunday. That Championship game, by the way, featured the two best teams of the NFL Final Four. If the Giants can whip the superior 49ers, they certainly can topple the Pats, who are not only saddled with a weak defense but will have to play with their second best offensive player, tight end Rob Gronkowski, hobbled by a bum ankle.
In the NFC Championship game, the Giants' QB Eli Manning was mercilessly harrassed by the Niners, who sacked him six times. The rush was particularly brutal in the second half. Yet he escaped time after time, engineering clutch connections with receivers. The Giants' passing game survived an attack by the best front-four in football--on the road and in the rain, no less. In the Super Bowl, the situation will be more passer-friendly. They'll not only be in a fast-tracked, weatherproof stadium but will contend with a considerably less dangerous front four.
The Pats' front seven is just OK. Quick, agile Patriots' defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who's murder to guard as he rushes up the middle, is the main threat. With pass-rushing DE Andre Carter out, no one else is a real danger. You know the Giants' offensive line, which was really shaky most of the season but rallied in the last few games and the playoffs, is secretly happy to face the Pats' front seven. Vulnerable to big plays and not known for being particularly quick or powerful, this Pats' unit will be much easier to handle than that nightmare Niners' unit. With no ferocious pass rush to worry about, Manning, who's thrown no picks in the playoffs, is more likely to be consistently on target.
In addition, the Giants' have a mental edge, having triumphed in their last two key clashes with New England--both times as heavy underdogs. Four years ago, in the Super Bowl, at University of Phoenix stadium, the Giants, a 12.5 dog supposedly overmatched by the undefeated Pats, won 17-14. More recently, on Nov 6, as a nine-point road dog and without Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants beat the Pats, 24-20.
This time, as a slight (three-point) underdog, do you think the Giants are quaking in their boots?