Monday, February 06, 2012


He's Da Mann!

Well, my numbers weren't completely off: Instead of 31-17, the final score was 21-17! I got the New England side of the equation, but the Giants didn't quite ring up the numbers on the offensive side as I envisioned.  That said, the game played out as I thought, with respect to the winning quarterback. Eli is now the top dog in the Manning family. He led the team to a winning fourth-quarter touchdown -- as he did four years ago and as he has done all season. Eli now has two Super Bowl wins -- and gotten them in a quicker time than his more accomplished brother took to get one. He's also the only guy to have beaten Tom Brady twice in the postseason.  To become elite, ya gotta beat the elite.

And Eli Manning is as elite -- and clutch -- as they come.

And given the respective ages of this team's core players on offense and defense, there's no reason why the Giants shouldn't be favorites at least to make it back to the NFC championship game next year.

Congrats, Eli. Congrats, New York Giants!!

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Sunday, February 05, 2012


ELI-te Prediction

Thank goodness there aren't as many pre-game polls for football games as there are for presidential primaries and caucuses!  Though, I guess, if you factor "predictions" into it, they come out about equal.  In any event, I've avoided sports prognostication in recent months, but since there's a New York (Jersey?) team involved, I will break that streak.  Especially given that there's a hated Boston-related squad lining up on the other side today.  

Conventionally speaking, I think this actually won't be a close game. I'm thinking it will be about a two-touchdown margin (though it could be larger). And it's going to go the Giants way. 

If anything, this match-up reminds me of one of the old late-80s, early-90s games where powerful AFC teams go storming into the Super Bowl and find themselves rather outmatched by their NFC counterparts. Remember three Denver blowouts? Remember one close Buffalo loss -- followed by three consecutive blowouts?  

Things those Denver/Buffalo teams all had in common were great quarterbacks, explosive offenses and "finesse" defenses whose sins were often covered by the aforementioned QB/offenses. Frankly, that's what I see in this year's New England team -- which gave up more passing yardage this year than any team other than....drum-roll...the Green Bay Packers. 

Yes, that would be a Green Bay team that lost to the New York Giants.  (And yes, statistically, the Giants were only a few notches better, however they made up for it with a ferocious pass-rush -- especially later in the season when banged-up members returned). The Giants beat the Patriots earlier this year, in Foxboro, when Big Blue had several key contributors not playing -- and the Pats were at full strength. Today, the Giants are healthier than the Pats (sorry, Gronk) and they are playing better.

Arguably, more significantly, there's also a psychological factor at play here. All the pundits are talking about Tom Brady's "legacy" and the possibility of getting a fourth ring that puts him in a class with only Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana.  Well, there's the other quarterback there -- the guy whose played forever in the shadow of his older brother. Indeed, even in a year where Peyton didn't play, he was one of the enduring storylines. Even into the post-season, all the headlines have been about Peyton's future in Indianapolis.
Tonight, Eli Manning has the opportunity to win a second Super Bowl, taking him past his forever-shilling brother and into the rarified air of multiple winners. Suddenly, Eli's no longer being compared to Peyton. Instead, pundits will have to compare him to Brady (who he'll have beaten 2-0 in the Big Game), Roethlisberger (whose 2-1 in Super Bowls) and Rodgers (who he's already beaten this playoff drive). Oh, and winning it all in Indianapolis?  How sweeter can it get? 

New York Giants 31, New England Patriots 17.

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