I'm not a football expert by any means, but I wanted to do a Super Bowl post anyway.
Let me say upfront that I don't really have a preference between the Giants and the Patriots. My team is the Carolina Panthers -- I live in North Carolina, after all -- and the team I root for when the Panthers aren't playing is the Denver Broncos. (Back before we got the Panthers, I was a huge John Elway fan.) And as far as Eli Manning and Tom Brady go, I like both QBs for the same reason: Each has had to prove himself -- one in the shadow of his older brother, the other because he went, like, 3056th in the draft.
That said, I do have a feeling the Patriots might pull this one out. I know the Giants are the overall favorite -- and if they had played the Super Bowl last weekend, I would have expected the Giants to win easily.
But, not to put too fine a point on it, something smells funny to me.
I think the week off will hurt the Giants more than the Patriots. The Patriots needed time to catch their breath and regroup, while the Giants would have liked their train to keep on zippin' down the track.
But it's the intangibles that bother me. For example, I keep hearing how Brady's lost his confidence since his poor game against the Ravens. He went to see his passing coach the next week to "get fixed," you know.
As a golfer, I don't see that as a lack of confidence. Phil won't play in Hawaii because the wind can cause him to make compensations in his swing that will have to be fixed. Brady -- also a golfer, in case you didn't know -- had an injured shoulder and always has trouble with the Raven defense. I'd be surprised if he hadn't made unintended compensations to protect that shoulder during the game, and just wanted to make sure they were fixed before the Super Bowl.
The whole Patriots team has somehow managed to come into this game as the underdog, despite being favored by 2.5 points in Vegas. They seemed a bit too relaxed all week; even Belichick was showing up for media gigs in purple shirts and making jokes.
And then there's the whole Chad Ochocinco thing. It bugged me no end when, in the Broncos game, they brought Chad in for one touchdown play when the game was pretty much over... then took him out immediately. All I could figure was that they were testing something. And all week I've had this nagging suspicion that Chad was going to play today, even though there was no word about it.
Until this morning. Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood got cut from the team last night, and guess who got added to the roster this morning?
To make a long story short... Suddenly the Pats have a wide receiver who is totally uninjured this season and of whom the Giants have virtually no film footage that might help them predict his role. Even if they did, they don't really have time to make more than minor adjustments.
So here's my prediction: The Brady-Ochocinco connection is going to play a big part in today's game. I look for Chad to provide 2 touchdowns and some crucial yardage in other plays.
I don't know what the final score will be, but I think the Pats are going to squeak past the Giants and win Super Bowl XLVI.