Super Bowl XLVI is finally upon us. The New England Patriots and New York Giants are just a few hours away from squaring off against one another in a huge Super Bowl rematch. The Patriots are the slight -- very slight -- favorites to win, but the analysts and columnists seem torn in their predictions as to who will win. For the final word, we turned to our own team of SB Nation Bay Area writers. Here is what they had to say.
I see the Giants winning a shootout 41-37. That would mark the highest combined point total in Super Bowl history, and coming off a 24-20 Giants-Pats game in week nine, that might seem a little crazy. And yet, I have no little faith in either defense in these game conditions that I think we could see a wild shootout in Indianapolis. The teams will be playing on field turf in fairly solid conditions (assuming the top is closed), which opens the door for a strong offensive showing on both sides.
Although the Patriots defense has the consistency of swiss cheese, they do still have Tom Brady and their highly prolific offense. The Giants pass rush could do some big things on the turf, but I just get this feeling that this will be a sort of "first team to not score" loses type of game.
This is a rematch of the 2007 Super Bowl that really is not much of a rematch. The teams not only have rosters that are rather different, they have paths to the big game that are rather different as well. In '07, the Patriots were coming off an undefeated season and looked unbeatable. Conversely, the Giants were big time underdogs with a quarterback that no one thought could win the big game. Now, five years later, the Patriots are a team that should not have made it to the Super Bowl, and the Giants are a team led by a quarterback who was number 6 in the league in passing touchdowns, fifth in the league in yards and third in the league in passer rating. There is, however, one similarity between the two games that is striking. In 2007, the Patriots were favored, but lost and I expect the exact same outcome this time. The Giants are playing better football and match up very well against the Patriots.
I feel this game could really go either way. I think the Patriots are the better team, but the Giants already beat them earlier this year. The Giants also demolished the Packers and Falcons before squeaking by the Niners and they feel like the team of destiny here.
New England, on the other hand, is an offensive juggernaut who just beat a much better defensive team in Baltimore than what they will face in the Giants. They probably shouldn't have beaten Baltimore, though, and who knows if Gronkowski will be at full strength? When the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl a few years ago, that Patriots team had Randy Moss. This one does not.
To me this game will come down to the defensive lines. If New York can get to Brady, he won't be able to find his receivers even though the Giants' secondary isn't very good. If they cannot, Brady and Welker will dissect them and run up the score. If the Patriots can get to Eli Manning, it will neutralize the Giants' very good play action. If they cannot, the Giants' WR corps (the best in the league) will embarrass New England's woeful secondary.
I think the Giants' pass rush will have greater success, and their receivers are excellent. I see them winning, 34-26. After this game, Eli Manning will finally get his due and be considered one of the top quarterbacks in football today.
Part of me wants to say that the game will end up being a blowout, with the Patriots winning 45-14 or something ridiculous. Another part of me wants to say that it will be a shootout, with Brady and Manning trading touchdowns like they're in the Alamo Bowl. But I say that Brady catches enough glimpses of himself in the helmets of other players to distract him and keep the game close. Also, the Giants are headhunters and jerks, so they should probably lose, right?
A field goal-less Super Bowl, Brady revenges 2007 loss and Peyton remain greater than Eli. Ugg boots sales spike slightly.
The Giants are a much better team in 2011-12 than they were in 2007-08, and though their win in Super bowl XLII took a little bit of the same magic that San Francisco 49ers fans have come to expect from their franchise, I'm expecting them to come through simply by being better this time around. It helps that this iteration of the Patriots are not as good as the 2007-08 Patriots team that fell to the aforementioned Giants team of that time.
2-0 Giants. Tim Lincecum probably isn't quite in his peak form as before, but I feel if he works his curveball right, he should be able to shut Tom Brady down.
For complete coverage of Super Bowl XLVI, please visit SB Nation's dedicated Super Bowl hub.