Friday, January 25, 2008

Buying the hype, selling the fertilizer

Just some random thoughts as we go into Super Bowl week...

There has been a lot of talk about the non-story of Tom Brady's ankle. If Brady was carted off the field after his ankle was rolled on in the game against the Chargers eight days ago, I would be concerned. But today I see it as a non-story.

In 2001 Brady was lifted from the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers when his ankle was twisted under him in the first half. Drew Bledsoe came in and marched the Patriots down the field for a score and captained the Patriots to victory, creating a quarterback controversy going into the game against the Rams a week later. A WEEK LATER.

This year Brady has had two weeks to recover and never had to be removed from the Chargers game. As a matter of fact, he was 7 for 7 passing after the sprain. He was 15 of 26 before.

Thought two -

The New York Giants are the chic pick among a lot of the pundits. So much so that I think I have heard more of the national talking heads pick the Giants than the Patriots. The reasoning - they have the defense and the running game to cause the Patriots problems...or...The Patriots have to lose sometime...or...The bye helps the Giants to plan for the Patriots...or...Look who the Giants had to beat to get there. The Patriots had an easier road...or...Because of what they did against the Patriots in the final regular season game, the Giants know they can win.

I don't know that I would lay money on the Patriots, given the spread. However, I think the Patriots are the likely winners in this contest.

Yes, the Giants have a great running game, but so did Dallas, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Pittsburgh. And yes, the Giants D has been great, particularly in the post-season. However, the last time I checked, neither Bays - Green and Tampa - have the offensive weapons of the Patriots, and neither does Dallas (and for anyone who wants to try to argue that, tell me - who would you really rather have at QB? Romo or Brady?).

Then there's this -

In his time with the Patriots, Belichick is 24-4 when facing the same QB for the second time in a season (I might be off on that number, but I think it's right). Coughlin is 1-3 following a bye with the Giants. Belichick is 13-7 (including with the Browns) after a bye, but has won his last ten straight.

As for who the Patriots beat - the Jaguars, according to the talking heads, were supposed to be the strong defensive team with the powerful running game that was supposed to topple the Patriots from their perch. Now they're a "who did the Patriots really beat" team.

Everyone out of New England is talking about how the Colts would have given the Patriots a better game, but they struggled mightily against the banged up Chargers team that eventually faced the Pats.

As for the last point. The bottom line is that the Giants couldn't hold the Patriots off late in the game, and then Eli turned the ball over at the least opportune of times while trying to mount a late drive.

I'm not saying that the Giants don't have a chance. I just don't see solid logic behind the reasoning that I'm hearing from those predicting a New York win. I do think it's gonna be a helluva game.


Chris Stone said...

Neal and Kazcur didn't play that last game of the season against the Giants. Which is a definite difference.

Interesting stats on Brady's throws. Hope he has a good game Sunday!

sugarshane024 said...

I've noticed alot of the pro-Giant talk myself. I don't recall ever seeing so many:

- "Here's how the Patriots could lose";
- "How the Patriots can be beat";
- "History is against the Patriots winning";

stories. The way I see it, though, is that the Patriots thrive being the underdog. And although they're not necessarily the underdog in this game, they are being overlooked as a dominant favorite.