Fun fact #1: Eli Manning is 6-1 in playoff games held away from Giants/MetLife Stadium or at neutral sites.
Fun fact #2: The NFC East is 7-1 in Super Bowls against the AFC East.
When the Giants have the ball, look for them to try and establish some sort of a running game. The G-Men averaged just over 89 yards a game during the regular season, but in the playoffs the average is around 117. Basically, the team got stronger as the season went on. The Packers were listless, but the 49ers gave the Giants a tough match. The strength of the Giants running game isn’t in the interior of the line, it’s on the outside. Since Vince Wilfork is going to clog the middle, it appears as if the Giants will try to get something going on the edges. It will be up to David Baas to handle his opposing number enough to give Eli Manning some time to throw, and to get the backs moving.
The Giants emphasize a vertical passing game. They throw the deep ball alot more than other teams, and complete more of the passes. The conventional wisdom is that the Patriots defense is weak. A more proper read would be that they give up yards, but not points. Staistically, the Pats and Giants are pretty evenly matched in the red zone (the Pats are slightly better) on both offense and defense. Still the Giants receivers appear to have an edge against the Pats secondary. I’d look for Eli and Company to try and hit the home run, and target some of the weaker players in the Patriots’ secondary. I’d also look for Beckum, Pascoe, and Ballard to be used to try and gain the offense some breathing room.
Alot of people think that this game will be high scoring. In the last Super Bowl, the final score was 17-14. In the meeting this season the teams were tied at 0 at the half, and the final score was 24-20. The Giants had a first and goal from the one, and needed three chances and a pass to pull it out. They couldn’t run it in. Basically, I would look for a lower scoring game between the two teams, with alot of fireworks in the fourth quarter. That’s been the history of the two teams this year. As to the conventional wisdonm that the Pats are better and the Giants are hotter…both teams are hot. The Pack and Saints had better offenses, San Francisco had a better defense, but the G-Men had better balance. The Pats’ opponents in the playoffs weren’t exactly the best, with Denver (great story, weak team) and Baltimore (great defense, okay offense) as the opponents. I’m sure that Belichik would love to run up the score on the Giants (see the Denver game for an example), but I think the game will be tight rather than a blow out. Giants 24, Patriots 21.