ESPN Expert Picks: The Giants are Going to the Super Bowl!


Today I write to you from my sick bed, where I had to cancel my party plans due to a stomach virus. But as one friend points out, better me than Eli. Given how badly I want to see the Giants play in Super Bowl XLVI, I have to agree. Fortunately the experts believe the Giants will win this one.

The New York Giants are heading to San Francisco for an epic championship showdown against their long-time playoff rivals, the 49ers. GMEN HQ has covered past playoff games all week, and this one is sure to be as epic as any of the other big match-ups. As good as the Niners have been this year, the Giants are a better, more complete, more experienced team, and that gives them the edge even on the road.

This will be a big defensive battle and the outcome will mostly depend on how well each quarterback responds to the big pressure defense that will be trying to harass them for 60 minutes. The x factor for the Giants will be the running game and the ability to use the play action, which played a major roll in the win over the Packers last week. The receivers, especially Manningham and the tight ends, will need to continue to make the big plays. The defense can’t cover everybody, so I would think they would try to contain Nicks and Cruz first. But it all comes back to each defense and their ability to control this game and force turnovers.

On the other side of the country, Baltimore and New England will be facing off, two teams which the Giants have faced in the Super Bowl. For this reason alone, I am rooting for the Ravens. The revenge factor has always been a big one for the Giants. We saw it last week against the Packers, against the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, and it will be a factor today against San Francisco. But a Giants/Patriots Super Bowl means it would be the Patriots looking for redemption, both from that epic upset four years ago and their regular season loss at the hands of the Giants.

I am tempted to believe the Ravens can upset the Patriots, given that the latter failed to beat any team with a winning record in the regular season, but in all likelihood the Patriots will win this one. The biggest factor here will be whether Flacco can have a break-out game and outplay Brady, though I don’t see that happening. Yes Baltimore has a better defense and running game, but Brady and his receivers can overcome most challenges. Bottom line is whether the Ravens defense can outplay the Patriots offense, because that will determine the winner of this game.