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Thursday, December 14 2017

NFL Predictions 2011: Super Bowl XLVI

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In the title games I again split straight up and the 1-1 mark left me 6-4 for the playoffs which hurts. However, I was perfect against Vegas for the second time in the playoffs. My 2-0 mark against the spread left me a wicked 9-1 and the 2-0 on the over/under put me at 8-2. On the total season I am now 175-84 straight up, 133-128-5 against the spread and 155-106-4 on the over/under. 

New England (15-3) vs. NY Giants (12-7): Well this is it. By now we kind of know the deal about both of these teams. They played in the Super Bowl just a handful of years ago in a kind of memorable game. The Giants wrecked a potential perfect season for the Patriots that year, and are the last team to beat them this year with a 24-20 victory back on November 6. Since then New England has ripped off 10 straight wins and only twice been limited to fewer than 31 points during that stretch. Not by much (27, 23) either time and one of those was the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens. 

 

New York took a totally different turn after the first meeting. They lost four in a row and gave up an average of 32.8 points per game in the process. Of course three of those teams (San Francisco, New Orleans, Green Bay) were playing in the NFC divisional round of the playoffs. They avenged two of those losses to reach the big game and did it on the road. Their margin for error since dropping to 7-7 after a home loss to Washington has been nil. After five wins in a row they got a much needed week of rest for the Super Bowl. 

 

My big thing here is that the NFC is really the superior conference. I liken this matchup a little bit to Seattle vs. Pittsburgh a few years back. The Steelers were a six-seed wild card while the Seahawks had gone 13-3 in the regular season. However, everyone at the time knew how powerful the AFC was so despite the records and seeding Pittsburgh was deserved favorite and won the game. I'm puzzled as to why New York isn't favored here. They went 9-7 and became the first team ever to reach the Super Bowl after being outscored, but the Packers were just 10-6 last year. Both teams endured a rash of injuries and got healthy when it mattered. 

 

New England didn't do that much to get here. It's not like Baltimore or Denver are juggernauts, especially on offense. Tebow Time was a lot of fun, but in a road playoff game no one with any good sense thought he would go off. Fans of the Ravens have been calling for Cam Cameron's head for a while now. Their offensive ineptness is well documented and they were within a Lee Evans drop of winning and a shanked field goal of OT. Meanwhile New York routed the defending champs in their building and New Orleans couldn't even survive the divisional round. I would favor a few teams in the NFC over the Patriots here. 

 

Do the Giants win though? It comes down to covering receivers. I'm not sure this deal with utility man Julian Edelman running around as a defensive back is going to work here. There are too many quality options for Eli Manning and someone is going to be open. I don't see the Patriots pressuring him too much either. Even if the running game, which by the way was without Ahmad Bradshaw in the first meeting, can't do much about a front line anchored by Vince Wilfork the passing game should move the chains. 

 

On the other side, New York has the players to get after Tom Brady which is his weakness. Even if the lovely Gisele has everyone praying for her man it might not be enough. His freak tight end Rob Gronkowski is hurt and even with 101 yards in the first meeting they still lost. Aaron Hernandez isn't as dangerous without Gronk on the opposite side. The outside receivers for the Patriots are also weak. Wes Welker is an outstanding threat out of the slot, but he can be taken out of games. He is either lights out or very ordinary. Including both playoff games he now has 8 games with fewer than 60 receiving yards and in 12 games has averaged 12.3 per reception or lower. 

 

Former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch wants to relive the glory, but since going off in the first two weeks of the season hasn't been much of a factor other than their rout of Philadelphia and a long touchdown against Denver in another rout. The offense will move the ball, but not at will and probably needs to run a little bit. They drafted two running backs to help that cause. Unfortunately Shane Vereen has been almost invisible and Stevan Ridley only picked up steam late in the year. 

 

This is probably the biggest coin-flip Super Bowl I can remember. I can feel good about going in either direction. It even makes me a little nervous taking the under although that's where the odds are. These teams haven't played a bunch of games going over the stated total and just played a scoreless first half. Then again, they were also tied 10-10 before unleashing 24 points in the final 7 minutes of that meeting. I am looking for the Giants to build a lead here and Brady to be placed in a position to pull a comeback. Funny thing about that is that usually he has been close enough to have his kicker boot him to victory in previous Super Bowls. To heck with it, this time he pulls a rabbit out of his hat and wins it. Behind 22-17 after his defense holds up in the red zone all evening he finds a way. After a failed two-point conversion we get a wacky final score: New England 23, NY Giants 22 (NYG +3/under 54)

NFL Predictions 2011: Super Bowl XLVI | 6 comments | Create New Account
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NFL Predictions 2011: Super Bowl XLVI
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