By Joey Merkel
For the first time in five months, a “bye week” meant that all teams had the week off. But fear not football fans, the NFL is back and will be taking over big screens everywhere come Sunday.
The New York Giants and the New England Cheaters, oh sorry, I meant Patriots, are set to square off this Sunday in Super Bowl XLII. For both teams this is an important one.
For the Giants, this could be Eli Manning’s last chance to prove that he is an elite quarterback in this league. Even more pressing of a matter, Eli’s older brother Peyton was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy last year. Will little brother be able to fill big brother’s shoes?
Since September we have all wondered, could the Patriots really go 19-0 this season? The only team that ever finished a perfect season was the 1972 Miami Dolphins who went 17-0 back when there were only fourteen games in the regular season.
The Patriots have the opportunity to make history and the only thing that stands in their way is a team that they have already beaten this year.
During week 17 of the regular season, the Giants took on the Patriots in a heated battle that ended in the Patriots favor, 38-35. In this game Giants coach Tom Coughlin made a questionable call to leave in his starters the entire game when they had already clinched the playoffs.
Coming into the playoffs, the Patriots are the league’s hottest team, but Eli’s Giants are nipping right on their heels. In the playoffs, the Giants had to get through #4 seed Tampa Bay, #1 Dallas, and finally in the NFC championship game were able to take down Brett Favre and his Packers.
The NFC championship game was one that tore at the heartstrings of Giants fans throughout. Kicker Lawrence Tynes missed what would have been two game winning field goals, including one from 36-yards out that went wide left as time expired.
After losing the coin toss in overtime, the Giants got a little lucky with an interception by cornerback Corey Webster that landed them on the Packers’ 34-yard line. After three downs and no touchdown, Coughlin once again sent out Tynes to try and connect on a 47-yard game winner to send the Giants to the Super Bowl. With Giants fans holding their breaths, the ball sailed right through the uprights and sent the Giants back to the big game for the first time since 2001.
If the Patriots do win the game, New Englanders will once again rejoice since the Boston Red Sox unfortunately just won the World Series. I say, spread the wealth.
For the upcoming game, I say the Giants do just enough to overcome the Patriots, and that Tom Coughlin’s decision to play his starters will look like a stroke of genius. Manning will overcome all odds because he has played them once and now knows what it requires to take down this football giant.
Tom Brady will do everything in his power, but a defensive line consisting of Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, that lead the NFL in sacks this season will be too much for the offensive line of the Patriots.
The deep ball is going to play a big role for both teams, but if the Giants secondary can eliminate the threat, they will come out victorious.
My prediction: 24-17 Giants. Hopefully they won’t win on a game winning field goal, not because it’s a sore way to win, but I just don’t think that Giants fans will be able to take it. No offense, Larry.