The Big Game’s big preview

Will another magical Giants run end in a title?

It has now been 13 years since I woke up on Super Bowl Sunday with my team actually in the game. If your team is one of the lucky two in today’s Big Game, don’t take it for granted — it really sucks when your team isn’t playing for a championship.

Now that I have that out of the way, let’s get to the game we’ll all be watching between the commercials and pounding wings, beer and my personal favorite, buffalo chicken dip.

In the final football game we’ll see for six months, the New England Patriots are looking for revenge over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI at 6:29 p.m. tonight on NBC. It was four years and two days ago in Super Bowl XLII where the Giants ended the Patriots’ run at the first 19-0 season ever due to a masterful second-half comeback. New York won 17-14 and took the Lombardi Trophy home for the third time in franchise history.

The Patriots haven’t lost a game since Nov. 6, a 24-20 loss to, you guessed it, the New York Giants. The Pats have had comeback after comeback in the late weeks of the regular season, struggling with teams like the Dolphins, Colts and Redskins but emerging victorious in all of their last 10 games. I believe a championship-caliber team needs challenges like that to build character and prove adversity can be managed.

That’s why the Patriots are such a threat today.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to play for the Patriots after suffering a gruesome ankle injury in the AFC Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens, but I think a lot of people are overestimating his productivity on that injured leg tonight. For someone who has to either block or fight off the line on every single play, that sprained ankle is going to be a total disaster.

And the Giants’ defensive line knows that.

The Patriots will still get their points — they just won’t be coming from running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. If the Giants’ defensive front allows him to run for more than 75 yards in this game … well, let’s just rule that out, because they won’t.

Expect a lot of action from wide receiver Wes Welker and a couple of reverses and trick plays that involve tight end Aaron Hernandez, because they will need to get New York’s defense off-balance.

Now, can they keep up with the Giants’ offense? That is the true million-dollar question, because I don’t think they can.

We’re talking about a New England defense that ranks second-to-last in the NFL in passing defense, allowing 294 passing yards per game, against an offense that is as explosive as any, this side of New Orleans. That’s really bad news for the Patriots.

Both teams have great quarterbacks leading the offense and great coaches calling the shots, so I do think this will come down to which defense stands up to the opposing offense the best. Honestly, I don’t think this is as tough a pick as others are saying, but I know a lot are doubting the Giants simply because they’re afraid to bet against Tom Brady. I’m not, and I’ll make my pick based on what I’ve seen this season (and how I think an injured Gronkowski will affect the game).

My prediction: Giants 27, Patriots 17

What do you think about my pick? Comment below to tell me you agree, or sound off if you think I’m off my rocker!

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