Friday, February 01, 2008


The Super Bowl bye week is one of my least favorite events in all of sports. I despise it. Here are a couple of reasons why:

1) I overthink things. I actually prefer losing and being eliminated from my shares pool in the conference championship game weekend because otherwise I would have obsessed for these past two weeks over the Super Bowl bet.

2) There's not enough that goes on to keep me interested, and the media (not surprisingly) feels they have to cover every second of these two weeks. And we end up with a situation like Tom Brady's ankle - a non-story manufactured into a story. In other words, even though everyone and their brother knows it was a non-story, it was still everyone's top story.

3) I actually used the following words this week (the second week of the overblown coverage, which, I must stress, could cause damage to your sensibility): "Bill Belichick has actually been quite charming in all of these media availabilities."

It was actually this third thing, though, that (5 "th-" beginnings in a row!!) got me thinking (6 of 8!) the (7 of 9!) Giants had a chance. The Patriots seem awfully comfortable. I guess that would work in their favor...but when you reconsider that it might be confidence, or overconfidence...maybe the Giants can interpret it that way and use it to their advantage.

I suspect this will be a very tight game. I think the Giants have a real chance. And when it comes down to it, I need to stand by what I've been saying this entire season - I just don't see a team going 19-0. It just seems too hard. And I'll stand by that this one last week. If it happens, I will give the Patriots all of the credit they deserve. And if it doesn't happen, I'll be happy.

I worry about one thing with the Giants - Eli Manning. I'm as happy as anyone that he has come around this post-season. But I still think Eli has instances where he doesn't quite know what to do with the ball when protecting a lead, and for the Giants to win, he needs to figure that out. I have two times to cite where this happened: one was the playoff game against Dallas, where the Giants gave the Cowboys last opportunity after last opportunity with the ball because Eli couldn't run out the clock on offense (and he nearly turned it over). In that last regular season game, against New England, Eli threw one interception (the last time he turned the ball over, incidentally), and then failed to do anything effective in the fourth quarter as the Patriots came from behind to win the game. The Patriots could exploit that weakness again in this game.

I feel pretty strongly about one thing - if the Patriots score more than 30 points, I don't think the Giants can hang with them. I'm going to say it's the Giants' defense that is the key - hold the Patriots long enough, build a lead, then withstand a final push. That's the formula for a Giants win.

I think the most accurate thing I've heard during the two weeks between football games has been the comparisons between the Giants and the 2001 Patriots. No one was giving the Patriots a chance in that game, similar to many people with the Giants this year. These Patriots are like a bigger version of those Rams. I think the Giants do pull off a similar upset:
Another look, too, at the picks/standings through the conference championship games. For the Super Bowl, for the record, the Southern Bureau picks Patriots 32, Giants 21 (the pick has absolutely no bearing on his numbers in the Johnnymets Super Bowl squares pool), with Maroney scoring all of the touchdowns and winning the MVP. I guess I'll pick Eli as the MVP...I don't know who else would be that instrumental for the Giants.

THANK GOODNESS: I can't believe it took an extension of the deadline, but thank goodness the Mets have locked up Johan Santana. The numbers haven't been disclosed yet, but they'll be talked about next week. The topic shifts to baseball.....and week.

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