After Jobu shockingly picked the Giants to win on Sunday, Jerry Ballgame answers back with a shocking prediction of his own… Hooray for sarcasm! Who Will Jerry Pick?
Apparently, being an “elite” quarterback is a little bit like being in the National Honor Society. You have to be invited to join, you have to show leadership, and if you fail to maintain standards, you can be asked to leave. When I was a kid (I promise not to open with that line all the time), but seriously, when I was a kid no one talked about whether or not a quarterback was elite, or if something was going to effect their “legacy”. The highest honor you could bestow on any athlete was to say that they were “clutch”, and that they had a reputation of coming through when the pressure was on. At this point, I’m not sure if Eli Manning is worthy of induction into the honor society, but he is certainly clutch, so picking against him takes some explaining.
First of all, is it still considered an upset if Las Vegas makes you the favorite? I’m assuming it is, as most of the conversation out there seems to be coming down on the Giants favor. Although I’ll concede that this is a tough match up for the Pats, made all the tougher by a damaged “Gronk.” I believe New England is poised to pull off the upset, 27-17. Actually, I’m seeing a 24-17 final, but I’m hoping for a little breathing room in the closing minutes, so I’ll go with 27-17.
For one thing, the Patriots, with the exception of the before mentioned Gronkowski, are actually fairly healthy. They recently got the 6’8′, 315 pound tackle, Sebastian Vollmer back and this will clearly help with their running game. It’s generally accepted that the Giants D-line, although formidable on pass defense, can be run-on, and Vollmer’s presence is huge. It’s also helpful that their rookie tackle, Nate Solder, also 6’8′, 319, is also apparently sound and ready to go. Interestingly enough, Solder was once a tight end, and could be called on to fill that position on Sunday to help out Gronkowski.
Once the Pats have established the run with the dependable BenJarvus Green-Ellis, look for them to go to their short passing game, with Kevin Faulk being used effectively as a receiver out of the backfield. Don’t be totally shocked if Gronk turns out to be relatively effective. He’s not dependent on running precise routes, so the ankle might not hinder him as much as expected. If the Pats can control the tempo of the game, and Brady can play mistake free ball, it will hopefully wear down the defense, and more importantly keep Eli on the bench.
The New England defense is also healthier then it was last time these teams played, with both safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Brandon Spikes in the line up. New York’s offensive line is considered to be average, and should have its collective hands full with MVP candidate Vince Wllfork, making the Pats’ pass rush more effective. This is vital to helping them to contend with the Giants strong receiving group.
At some point, New York’s luck has got to run out, and I’m counting on it happening this weekend. I believe that there are two types of luck; the kind you make for yourself, and just plain dumb luck. I’m convinced that the Giants have received more than their quota of the latter of late, like to the tune of 31 points in two games, and that they come up short this time around.
Lastly, there is nothing phony in the affection that the Patriots have for their owner and his late wife Myra, and the inspiration they draw from it. In a game such as this, it could realistically be the intangible factor that makes the difference between winning and losing. I’m counting on it. Pats 27- Giants 17.
Brady image courtesy of: Harry How/Getty Images
Vollmer image courtesy of: AP Photo/Winslow Townson
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