When actually breaking down the game, and trying to figure out how it's gonna do down, I made sure to remind myself of a few key points to help guide me in the right direction...
1) The Patriots win big games
2) The Patriots win big games, by small margins
3) Defense may win "championships", but the Super Bowl is "one game", and offense wins games
4) The reason upsets are called "upsets", is because they rarely happen, and in all likelihood, shouldn't happen
So, armed with that important information, I went about breaking down the game, and doing my best to predcit the outcome...
When the Patriots are on offense, all he onus lies with the New York Giants defense. Believe me, I know how ignorant and obvious that sounds, but if the G-Men can't stop Tom Brady and the Patriots passing attack, then this thing will be over before you can say "Free Fallin'". The real question is, will the Patriots choose to come out throwin', or will they take the approach of "managing" the game, keeping it close, and applying the dagger late. I know, you're asking yourself why on earth the Pats would want to keep this thing close? Well, great teams find a way to play to their strengths, and if theres one thing New England knows they are better at doing than any other team in the league, it's winning close games. That strategy however, no matter how successful in the past, might not be the best to employ against this attacking Giants defense. They're great at rushing the quarterback with Strahan, Tuck and Umenyiora, and they're good at gang tackling led by Antonio Pierce, so they can't be taken lightly. But if the Pats jump out to a big lead by exposing the suspect secondary with their lethal passing attack, it will take some of those dimensions away from the New York defense and force them to repsect the run. In turn, that will make them vulnerable to play action, and the passing game in general. For the Giants to have any chance, they'll need to put pressure on Brady (duh), force a turnover early in the game, and make it stick with a touchdown. If not, it could be a long night of watching guys with a flying Elvis on their jersey waltzing into the endzone.
For the G-Men on offense, they will need to rely on their power running game to keep the game close, and hope Eli Manning continues his mistake-free play. Running backs Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw will no doubt create problems for the Pats run defense, but if the Giants are playing from behind, then they won't be able to use them. That's where Eli comes in. Everyone and their brother expects the G-Men to come out running, so if Elijah can make a few connections downfield early to keep the defensive backfield honest, it will make for a totally different game. Double edged sword there is, that's NOT how the Giants got here, and while it could lead to big dividends in the biggest game of the year, it's more likely to end up in big problems for Eli Manning and Tom "turn your head and" Coughlin. It's one thing to think you can't win playing the style that got you there, but it's another thing alltogether to abandon that style without even giving it a shot. Seeing as I don't think much of Tom Coughlin as a coach, I'm gonna tedn to believe he's gonna make dumb decisions like that, and ultimately cost his team a "chance" to win.
Like many teams the Patriots have faced this season, the Giants are gonna need a perfect game, and some breaks in order to come out on top. The only way for that to happen, is to establish the run early, and hope Eli, Plaxico and Toomer can make the New England secondary pay later in the game with big gainers and a long score or two. This Patriot defense isn't the same one that won 3 Super Bowls, and is for sure vulnerable to the run, but if they can make the Giants a one dimensional passing team before halftime, then you can expect the picks and fumbles to come spewing from Eli faster than you can say, Dang, Peyton! I'm the one that's been saying that Eli hasn't been that much better of a player lately, and I think I'll have a lot more peopel agreeing with me after he takes a nice steaming dump on the national stage. It won't be his fault, mind you, it's just also not gonna be pretty...
So, armed with all this information and insight, which way am I going to pick? Well, if I listened to myself, I'd say this was going to be a close game that the Patriots were going to pull out in the end, but of course, that's not the case. What I forgot to put in my list of things to remember when picking this game was... 5) When all else fails, go with your first instinct. And while the Pats have screwed me in the second half of the season, going 2-5-1 against the spread, I'm taking my home team, I'm taking the points, and I'm predicting the first Patriots blow-out Super Bowl win to cap off their historic 19-0 season. I predict Tom Brady and Randy Moss to have huge games, and not that I think Eli Manning is going to make costly mistakes, so much as I don't think he's going to able to even be a difference maker in this thing. He'll be in over his head, and for lack of a better term, he's gonna be flat out exposed.
The more and more I try to picture this game in my head, the more I just see the Pats deciding to come out, and pile it on. I see Brady seeting the world on fire with at least 3 touchdown passes, and probably another score or two from the defense and special teams. Again, this isn't me trying to hate on the Giants, it's just the way I see this game going down. I think of it a long the same lines as the game following Spygate game with the Jets, where all the Patriot players seemed to go out of their way to win that one for their coach. They made sure that the door was slammed shut regarding any cheating talk. Now, they're closing the door on their record breaking season, and I expect them to slam that bitch shut with authority, just to let it be known how good this team really was this year. Final score is Patriots 38 Giants 10. I'm tellin' like it is, not how I want it to be. But make no mistake, I'm likin' my conclusion...
I'm just glad it's time for the game, man. It'll be history if they win. It'll be history if they lose. But either way, its gonna be history, and it's gonna be great. Find yourself a large bag of chips, a cold 12er of brews, a few good buddies, sit back, and enjoy the show. And for the record, here's my final picks of the '07-'08 season, complete with a tasty tease...get at it...
Super Bowl XLII
New England Patriots (-12.5) vs New York Giants
Official RoochNation Super Bowl XLII Tease (6 point tease)
New England Patriots (-6.5) + OVER 47 total points
*A "tease" is when you combine two or more different bets, and use a variable to give yourself a perceived advantage in both of your bets. In this case, I'm using a 6 point variable to knock the spread down to 6.5, and the over/under down to 47. When using a tease, you must win both, or you don't win either, so I'll either be going 2-0 or 0-2 when it comes to this one. And don't worry, I'll be keeping track of the prop bets I pointed out on Tuesday, and I'll have a complete breakdown of how I did, had I placed $100 on each of my proposed wagers.
Overall: 65-47-6 (.577)
So, I received an email on Wednesday afternoon from my buddy Sean P, telling me that while he was pumped for college hoops, he couldn't wait for me to actually start getting "in depth" with my NCAA basketball coverage. Well, excuse me, Seante, but I was under the impression that I had already begun my in depth coverage! Well, if this doesn't qualify as in depth, then I demand to know the other blogs you're reading, or sites for that matter, that cover the Drake Bulldogs, the Siena/Rider breakdown, and the ins and outs of the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks! I got shit on lock over here, son, and if you think I'm not bringin' the funk, then I suggest you have your funk-o-meter adjusted. Here's a taste of what I gathered in the last few days. If you're still thirsty for college hoops action when you're done, then just chill out, cuz I'll be back bringin' some more heat on Tuesday. For now, there's this...check the fire...
-One thing Sean did get right in his email, was predicting Kansas St. to beat undefeated Kansas on Wednesday night. Then again, I've been pumpin' up the dudes from the REAL Manhattan (Kansas that is) all season long, so I won't even give him love for that. Ha! But for real, it was a good call by Sean, and it allows me to bring up something that I feel differentiates my top 10 poll from those other posers. My poll is an indicator of who I think would win the NCAA tourney if it started today. That's 6 straight wins, most importantly, all on neutral courts. So, if a team loses a regular season game to a team on the road, it doesn't mean I think they would lose that same game if it were played in a neutral gym. So in one way, it looks like Kansas lost a game they should have won, but in my eyes, they didn't win a game they shouldn't have won anyway. There are tough teams out there, FACT. And you can't win 'em all. Good looks by my main men Michael Beasley and Bill Walker, though, because if K-State was gonna be anything this year, they at the very least needed to put up a great fight in this one, and they pulled through big time...
-I guess I really did give the Indiana Hoosiers the kiss of death a few weeks ago. News out of Bloomington, Indiana, has Gordon playing right now with a tweaked right wrist, which could limit his ability for the rest of the season. I give the dude props for playing hurt and fighting through the pain, but when that guy accounts for more than 1/4 of your team's offensive output, I don't care how gritty his performances are, they probably won't be enough to get IU by many of the nations elite teams from here on out. With a healthy Gordon, Indiana is lethal. With a dinged up Gordon, they look more like the Hoosiers from the movie, and that ain't gonna cut it. Sorry Gene Hackman...
-With Kansas and North Carolina recently succombing to defeats in recent weeks, it leaves John Calipari's Memphis Tigers as the lone unbeaten team in division 1 hoops, and for good reason. I could tell you those good reasons, but instead I'll just tell you to watch Memphis play and decide for yourself. In my opinion, it's not even close between the Tigers and the rest of the nation right now, but hey, this wouldn't be the first time I was wrong...
-One team that has entered the top 25 in recent weeks that I have yet to give any love to, has been the Gaels of St. Mary's. In recent years, St. Mary's has gotten love as the other team in the West Coast Conference not named Gonzaga, but this year their attempting to rise above, and can take a big step towards that with a home win against the Zags this Monday. To do so, they'll have to keep up the combination that's guided them to a 17-3 start, and that's good 3-point shooting (36% as a team), good team defense (8 steals and 6 blocks a game) and good ball movement (277 assists for only 519 made baskets). This squad, led by Australia's own, freshmen Patrick Mills (14.8 ppg), does a great job of spreading the ball around, and with 8 players averagin 15 minutes or more, has a lot of guys that are ready to contribute when they're called off the bench. They're still a little unknown at this point, but non conference wins over both Drake and Oregon will give this team credibility, even if they do happen to finish as WCC bridesmaids to the Zags for yet another season...
-As for actual players, a lot of you out there have been complaining that I don't give enough of them their due. Well, all I have to say about that, is that this is a "team" game, and so I often chose to focus on the better teams, rather than the better players. There will be plenty of time to talk about great freshmen like Michael Beasely, Eric Gordon, James Harden, DaJuan Blair,Kevin Love and James Hardin, or upper classmen like Chris Douglas-Roberts, Chris Lofton, Derek Lowe, Josh Carter, Raymar Morgan and Brandon Rush when tourney time and post season awards time roll around. Until then, I'll be focsuing mostly on the teams, and while that will often include highlighting specific players, don't expect a weekly ball-washing of the country's top talent. Just not my style kids. I point out the pimps and the punks, and try to let the play on the court speak for itself...
-Oh, and for all you sick bastards out there, a group I include myself in by the way, prepare yourself for the ultimate bracket conundrum come March. Oral Roberts is currently 9-0 in the Summitt League, and with a full 2 game lead, is poised to grab the conference's automatic bid. That means, come Selection Sunday, when you go to fill out your bracket, you'll be faced with the tough choice of having a hilarious team name advance in your bracket, or actually getting that first round pick "correct". It's just somethin' about writing the words "Oral Roberts" that seems to throw people off, so I'm doing my duty, and just preparing you for the tough choice that is sure to come...
College Hoops Top 10
1. Memphis (20-0) 1
2. UCLA (19-2) 3
3. North Carolina (20-1) 4
4. Kansas (20-1) 3
5. Tennessee (18-2) 6
6. Duke (18-1) 7
7. Georgetown (17-2) 9
8. Xavier (17-4) NR
9. Washington St. (17-3) 8
10. Indiana (17-3) 5
just missed: Butler, Drake, Kansas St., Michigan St., Texas A&M, Pittsburgh
dropped: (10) Butler
As usual, if you watch these games, not only will you be entertained, but you will be much more knowledgeable. So do us all a favor and give a few of these puppies a look this weekend...
Pittsburgh @ UCONN
Baylor @ Texas
Marquette @ Cincinnati
Stanford @ Washington St.
Florida @ Arkansas
Oklahoma @ Texas A&M
Arizona @ UCLA
Tennessee @ Mississippi St.
Syracuse @ Villanova
DePaul @ Notre Dame
West Virginia @ Providence College
Rider @ Siena*
*A day before the Super Bowl, Rider and Siena will take the court to decide who is #1 one in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, or MAAC. Not to be confused with the Mid-American Conference, which is also known as the MAC. Why is this game important? Well, it's really not, as I don't see either of these teams doing any sort of work in the Big Dance, but there is one interesting tie between the MAAC and the big game on Sunday. I gave you my prop bets earlier in the week, but I left one off that I thought was particularily hysterical. You can actually place a bet on which one of the following will be higher: the New England Patriots total net yards in Super Bowl 42 OR the combined score of the 6 MAAC teams (Loyola, Canisius, Manhattan, St. Peters, Fairfield and Niagara) playing basketball against each other that very same Sunday. Leave it to Vegas, one of my favorite places on earth, to tie together the two best sports this country has goin' in such a way that you can even make loots off it. Now if only they could find a way to combined Reese's peanut butter and hot dogs and not make me puke. Then I would just have to bow me head and give out a few "I'm not worthy's", because that would just make my life utterly complete...
Wisconsin @ Minnesota
Wake Forest @ North Carolina State
Louisville @ Marquette
Gonzaga @ St. Mary's
News and Notes
Ya know, I've been lucky enough to follow Tiger Woods' career since he was winning amateur titles in the early 90's, and the more I watch the guy play and listen to him speak, one question keeps coming to mind: Why can't people just leave this guy alone?! Don't get me wrong, he's a larger than life public figure, and his life is now as much ours as it is his, but what I mean is, why do people keep dragging this guy into arguments that he's made clear he wants no part of? Whether it's Ian Poulter or Rory Sabatini calling him out as a player, Jim Brown or Al Sharpton calling him out as a man, or Sports Illustrated trying to perpetuate this whole thing by putting him on the cover in a "Last Supper" theme with Tiger as Jesus and Fuzzy Zoeller as Judas, people just seems to want to throw this guy in the middle of all these topical discussions, knowing full well he won't even offer a response. For the love of God. Leave the guy to his sport, and stop trying to drag him into stupid arguments that have no real point. Racism exists, we get it. Just because the guy is black, doesn't mean he needs to comment on all the issues going on with African Americans in this country at all times! Hell, I'm white and I could care less what the rest of the white whackos in this country are doin'. I don't see TIME magazine rushing to Phil Mickelson's door to ask him about the issues with white-trash meth addiction in middle America, do I? Let the guy play golf. If he wants to comment, he will comment, and then we can breakdown what he says. Until then, we just have to assume he cares about as much as the rest of us, and while that may disappoint many people out there, it's just the truth. Live with it. And you know what, if he doesn't want to comment, that's fine by me....Rock on Elderick. Keep doin' your thang, pimp...
The big news to hit the baseball world this week was the announced trade of Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins to Los New York Mets. Now, not to rain on anyone's parade, but it's this guy's beliefe that either A) this deal never gets done OR B) Santana doesn't have nearly the impact expected upon his move to Queens and the National League. First off, it already seems that both sides are far apart as far as guaranteed money and length of contract, and they have fewer than 24 hours to get the deal done. Per usual, he wants more money, and more years, and the Mets wanna give him fewer loots, and fewer years. We all know how that goes. I'll be keeping an eye on this thing for sure, and I'll break it down when it's actually "done", but I'll tell you right now, Met fans aren't gonna like what I have to say at all...
Another ace making the news in recent days is the latest coverboy for the HGH era, Roger Clemens. Clemens made an appearance at a Houston Astro workout earlier this week, yet surprisingly, decided NOT to talk about his current perdicament. Funny, the Rocket decides to show up and pal around in Houston, where he's more or less considered a folk hero, rather than try his hand at strutting around the Big Apple, where he knows he'll get eaten alive. Oh, wait. I know the asnwer. IT's because he know's he's guilty as sin, and he doesn't want REAL reporters asking REAL questions and continuing to make him look like the dumb roided out hick that he really is. Like I said to Stephen A. last week, get off my TV, Roger. I don't wanna hear your name again until you decide to turn up and give a crying apology/admission of guilt on the same 60 Minutes where you swore up and down that you had never done roids.
And it's goodbye to Tina "Horseface" Cervasio. It seems NESN's own "bleacher creacher" is takin' her Secratariat act to the Big Apple (although I heard they were getting rid of the handsome cabs....hmmm), and I say good riddance. People still try to tell me that she's good looking, and maybe it's me, but I still can't look at this broad withouth wanting to offer her a carrot and a big block of salt. Giddy, up, bitch! Time to promote Kathryn Tappen! Now THAT's some nice eye candy when you're watchin' baseball!
And if you just can't wait to see all those fantastic Super Bowl commercials, then feel free to feed the need right here. I managed to snag a few of the big time spots that will be airing during the big game on Sunday for your advanced viewing pleasure. So enjoy them now, and you can urinate free of any worry about missing them when the actual game is on. Joke's on you, corporate America!
That's it for this week, pimps. Hope you all enjoy the Super Bowl and I hope that thanks to me, you can all make a little extra cake while doing so. PEACE!