Over the last couple weeks I’ve been hearing people say that they aren’t excited for this year’s Super Bowl. Now if they were referring specifically to the halftime show, I would understand. Why the NFL thinks people want to see Madonna is beyond me. But if you aren’t excited to see a rematch of one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory, then I have two words for you: Get Out. If 2007’s Super Bowl was “A New Hope,” then this is certainly “The Empire Strikes Back,” which everyone knows is the best of the Star Wars movies. Fuck you, George Lucas.
For Tom Brady and the Patriots, this is a revenge game. Revenge not only for 18-1, but also for the game they lost to the Giants earlier this season, and Brady excels in revenge games.
Fast forward to the present, and the Giants team from week nine is nowhere to be found. The current Giants sport a formidable defense and a killer passing attack behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Sure, they didn’t look all that impressive against the 49ers, but they were facing one of the best defenses in the league. A win of any kind against a team like that is nothing to scoff at.
Unfortunately for the Giants, these are not the same Patriots either, and it was actually that game that proved to be the turning point for the Brady Bunch. Since then the Patriots have won 10 games in a row and, more importantly, have gotten healthy on defense and on the offensive line. The Broncos couldn’t get within a mile of Brady all game and even the Ravens struggled to put pressure on him. When Brady has the time to throw what his line has given him in the last two games, he is unbeatable.
The defense has also been reborn in the postseason. The Pats’ secondary is still shaky to be sure, but the returns of Patrick Chung and Brandon Spikes from injury has given them the ability to rush the passer, and Vince Wilfork has been a beast in the playoffs so far, seeming to have found an energy he was lacking through much of the season.
Yet for all that, the Patriots are hardly guaranteed to win their fourth Lombardi Trophy. Rob Gronkowski, better known these days as Gronk, was injured during the game against the Ravens. He will almost certainly suit up to play on Sunday, but if he is hobbled at all, the Giants’ job will be much easier. The game will ultimately be decided by how the Pats’ offensive line handles Jason Pierre-Paul, he of the three first names, and the rest of the Giants pass rush, and by whether the New England secondary can contain the New York receivers enough to keep the Pats in the lead.
It will be close, but in the end I see the Patriots edging out the Giants and Tom Brady winning his fourth ring. The New England offense will simply be too much for the Giants to handle. When all is said and done, the Patriots will get their revenge — after all, this is “The Empire Strikes Back.” In a few years, maybe the Giants will face the Pats again in “Return of the Jedi” and beat them. If that happens, then years after that, once Tom Brady and Eli Manning are retired, the Giants and Patriots will play each other in three more Super Bowls, except everyone will hate those games and one of the teams will have an obnoxious frog with huge ears as their quarterback. Hey, it’s the future; it could happen.
Final prediction: Patriots 35, Giants 31