I’m gonna make this simple. I was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, eventually moving to Enfield, Connecticut and finally Long Island. To say I don’t have moral/geographic/psychological dilemmas regarding the HellBowl would be a lie. So why do I see the Patriots losing 28-21 and me being rather upset about it?
As a starting point, there’s nothing quite like the Giants defensive line in the league. They make EVERY defensive end in the league look fat and slow. They’re too fast for tackles and guards to try and keep up with without eventually getting caught for holding, and the Giants have finally found a balance between a two back running attack (with a fullback!), tight end passes off the play action to the “faster than you think” Jake Ballard, and the old school SMU style “run and shoot” passing between 3 or 4 receivers.
What sets the passing game apart is that unlike the way the Patriots use Wes Welker, Victor Cruz is occasionally seen catching a comeback route 25 yards down the field, about 10 yards too far for a prototypical slot guy. Then again, Kevin Gilbride’s offense, once derided by Buddy Ryan as the “chuck and duck”, gives receivers multiple options on every route they run, the results of which being Victor Cruz breaking the Giants receiving yards record, yet somehow missing the Pro Bowl.
He had a bigger impact than almost every receiver in the league, and probably won them at least 2 games singlehandedly. But why would I be upset about the Patriots losing? Because the Giants have slowly taken on the persona of the 2010 Jets right before they played the Patriots. The Jets won that game, but they got soft before the Steelers and were mentally worn out. Still, there’s some part of me that thinks that the Giants aren’t going to be able to keep up this oracle style of fearless prediction. It’s not that the Giants aren’t talented enough to do it, it’s the fact that I feel like Tom Brady has some very pissed off part of him that gets channeled into film study, practice, and more film study.
Brady’s going to know every single defensive scenario the Giants throw at him, and as I predicted very late last night, he’s going to try and wear that Nascar package down to the point where they’re too tired to keep going, and then drop one right up the middle to Woodhead for 10 yards on 3rd down, right after which he will hurry to the line and attempt to get something to Welker over the middle before handing off to Hernandez as Nate Solder becomes a blocking tight end.
He’ll do things like this until they try and substitute, and then beat whoever gets caught out of position, akin to both Jet games this year, when Brady decided to run it down the Jets throat while Rex Ryan has a slow meltdown on the sidelines, watching Brady play Jets football against his own defense that seemed to be falling apart at the seams as Brady firmly planted foot on throat.
Again, why would I be upset at a Giants Super Bowl victory? Because from here on out, the Giants will proclaim that the new MetLife stadium is theirs. Which it will be, and will be until the end of time. There’s no argument against it for at least 4 years. They demolished the Jets on the field they share, went ahead and blew out Aaron Rodgers and then happened to beat the REAL best defense in the league before defeating for the 2nd time, Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. There’s no argument against that. They couldn’t keep the Patriots out of the Superbowl because they are in the opposing conference, but they already beat the PERFECT Patriots team in the SuperBowl in front of the world, beat them on the road in the regular season, and could potentially DO IT AGAIN IN FRONT OF THE WORLD.
If the Jets ever thought they could “own the Patriots”, nothing short of sweeping them next year, and a defeat in the AFC Championship could even scratch the surface of what the Giants have already done.
That’s what Jet fans are going to have to live with for the rest of their lives. They had their chances and couldn’t get it done. Which is already going to create the inner dialogue about the “great” Rex Ryan defense, whose defensive front can’t even hold a candle to the Giants, the running game of the Jets, which the Giants walked all over, and the general modus operandi of the entire organization. Bringing in veterans, stars, rejects, draft busts, attempting to create some sort of flash and dash roster that’s supposed to steamroll the AFC.
Meanwhile, the Giants have been hitting on almost all of their draft picks, getting huge trade return value by dumping guys like Steve Smith, Kevin Boss and Rich Seubert while acquiring Antrel Rolle, the solidifying force of the secondary. That said, I still say the Patriots defense is going to get walked on by Eli Manning. They’re going to run away from Wilfork, Eli is going to keep everything calm and collected while throwing four touchdowns by the start of the 4th quarter. Then, they will run the ball and play action their way to a couple of punts as Brady goes to throw 2 game destroying interceptions as Rob Gronkowski hobbles towards the sideline.
So would I pick the Patriots with a healthy Gronkowski? Of course. Exact same score flipped. That’s the worth of Rob Gronkowski. One touchdown over the seam. But he’s got a high ankle sprain, and things are looking grim for someone who has to make cuts on post routes and attempt to run block against guys like Michael Boley and Mathias Kiwanuka.
There will be no winner tomorrow. Not for anyone with a Jets jersey somewhere in the closet.